Today is an anniversary: on August 4, 1892, Andrew Jackson Borden and his second wife, Abby, were murdered in Fall River, Massachusetts. Andrew Borden’s daughter from his first marriage, Lizzie Andrew Borden (NOT Elizabeth), was eventually charged, tried, and acquitted for the murders. Nobody was ever convicted of the murders.
(Fun fact: Andrew Jackson Borden was born in 1822. Andrew Jackson the POTUS won the Battle of New Orleans in 1812 and he was elected as POTUS in 1828.)
I learned just within the past year or so that Lizzie Borden and I share a birthday: July 19. So that’s special. I read Troy Taylor’s book on the subject, One August Morning. I now believe that Lizzie Borden did NOT commit the murders.
I discovered Troy Taylor in 2017. At the time, I was unhappy and stressed out about my job. I had an hour long commute each way, mostly by bus. Podcasts made my commute – and my work life – bearable. In 2017, I went on a search for new podcasts about the paranormal, specifically related to American history. I discovered Season #1 of American Hauntings, hosted by Troy Taylor and Cody Beck.
American Hauntings the podcast didn’t include advertisements for anything except for other American Hauntings products and services. Troy plugged the tickets for his in-person experiences, books that he wrote, and podcast merch.
The “Evening with” dinners that Troy promoted intrigued me. The approximately $50 per person ticket price for these included a catered meal at the Mysterious Mineral Springs Hotel in Alton, Illinois, followed by a live lecture given by Troy on that night’s topic. However, I live outside of Pittsburgh, so I don’t think that I will ever make it to Alton for an in-person “Evening with” dinner.
Then, in March 2020, most of the governors of blue states shut down everything fun. This included the in-person American Hauntings tours, ghost hunts, and in-person “Evening with” dinners. Troy posted Facebook Q&A livestreams on his Troy Taylor Facebook page. He added a virtual tip jar.
Then Troy scheduled several of his most popular “Evening with” dinner talks as Zoom lectures. I could pay $13 to receive a log-on link to a livestream talk over Zoom.
As of today, August, 4, 2020, I have attended four of Troy’s special Zoom livestreams. Here are the topics of these lectures: Bell Witch, American Spiritualism, St. Louis Exorcism, and – Lizzie Borden!
Troy held the Lizzie Borden Zoom lecture last weekend to commemorate the upcoming anniversary of the Borden murders. At this lecture, I drank a Happy Birthday toast to Lizzie.
For each Zoom experience, Troy gave the full length talk that he gave at each in-person “Evening with” dinner in Alton. Troy sat in his spooky-looking American Hauntings office. I saw in the background lighted candles, the books that Troy wrote, and fake (I hope!) skulls. He shared his computer screen, onto which he pulled up photos of the people and places mentioned in his presentation. His partner, Lisa Taylor Horton, handled the requests for technical assistance. Lisa also moderated the Q&A sessions at the end of each Zoom presentation.
The Zoom participants all had the option of shutting off their own computer’s camera or leaving it on. So, when I participated in these talks, I saw some of the other participants. In last weekend’s “Lizzie Borden” presentation, the audience consisted of roughly 60 women and one man.
My husband, Jonathan, did not view the lecture with me. (Jonathan DID listen to the Bell Witch livestream with me!) He teased me when I told him that the attendees included only one man. He said, “Well, are you surprised?”
I’m sorry that Covid-19 happened. I’m happy that I finally get to experience Troy Taylor’s live lectures. I’m glad that he laid out the case for why he believes that Lizzie Borden didn’t kill her family members. I can’t wait for Troy Taylor’s next livestreams this summer and fall.
(By the way, I learned from the American Hauntings podcast that Troy moved his in-person dinners from the Mysterious Mineral Springs Hotel to another venue in Alton due to social distancing requirements. So, I am not missing out on a dinner at this spooky landmark.)