Some crimes are unfathomable. They are so horrible and heinous that they defy human understanding and make you reconsider the limits of sanity. And yet, some crimes are so disgusting and bizarre that they become rhymes that children recite on playgrounds. Such is the case of Lizzie Borden, who on this day in 1892 bludgeoned her parents to death with an axe.
In the sleepy small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, Andrew and Abby Borden lived with their two adult daughters, Emma and Lizzie. After the bodies of Andrew and Abby were found in pools of their own blood, Lizzie became the prime suspect. In one of the first examples of a media frenzy surrounding a crime and a trial, the country ate up the Borden story because of the sensationalistic nature of the murders. Though fingerprinting had been established as a tool for solving crimes, the police in Fall River did not trust its accuracy and didn't attempt to match Lizzie's prints with those found on the murder weapon (which was found in the basement of the house). Evidence suggested that Lizzie did the job (she had purchased an axe several weeks before the crime and may have burned a dress that was connected to the murder), but a jury acquitted Borden of the crime. Since the Bordens were wealthy, she lived out her life as a well-to-do heiress rather than as a convicted murderer.
Borden's legend lives on in the playground chant "Lizzie Borden took an axe/ Gave her mother 40 whacks/ When she saw what she had done/ She gave her father 41." In honor of one of the most bizarre murders in the history of the country, enjoy the Sword's "How Heavy This Axe."