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'Most haunted place in America' is site of an unsolved double murder

'Most haunted place in America' is site of an unsolved double murder

Lance Zaal, founder of US Ghost Adventures, shared his thoughts on the country's most haunted location.

There are countless places across the US that are home to unexplained happenings, but not many top the list of Lance Zaal's most haunted.

As the founder of the tour company US Ghost Adventures, Zaal has been to his fair share of spooky places.

He began the business after having his own paranormal experience when he was in middle school, and to date it remains the scariest ordeal he's ever had.

"I was in seventh or eighth grade, and it was in Southern California. It's called Bay Island... For about six months in middle school, my mother and I house sat at the house and watch the owners' little girl."

While there, Zaal and his mom slept on the bottom floor, in the basement of the home. It was from that vantage point that Zaal realized he could hear the footsteps of people walking above him - even when there was no one home.

On another occasion, the entity got a little closer.

Zaal recalled: "We were watching TV one night and the French doors - that were all glass, you could see through them [and] there was nobody on the other side - they shook as if to get our attention.

"And then the door handle slowly moved down, the door slowly opened and then it slammed shut."

Lance Zaal had his first ghostly experience as a child.

Zaal stopped going upstairs altogether after he heard a pair of footsteps following him into the bathroom.

"That was my experience as a kid," he said. "So I know there's something to it. I know it's real, because I've seen things happen that can't be really explained in any other way."

After leaving the Marines and doing a business degree, Zaal decided to lean in to his interest in history by creating US Ghost Adventures and offering tours around places with a story behind them.

It was in setting up the business that he came to discover what he believes fits the bill for the 'most haunted place in America'; the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, Massachusetts.

The home was once owned by Andrew and Abby Borden, who purchased the property in 1872 due to its location amid horse stables, stores and a make-shift restaurant.

They lived there with Andrew's daughters, Emma and Lizzie, as well as a maid named Bridget Sullivan.

On the morning of 4 August, 1892, Abby and Andrew both lost their lives as they were hacked to death, leaving the home stained with blood.

Emma was out of town at the time, leaving only Bridget and Lizzie as potential suspects.

As the maid had been washing windows outside, all eyes turned to Lizzie, who insisted she was innocent.

Lizzie claimed an intruder must have come inside and killed her dad and stepmother, but authorities weren't convinced and charged her with the murders.

However, with no conclusive proof, Lizzie was legally acquitted, meaning the murders remain unsolved to this day.

The home is now owned by Zaal, who has had numerous paranormal experiences there.

"Lizzie Borden, for sure [is the most haunted] place I've ever been," he said.

"I've been on a tour and we were walking outside once, and there was nobody around and you could smell the smell of tobacco pipe smoke. And that's outside of the old Tavern [that was there] in revolutionary times and colonial times."

The Lizzie Borden House was the site of two murders.
Bettmann/Getty Images

Zaal has also experienced unexplained locked doors, the voices of a man and footsteps in the home, as well as having his bedsheet moved down and something 'press down' on his leg while he was trying to sleep there.

Of course, no haunting would be complete without some creepy music, and Zaal experienced that while staying in Bridget's room, where he started to hear a melody playing out.

He initially thought someone in the house was messing with him, but it wasn't until a couple of months later that he says he spotted a toy with a wind-up handle in the bedroom.

"About two in the morning, this toy [had] started playing on its own," he said.

"A couple of months later... I wound it up and it was the same song that was playing while I was sleeping."

"I've experienced quite a few things at that Lizzie Borden house. And I'm amazed when I listen to stories that other people have," Zaal continued.

The Lizzie Borden House is now open to visitors.
Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It's these experiences that left Zaal convinced about just how haunted the Lizzie Borden house is, though he did mention one other location that could provide some good competition for the 'most haunted place in America' - the home of the Villisca axe murders in Iowa.

There, the entire family of Josiah Moore and two overnight guests were bludgeoned to death on 10 June, 1912.

If you're keen to experience the potential hauntings yourself, the Lizzie Borden House is still open to visitors, with Zaal noting that he's always keen to offer tours in locations with a real history.

"Most people want to find an explanation for why these things happen. And the best way we can explain that is through history," he said.

That being said, Zaal noted that in reality, it's 'important to recognize when we really know nothing' when it comes to life after death.

"I think it's important to recognize the limits of our understanding," he added.

However, he knows there's definitely something going on - even if people don't always want to believe it.

"I've watched a lot of people that were skeptical be absolutely frightened in the [Lizzie Borden] house," he said.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied / Bettmann/Getty Images

Topics: Conspiracy Theories, Ghosts, US News, Crime