Man pays $940 for a night in Lizzie Borden murder home

Deborah Allard

It’s hard to imagine that someone would pay $940 for a scare, but that is exactly the case. It’s also the exact winning eBay bid to stay in the murder room at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on Aug. 4, the 115th anniversary of the murders.

Don Sykes, of Williamsburg, Pa., placed the winning bid on the online auction site to stay in the room. He did so last year, too, but the price was about $500 cheaper.

“I had to do it,” Sykes said.

Lee Ann Wilber, B&B manger, said she felt auctioning off the room was the only way to be fair to everyone clamoring for a chance to cozy up in the bedroom where Abby Borden was killed.

The previous owners of the Borden house used a waiting list to rent Abby’s bedroom each Aug. 4. But, when the new owner, Donald Woods, took over a couple of years ago, the B&B started to receive numerous calls from folks saying the room had been promised to them for that night.

“We decided to make it fair for everyone,” Wilber said.

There is no such need to bed down where Andrew Borden met his death, however, since he was napping on the downstairs couch.

The ax hit him 10 times in the head, sending his blood as far down as the basement. Abby got it 19 times and was nearly beheaded. Her body was found on the floor near her bed.

Sykes said he would have paid up to $1,500 for the chance to stay in the room with his fiance, Elizabeth McAlister.

The room usually goes for $225 per night.

Last year, McAlister thought she felt someone sit on the bed when Sykes left the room. The two also say they heard footsteps coming up the stairs when everyone was in bed.

Wilbur said people have their own reasons for wanting to sleep in the murder room. “Some want to see if they feel anything different,” Wilber said. Others want to document any happenings in the night, and some want to be there for historical reasons.

Sykes has been a Lizzie Borden fan since 1975 when he watched a movie about the ax murders.

“It always stuck with me,” Sykes said. “It became a passion. I always have to watch everything.”

Though Sykes is a fan of Lizzie, who was acquitted of the 1892 murders, he surely doesn’t side with the woman.

“I think she did it, personally,” Sykes said.

Sykes plans to visit Lizzie’s resting place and the Fall River Historical Society while he is in Fall River.

The stay comes with a full breakfast of johnnycakes, bananas and coffee. The cold mutton stew that would have been served at the Borden’s last breakfast has been replaced with sausage, homefries and eggs.

For information about the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, call Wilber at 508-675-7333 or log on to

E-mail Deborah Allard at dallard@heraldnewcom.