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The Lizzie Borden House and Salem Through a Psychic Lens

I don’t normally go to haunted places on purpose; I’m clairaudient (clear hearing), claircognizant (clear knowing), clairsentient (clear feeling), and a geomantic (feeling the energy of cities/the earth) psychic with a little mind reading on the side. I’ve had it my whole life, passed down from my mother who has the same abilites, but in different intensities and also is a little clairvoyant (clear seeing), so she can see things I can’t. A newer one was realizing I could feel the energy of cities/places specifically (I don’t really feel the energy of the earth as a whole though when there’s immense public outrage, the ground hums with it). Anyway, I had been offered the chance to stay in the Lizzie Borden House with the wonderful women of the Feminine Macabre (an all-female/nonbinary journal of the paranormal) because of Amanda Woomer, who is a paranormal author/historian. A very special thanks to Amanda for making this happen for all of us; it was a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (and if you’re interested, look up the Feminine Macabre to read or even become one of the writers. Volume 5 is now open; look it up if you have an interest or background in researching something spooky!)

I live in Wyoming, in a place with a dead core; whatever energy once existed here feels like it has crusted over/fallen asleep almost. It isn’t an active place. South Carolina, when I visited earlier this year, was completely different. I felt earth magic; something mystical that keeps the place growing, a place that did not mind my presence (whatever lived in Logan, UT while I was going to grad school wanted me to leave. It was like it was allergic to me.) The dead might be numerous but were not going to bother me there: I got “the dead do sleep here” through my clairaudience. Just to give you some examples of how my abilities work.

While driving to Fall River, I listened to music and zoned out a little, listening to this place. It told me about itself through my own voice in my head (that’s how my clairaudience works; things come to me in my own inside-my-head voice that I wasn’t thinking about but a few times there has been something that wasn’t in my voice that has come through). Here’s what it said:

Dark things deep in the trees

Blood in the water

This land is angry

It doesn’t mind that I’m here

Magic here is of another variety

Blood, moon, wild woods, runes

Not of earth, of fire

Fire, iron, bone

This is a liminal place

What a strange fate

Lost here

I’m not a poet; these words popped in my mind as I zoned out during the drive. South Carolina revealed itself to me in much the same way. Fall River, MA, is a fascinating town; we went on the Lizzie Borden tour earlier in the day because my mom and I wanted to make sure it was safe for me to sleep there. Sometimes places are too dark for me to be in for too long.

Anyway, we had a tour of the place when all the ladies got there (which was actually boring for me since I’d gotten the gist of it earlier that day). I instead focused on the place itself and how I was feeling in certain rooms; the most I felt was in the room where Mr. Borden died, not because of the area he died (earlier in the day, I’d felt an intense electrical-like concentration of energy there) but because something was drifting in and out of the surrounding rooms. It was interested in us, what we were doing there and peeking in. I felt this so intensely as electrical and it became a little uncomfortable but I was sort of stuck in the room listening to the tour with the rest of the ladies, but ultimately the presence moved away from us. Then I felt more concentrated energy in the room where Mrs. Borden died; I felt intense sadness and confusion but also a very real sense of dread that I tested by walking in and out of the room. I didn’t want my knowledge of what had happened there to color my experience too much, but sadly, it happens accidentally sometimes.

The basement also felt a little creepy, but then again, it is a basement. They’re supposed be creepy; the house is in the process of renovating a room down there for people to stay/investigate and I just felt instinctively that I wouldn’t want to stay down there. There’s also a weird meat hook sort of hidden right now by furniture. Not a comfortable feeling about that.

I don’t think Lizbeth (I’m trying to call her by her preferred name, though when I refer to the Lizzie Borden House, it’s only so people know what I’m talking about) murdered anyone. I personally think (and felt) that this had something to do with money and Abby Borden’s past, who is sort of overlooked in the stories even though she was murdered first and much more gruesomely. All of us on this trip believed Lizbeth was innocent; my mom mentioned feeling great peace in her room. Make of that what you will.

The next day, I went to Salem and there is something about Salem (though even now in their off-season, it was still too full with people for my liking). First, it’s gorgeous-so many beautiful, unique buildings and houses that are picturesque. There’s some mystical energy there, something magical that’s hard to explain. Then we went to Proctor’s Ledge, which is a memorial to those who were persecuted and hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. I said their names to myself and felt deep sadness for these poor women. They must’ve been so frightened. I went a little to the left to the parking lot behind the Walgreen’s, where I learned Gallow’s Hill would have stood from my graduate-level supernatural folklore class (thanks, Jeannie!). I walked along a little with my parents and suddenly, me and my mom stopped. It felt gravitational, how we were stopped. The rock juts out a little and I just knew that that’s where Gallows Hill was. It was one of the stranger things I’ve ever felt. It was a completely sure, utterly solemn feeling that something terrible had happened here, which naturally everyone knows but it’s different to actually feel it. This place isn’t marked and it was so weird to have my mom feel it, too, but again: psychic. We’ve just never sought out haunted places before, so this was all a little new.

I also drove by Rebecca Nurse’s house in Danvers (it was sadly closed to the public), but it had very heavy energy even from a distance and was tucked away in this gorgeous hamlet. Fun fact: most of the original Salem was actually in today’s Danvers. I didn’t get a chance to see the Parris land (where Tituba and Abigail Parris lived), but I’ll be back!

Massachusetts is a fascinating, beautiful place I hope to go back to soon with my husband. I want to explore the East Coast a lot more since I’ve always lived in the West. Thanks for reading my psychic ramblings!

Me laughing at some nonsense my father said
In front of Jonathan Corwin’s house
Me walking back from Gallow’s Hill to see it from another angle
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