Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a little "scare" in her writing. Her latest book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, offers a twist on the Lizzie Borden murders. She also is author of a young adult book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, and books on dollhouse collecting and crafting, including Dollhouse Decor & More and In Miniature Style II.
Christine's short stories have appeared in various anthologies including: Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Mystery Weekly, Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers and Swashbucklers, Athena's Daughters, Silence in the Library; Feast of the Dead: Hors D'Oeuvres; Darlings of Decay; 100 Doors to Madness; Timeshares, Steampunk'd, and Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, DAW Books; and The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories.
She is an award-winning journalist with stories published in daily to weekly newspapers and in various magazines. Her stories have received awards from local and national newspaper associations and the Dog Writer's Association of America.
She is available for signings or appearances, including a PowerPoint presentation on zombies, writing and the history of Lizzie Borden.
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Lizzie Borden: Guilty or Innocent?
By C.A. Verstraete
What makes Lizzie Borden so intriguing? Is it the chubby face and dimpled cheeks? The look of innocence? Or is it the idea of a demon lurking behind that smile?
Nearly 150 years later, the spinster Sunday School teacher from the industrial town of Fall River, Massachusetts, remains one of the most infamous, and controversial, women in history. Yet today, camps are still divided on whether she actually killed her father and stepmother that August 4th morning in 1892.
The lack of evidence likely helped convince the jury to declare her not guilty in her trial in June, 1893. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any, though the “not found” column may be more telling as to the results of the trial…
What was found:
* A hatchet head without the handle. Stains were later determined to be rust, not blood.
* Two persons brutally butchered with only one family member and a maid at home.
* In recent years, traces of blood were found running down the walls to the cellar.
What wasn’t found or ignored:
* The crime scene wasn’t sealed off.
* No fingerprints were taken although the new, developing technology was being used more and more by police departments.
* No witnesses, though reports were made of a man holding some kind of cleaver or weapon seen on the street. They were determined unfounded.
* In the weeks prior to the murders, Lizzie supposedly heard a mysterious visitor arguing at the door with Mr. Borden. The person was never identified or found.
* The uncle (Lizzie’s late mother’s brother) came from out of town, stayed overnight and then left that morning.
* A possible illegitimate son of Mr. Borden was mentioned.
* No direct evidence was found linking Lizzie to the crime. The case was circumstantial with only her and the maid Bridget Sullivan home with Mrs. Borden until Mr. Borden returned a couple hours after doing errands downtown.
* No bloody clothes were found though a witness later testified about seeing Lizzie burn a dress. When asked about it, Lizzie said that the dress had “paint” on it.
What played a role in the trial:
* Class and social standing. The jurors—all men—likely couldn’t see a woman of Lizzie’s social standing committing such a brutal, heinous crime. Hence, the verdict of not guilty.
* During a time period when women were still viewed – literally - as the weaker sex, the idea that a woman could commit such a brutal, physical crime that took a lot of strength and stamina also didn’t seem likely to jurors.
* Lizzie’s inquest testimony was ruled out as evidence in the trial and could not be used. Her testimony answers made no sense, likely due to her being treated with morphine prior to questioning to “relax her nerves.”
Rumors flourished about Lizzie’s character. Many other theories have been offered today as to why she committed the crime, including that she had epilepsy; was caught in a lesbian relationship; was sexually abused; lived in a dysfunctional family with domestic violence; or that this was a crime of anger fueled by passion and her being “stuck” within the rigid bounds of society.
None of the claims, of course, can actually be proven. The expanse of time allows the horrific crime to be interpreted today in a number of ways. Then, as now, we may never know the real answer. People can choose the method they think fits the crime and decide for themselves whether Lizzie Borden was indeed guilty or not guilty.
If you look at the autopsy reports and photos, however, the question remains as to why the victims had been so viciously attacked and repeatedly hit in the head.
Another View of the Murders
My view is that Lizzie had no choice but to commit the crime since her father and stepmother had become… zombies.
About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:
Every family has its secrets…
One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?
Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.
Using actual inquest testimony and events, the book gives an entirely different view of the crime.
* Available in print, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. (The Kindle is on sale for 99 cents to Dec. 15. Or get a signed print copy (US shipping only) at my website.
Happy reading my book lovers!
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