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Checking Facts

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  • Tango9311@xxx.xxx
    In a message dated 6/5/99 6:03:09 PM EST, Patsy751@AOL.com writes:
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 5, 1999
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      In a message dated 6/5/99 6:03:09 PM EST, Patsy751@... writes:

      << I have been collecting for a very long time... So if anybody needs me to
      check a fact, I think that I can do that. >>

      I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend going through "Forty Whacks"
      again and outlining the events that took place on August 4, 1892. What's
      happening though as I read more is that many of the "facts" become murkier
      and murkier.

      Here's one bit of confusion I've stumbled across. On page 13 of "40 Whacks",
      Kent writes, speaking about Bridget Sullivan: "While she was busy with
      breakfast, John Vinnicum Morse, a guest the previous night, came down..."

      But then on page 101, he writes (also regarding Bridget and her testimony):
      "When she came down, John Morse was already sitting in the dining room
      reading a newspaper."

      In "You Be the Judge...You Be the Jury - The Lizzie Borden Trial", the author
      includes parts of Bridget's trial testimony. It states: "I came down at 6:15
      AM and started the fire. I unlocked the back door, took in the milk, hooked
      the screen door, and started breakfast. About 6:30 Mrs. Borden came
      downstairs. Mr. Borden appeared about five minutes later. Mr. Morse came
      shortly after."

      Who came down when??? Was it John Morse, then Bridget, then Mr. and Mrs.
      Borden? Or was it Bridget, John Morse, and the Bordens? Or Bridget, the
      Bordens, and then John Morse?

      It's very distressing to see how the "facts" of the case change from one book
      to another... and even from one page to another!

      Linn
    • Genna25777@xxx.xxx
      In a message dated 6/5/99 10:05:14 PM EST, Tango9311@AOL.com writes:
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 6, 1999
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        In a message dated 6/5/99 10:05:14 PM EST, Tango9311@... writes:

        << In "You Be the Judge...You Be the Jury - The Lizzie Borden Trial", the
        author
        includes parts of Bridget's trial testimony. >>

        Is it possible to get a complete transcript of the trial?

        Linn also wrote: "It's very distressing to see how the "facts" of the case
        change from one book to another... and even from one page to another!"

        To me it seems like the only way to be sure of the facts is by reading the
        actual testimony. I'm sure it includes a lot of lies and misrepresentations,
        but at least it's not just an author's opinion about things.
      • WestList@xxx.xxx
        Hello to all! I previously sent a short intro explaining that I m still a newcomer to Lizzie Borden lore, but I m very interested in learning all I can
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 11, 1999
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          Hello to all! I previously sent a short intro explaining that I'm still a
          "newcomer" to Lizzie Borden lore, but I'm very interested in learning all I
          can about the crime and the trial. I've kept quiet for the last few days and
          I've been reading the posts to the list. Now... look out <g>. I'm coming
          out of "lurk mode". By the time you get to the end of this message, you'll
          all probably hope I go back into "lurk mode" and stay there!

          First, let me say that I'm not trying to start any arguments. I don't have
          enough knowledge about the Borden case yet to even form any opinions. I have
          checked out every book about Lizzie in our public library system, and right
          now I'm floundering in a sea of "facts" and "pseudo-facts".

          In one message last week, Linn wrote: "It's very distressing to see how the
          facts of the case change from one book to another... and even from one page
          to another!"

          And now, Patsy has shared some of her knowledge to "de-bunk" a few myths.
          OK... so far, so good... except that I'm getting more and more frustrated.

          Let's go back to the weather on the day of the murders. Linn also pointed out
          that the extremely hot weather was mentioned by the prosecutors in the
          opening statement. I did a little checking, and this is what I found:

          From the opening statement: "The day of the murder was one of the hottest
          days in history. By 11 A.M. in the morning it was one hundred degrees."

          Patsy, I'm NOT disputing the information you offered about the temperatures
          that day... that's NOT my intention. What I'm trying to do here is show how
          frustrating it is for a "newbie" to figure out what's true and what's not. I
          can understand how writers would accept the "extremely hot" weather as fact
          -- because it was stated as a fact. The only reason I can think of that the
          prosecution would mis-state the weather would be if it helped their case in
          some way... in which case, the defense team would logically have "corrected"
          the record, wouldn't they?

          But another "fact" that seems wrong in the prosecution's statement is that
          Andrew Borden returned home at 10:15 that morning. The carpenters who saw
          Andrew said he left for home about 10:45.

          As Linn pointed out, it's possible to read one "fact" in one book, and a
          completely different "fact" -- about the same thing -- in another book. What
          is stated as true on one page is contradicted on another page. I'm at the
          point now where I'm reluctant to accept anything I read as "true" about the
          case. Even when all the "authorities" -- in other words, the authors of all
          these books -- seem to be in agreement, and even when their statements seem
          to be in agreement with statements made during the trial, the "facts" can
          still be wrong... as with the weather that day.

          So how does anyone ever know what to believe and what to cast off as useless
          or erroneous information? I know I've rambled on long enough, and worst of
          all, I don't have any idea what "point" I'm trying to make. I guess it's
          disturbing to think I'm spending all these hours reading and studying only to
          find out that a lot of what I've been reading is hogwash.

          Maybe part of the fascination with Lizzie Borden is that we can choose for
          ourselves what we want to believe... we can selectively accept information
          that supports our personal theories and discard any "facts" that don't fit
          our version of the truth. In the end though, we can't be sure of anything,
          can we?

          I know I'm making no sense at all. I hope I haven't offended anyone by
          blurting out my frustrated opinions, but I'm about ready to take all these
          books and throw them across the room <g>. I guess the reason I'm writing is
          to ask: "Has anyone else ever felt this way?"

          OK... I'll shut up now... <retreating quickly back into lurk mode>.
        • PatriciaLu@xxx.xxx
          In a message dated 6/11/99 9:48:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, WestList@aol.com writes:
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 11, 1999
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            In a message dated 6/11/99 9:48:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, WestList@...
            writes:

            << I guess the reason I'm writing is
            to ask: "Has anyone else ever felt this way?" >>

            I think what you feel is entirely accurate. When we approach a subject, we
            think that books contain facts and to learn more about Lizzie, we read all
            the books and then our knowledge just grows and grows. Well, as you see, it
            doesn't work that way.

            Another historical event I'm interested in is the Battle of LIttle Big Horn
            -- Custer's Last Stand -- and what you describe about learning about Lizzie
            is true there too. People lie, exaggerate, report wrong and all sorts of
            other factors enter in to cloud the facts -- or what we can ascertain as
            facts.

            Think of it as the challenge of becoming a Lizzie scholar -- when all is said
            and done, I think you have to form your own opinions since there is no right
            or wrong. If the front page of the Fall River newspaper reports the weather
            (and I'm making this up here) as 80 degrees that day and the prosecution
            later says it was the hottest day of the year, you have to decide which of
            these two sources makes more sense to you and grow your knowledge base that
            way. It is frustrating, but that's half the fun!

            Patricia in NY City
          • Tango9311@xxx.xxx
            In a message dated 6/11/99 12:16:58 PM EST, PatriciaLu@AOL.com writes:
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 11, 1999
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              In a message dated 6/11/99 12:16:58 PM EST, PatriciaLu@... writes:

              << Think of it as the challenge of becoming a Lizzie scholar -- when all is
              said
              and done, you have to form your own opinions since there is no right
              or wrong. It is frustrating, but that's half the fun! >>

              Well said, Patricia. The truth is that truth changes... the facts of the case
              are
              slippery. I've been working on a "time-line" for the events of August 4, and
              I've found dozens of conflicting stories about who did what, when they did
              it, and where they did it. As a result, I've had to do some thinking...I've
              had to ask myself a lot of questions...and I've had to determine for myself
              what version of the so-called truth makes the most sense to me.

              WestList@... said that maybe part of the reason we're fascinated with
              Lizzie Borden is because we can choose for ourselves what to believe. I
              don't think we should accept everything we read or hear as absolute truth,
              nor do I think we can randomly choose what to believe. We must consider all
              the evidence -- both from the trial and from others who have studied the case
              -- and we can then arrive at our own conclusions.

              In one of the first messages to the list, Patsy made a comment that "we
              become players"... and there is something both challenging and rewarding in
              that. The story of Lizzie Borden becomes an "interactive" pursuit. Instead of
              reading and memorizing facts -- as we do with so many subjects -- we have a
              chance to use our heads. Learning about Lizzie is a study in character, a
              study in logic, and a study in lies.
              We may never know the real truth about the murders or "whodunit", but we can
              TRULY learn a lot about human nature... and that's a fact!

              Linn
            • Tango9311@xxx.xxx
              In a message dated 6/11/99 8:48:54 AM EST, WestList@AOL.com writes:
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 11, 1999
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                In a message dated 6/11/99 8:48:54 AM EST, WestList@... writes:

                << OK... I'll shut up now... <retreating quickly back into lurk mode>. >>

                No need to "lurk"... please don't hesitate to share your thoughts with the
                group.
                "40 Whacks" is a place to share ideas -- and opinions! I look forward to
                hearing more of your thoughts.

                Linn
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