MFM Minisode 213My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
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- 8 Feb 2021
This week’s hometowns include a near-death experience in a bounce house and another Lizzie Borden connection.
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This is exactly right. Hello and welcome to my favorite murder, the many Soad, that's Karen Kilgariff, that's Georgia Hard Star. Hi. Are you ready to hear your emails read back to you bio's. Let's do it.
And I go first. Sure. The subject line of this is I have a Lizzie Borden thing you might not know. Hi, Karen in Georgia and Stephen in Pets. I just finished listening to Minnesota 11 and knew I had to write in with my own Lizzie Borden Ty because there's a part of her story that never gets told. And I'm freaking obsessed with. I was born and raised in New England and grew up surrounded by creepy graveyards, which museums and countless stories of gory supernatural happenings in the shadows of places I walked past every day.
So I take me there. I love it here. And I love her makeup legacy. Ever, ever since I was a little child, my grandfather has enthralled me with tales of our family's own twisted history, going all the way back to the sixteen hundreds. And Thomas Cornell, a common ancestor I happened to share with confounding figures like Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Gates and Lizzie Borden. But I'll get there in a second. So this is just named Brad namedrop brag.
OK, in sixty seventy three, Thomas's wife. So we're talking about Thomas Cornell. They're distant relative Thomas. His wife, Rebecca, was found dead before the fireplace apparently burned to death. Rebecca was an old crow at this point, apparently disliked by many, including her own son, Thomas Jr.. The story goes that that very night she refused to dine with the rest of the family because she heard they were serving fish. And when Thomas found her later burned to a crisp on the floor, it was widely assumed that she had fallen asleep, too close to the flames and an ember had ignited her clothing.
Oops, but believable enough, that is, until Rebecca's brother was visited by her ghost in a dream. He then demanded her corpse be exhumed and reexamined. And as it turned out, the original examiner had failed to notice a huge gash in Rebecca's stomach. Suddenly, the story changed. Rather than falling into the fire in her old age, Rebecca had been viciously murdered by her own son. Desperate to get an early grab at his own inheritance, he must have burned the body to cover up his crimes.
The case went to court, and Thomas Jr. was convicted of matricide, the very first case in American history while he was sentenced to hang on the testimony of a ghost and not even a ghost who showed up for the trial but who supposedly visited her brother in a dream. About twenty years later, this case would be referenced in support of spectral evidence for use in court cases during the Salem frickin witch trials. No, God, that's really funny. I didn't even think about the fact that this case was before the witch trials.
That's how old it is. That's crazy. After Tom Jr. was hanged, his wife gave birth to their seventh child, a girl she named innocent in honor of her husband, who she believed to be innocent.
Innocent, Cornell would grow up to marry Richard Borden. And together they had six children, including Lizzie's dear grandmother. My grandfather has spent his retirement compiling evidence from both Thomas Jr and Lizzie Borden's court cases. And we'll tell the story to literally anyone he makes a true old fashioned murdering. Yeah, crampy. So Lizzie wasn't the first in the family to be put on trial for murder. She was the first to get away with it, though. And yes, I fully believe she did it.
Sorry this was so long, but I hope you enjoyed the story. Stay sexy and don't murder your mother. Alex. Wow, what a crazy story. I learned so many things. But why can't like someone else just be like, well, I had a dream last night where the ghost of so-and-so, like, everyone could do that then, which is probably why they don't think they could. Well, I mean, they could but then yeah, that's, that's probably why.
But then having exhume the body and actually found evidence, I think that's that was really the case. And you can't just go like I had a dream. I was at my old high school and it turns out I'm innocent.
Aren't that way. I was a thousand. Go on. OK, this one is. I was. Yeah, this one's I nearly died in a bounce house. Oh, shit. High murder and mayhem. Queens and Associates. When I heard your request for a ball pit stories, I knew I had to share this cautionary tale. I too was a childhood ball pit. Treasure hunter mostly. Mostly used bandaids down there. Oh, no, it's a great little tidbit.
However, this is not a story about ball pits, but rather they're more dangerous. Cousin The Bounce House. When I was in my early twenties, I had an older friend see who had the most epic backyard parties, bonfires, music, free flowing booze and weed. It was great. One summer, he rented a bouncy house for his young son's birthday party that night, the birthday boy was at his mom's house, so he thought it would be a great idea to throw another ranger with the bounce house as the main attraction for the adults.
Sure, I was stoked I hadn't been in a bounce house since childhood. So after a few drinks, I decided to check it out with some friends. By this time, the Bounce House had seen quite a lot, quite a lot of action and had started to deflate. It was also pretty dark outside and that, combined with a couple beers and a touch of pot, made it a disorienting experience before I knew what I was thrown face first into the deflating space between the wall of the bounce house and the inflated surface.
I was a scrawny twenty three year old weakling and was completely pinched face down arms at my side. As much as I struggled, I could not pull free or shout for help.
As I struggled for air, my vision began to dim and the panic set in just as I was about to resign to my fate of death by Bounce House, an arm shot out of nowhere and yanked me back to the surface. My dear sober friend Ben had noticed my leg sticking out of the crevice and literally sprang into action, likely saving my life. Safe to say that was my last bounce house adventure. Not sure what ended up happening with the bounce house, but I'm pretty sure she did not get his deposit back.
I love you ladies. I started listening to MFM at the start of the pandemic and just caught up today. Thank you for all that you do. Stay safe and don't bounce drunk, Alex. She Herr's. That's all too. Alex is in a room. Oh, we're very good advice though, because I was making me laugh because it's I've been in bounce houses with kids like someone saying, come with me and then you kind of get in there, but you stand on the side like here adult like I didn't want to be in there, but it was like probably know or someone like that.
But yeah, there is a spot where you just should not go near it because the sides are the danger.
And then you kind of have no one really says that you have no control really over like you just want to stand there. But you can't. It's I know you got to it's almost like you got to jump around. That's the safest. Yeah. You can't hang and act like casual and like be a wallflower and be cool. You can't be cool about it or you'll die.
You like the idea that that person was going to drown in a bounce. How could you imagine. And no one would like know you're drowning.
Yeah. Know and but then your body's found.
It wrecks the whole party. OK, I'm not going to read you the subject line of this one. It just starts MFM crew, long time listener, first time writer, blah, blah, blah, since we're sending all types of stories at this point. Here you go.
And so it was twenty four ish. I was in high school and it was MLK Day. So naturally my parents were working and I was home with my probably ten year old brother and his best friend, who was our neighbor in typical teenage girl fashion. I was up in my room, which was hot, pink and lime green. Gross. I disagree, talking on the phone with one of my friends, casual, when all of a sudden my brother runs into the room and says, and then it's in all caps, I need the phone without even turning my head to look at him.
I just said, no, I'm on it. Also, it was clearly my cell phone and we had a house phone. He could have just used that, whatever. I'm clearly over it. Anyway, he persisted. So I turned to look at him and he is covered in soot, to which I replied, What did you do before telling my friend I got to go. It was then that I noticed the soot footprints that led up the stairs and followed them into the living room where it looked like he had paced six circles around the room before coming to tell me that he had all caps lit.
The neighbor's yard on fire fighters were real. OK, soot, footprints everywhere. He and his friend were playing with fireworks, of course, parentheses.
Clearly I was a great babysitter and one shot two yards over and immediately burst the very dry grass into boy, I get so dangerous.
But children playing with fireworks was just the norm. Some like. And that's what they're looking for, right? Well, you it's to make fireworks and then be like kids aren't allowed to play with them. So what old people are supposed to play with fireworks. It's for kids. They're about kids. Their children are drawn to them. But the idea that they lit off like a fucking picolo thinking, they do exactly the depth and breadth of the power of this thing.
And then it just flew away. My favorite I mean, my favorite visual of this is the footprints of the kid clearly going with. I do, what do I do, what do I do? Is circling on my shoulders head me up lighting a cigarette as the fire engulfed three quarters of their backyard but didn't get to the house because my brother and a bunch of other neighborhood kids brought out all their hoses to put the fire out themselves. Yes, they banded together.
By the time the fire department got there, the only remnant was a big black circle of soot. My dad had to take my brother to a weekly fire prevention class after that, and the neighbor had the greenest grass next year. You're welcome to stay sexy and don't play with fireworks, at least in the winter candle.
Oh, my God. That's my cousin, my cousin Mitch when he was a kid. So he's older than me, though, like set his family's kitchen on fire. They were doing the trick where you flick matches, you know, you light them and flick them at the same time. Yeah, fucking dishtowel burst into flames. The whole kitchen got burned down. They had to, like, completely cut the hole. Oh, my God. Like, they had to escape from where they were standing.
And now he's his financial adviser. So he got his shit together at least. Or did he or did he could still be a pyromaniac? Who knows? He could be a complete. Yeah, right. This is a surprise in the wall story. I am a fantham. I started listening to your podcast at the beginning of quarantine last year. And this week I came upon the episode where you asked people to send in things they found hidden in walls.
I have a nonmonetary but still spooky finding for you some important dates and details. My mom and dad moved an inch to my childhood home in 1990, divorced in 2000, and my dad passed away in 2003, even though they were divorced. My dad just happened to be at my mom's house formally their shared house, visiting with us when he died suddenly from a heart attack, which my sisters and I witnessed super traumatic. Yeah, so awful. In 2014 at my mom's house flooded and they had to rent out everything, floors, walls, mental capacity, etc.
. My mom decided to turn her laundry room into another bathroom, and when they got to the drywall, they found a note that my dad had written in Sharpie that read My dearest Andrea, may there never be any walls between us.
I love you, Wendle.
Oh, I know.
And is dated November twenty third nineteen ninety one along with some artistic scribbles from me at age two. So he brought his daughter in, was like, let's see Mom, you know. What did the mom do the date on it. November. Twenty third was the same date that he died in the same house.
Twelve years later. No we were all mind blown. The date being the same just made it so much crazier. I hope this gave you some chills and fuzzy feelings thanks to your company during this lonely year. Obree.
Oh, I didn't want to spoil it was sad. Oh, sorry. But I just thought as a woman who went through all that and then found that I just would think she would have totally broken down, I'm sure she probably did. God damn. Yeah, it's impossible Tear-jerker in the letter, but I didn't want to spoil it total. Dear sweet. Yeah that's fine. You know. Beautiful. Yeah. I always write notes in walls everyone.
Sorry, that's why I didn't end on it. No, that's OK, I'm going back to a ball pit story, right? Yes, yes, yes, I love it. So we're going this is the sine wave of the average. And he said, my last one is funny, too, so.
OK, but this is the subject line is ball pits and accidentally justifying my mother's paranoia. I was just listening to the hometown about ball pit scissors and wanted to share my own ball pit story for my entire life. My mother has had this irrational fear of people hiding dirty needles in random locations, hoping that someday some unsuspecting victim would accidentally get poked by one dirty needles or potentially stashed everywhere and anywhere hidden in the bristles of the fuzzy things at the base of escalators.
Oh my God, that is really in the Pacific that like that. These were hidden places, OK, on dirty needles, because it was it was a kind of aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. Words like that was another way you could get it. But the idea of that, they would be. How much time do you spend in the fuzzy things at the bottom of escalators like that when you're a kid, it's like half your mile trip is trying to figure out how an escalator works?
Yeah, that's a true true. So their inner coin returns lost the slots, the slots between s.. Those plastic slides, the demo shoes you could try on at the store, you guessed it, bulb pits. Those are so fucking specific. I love that poor mom is just like Bensley.
She just didn't want a surprise bad thing to happen. And that's really what I'm reading from all of this.
For a little kid me, this was a real buzzkill as I've had quite a few, as I have quite a few memories of sitting out and watching my friends play in a potentially Neidl infested ball pit that my mother so graciously protected me from. Fast forward to me being fifteen, working my first job in the Midwest at an all in one Funplex. Oh, my gosh. You know, the big warehouse is laser tag and bowling and roller rinks and bad pizza.
Anyways, this warehouse had a massive ball pit that had a big jungle gym in the center, and you could jump from it into the ball.
Oh, my God, that's amazing. Once a year, the whole staff would come in on the day that we were closed and we would empty the ball pit to clean it. So at least this place cleaned it once a year. Once, though, they said, oh, no, that's not enough friends for Christmas, for Christmas to get a Christmas bonus.
Is there a change at the bottom of the fucking ball? You can keep it or whatever. You can pick up coins. You heard me once a year. And then in one of those little things called gags to Asterix gag, completely correct. Well, guess what we found at the bottom of the ball pit, not one, not two, but three dirty needles, only two of which were kept. I, given my history, was horrified, even more so when my manager told me not to worry.
They usually find a few every year. Oh, I ended up telling my mom thinking it was a fun. Oh, hey, I guess you're right that dirty needles could be in pits and boy, was that a mistake. Now, her irrational needle phobia has only been validated. No chance needles could have fallen from someone's pocket into the ball pit by accident. She is sure it was malicious and she's on the lookout now more than ever. Fast forward another five years and some friends of mine bought a facility with a ball pit.
And since I had previously told the story, I was the first person alerted when they, too, emptied the ball pit and found an uncapped needle.
It's this this second instance was not shared with my mother. So, yeah, ball pits danger game.
Lynn Wow. I would think maybe one in ten ball pits once a year would have won, but that I know all the time. That's fucking bananas.
I mean, it's like best case scenario, it's children insulin with diabetes. Yeah. And that are just being irresponsible. But I would think at that age the mom would be kind of standing by like, don't keep that in your pocket, hold no child.
We don't keep your insulin pen in your in your just running around with it.
But who we don't know. And then but then then it's like that maybe also there's just some heroin addicts are like living free and like no one like goth kids would go to like the play area or like I want saw like a Disneyland, like the Goth kids were having their goth day.
It's like maybe they just went to a ball like a Chucky Cheese once and played in the ball pit.
But so you're saying Goths are haryono on it? I'm sad Goth kid with insulin, with an insulin issue. Oh, I don't know. What if I can say what I'm saying is here's my last time down.
OK, ok. It says hello ladies. And then a bunch of S's and then it says Snake Trigger Warning. I just finished listening to the Minnesota where the family was living on top of a snake den and had to share my snake story featuring my fearless and insane mother.
I grew up in Atlanta near the Chattahoochee River, which meant, particularly in the warm months, that snakes were a pretty regular occurrence. My mother, my mother considered herself a friend to most snakes because they had mice and vermin out of her garden. True, but always had an eye out for Copperheads when we were children because they had enough venom to kill me and my older brother. Hey, does that mean we already go Dollis, like, are we talking snake next time you come here and try to fuckin jump off the balcony, that it was very traumatic.
So doubted it or do they were they were they could kill us. Anyways, her favorite snake disposal method was chopping their heads off with a shovel. If you think you wouldn't want to meet my mom in a dark alley, you are correct.
Mm hmm. When I was in fourth grade, my fanciest private school decided it was smart to dedicate two entire months to a live action Oregon Trail game where students were split into families that we're that we're trying to travel from the East Coast along the treacherous path. He would roll the dice and see if your wagon hinge broke or if you facing a deadly snowstorm or dying of dysentery. Oh, did you guys play that yet or was not? No, I was too old to.
I miss Oregon Trail was like the the like group behind me. That's me.
Anyways, one way to win points that you could exchange for food, clothing or medicine was to make arts and crafts at home to bring in and present to the class, I think wooden spoon dolls or cornhusk skirts.
Then it says in parentheses, I don't know if those are things, but I ran out of examples. Someone on my team had recently suffered a rattlesnake bite and I was in desperate need of points to buy an elixir. So I went home begging my mom to help. So that was like the dice they were told was pretend, OK, good, good, good.
Being a sensible person. My mom was pretty pissed off that instead of learning fractions, this expensive school was teaching us how to be proper domestic wives and the eighteen fifties. Yeah, sure. She decided that the appropriate craft was actually not a craft at all. Earlier that week one of our dogs had killed a copperhead and trash day hadn't come around so that that dead snake was sitting in our compost pile. Still my mother proceeded to chop its head off with a shovel, put it into a piece of Tupperware and send it to school with me the next day.
I, being a big fan of my mom's, in a naive eight year old, thought this was a fabulous plan. You can imagine the scene when I stood up in front of my entire fourth grade class and presented a severed snake head to the teacher in charge that day, proudly declaring that I brought the head of a snake that bit in my head bit my teammate in pretend the teammate got bitten by a rattlesnake. She had a brown elixir. Yes.
And the elixir was basically like the mom going, You want elixir? I'm in it. Here's here's a little reality for you on the Oregon Trail. That's right.
Thank you. I'll leave the chaos that ensued to Yarl's imagination. But all in all, I got the maximum number of points, a test the teacher who threw up in the trash can and a strongly worded note sent home for my mother regarding school policy on dismembered animals. My shoes out of. But hey, we successfully crossed the Oregon Trail. Thanks so much for all that you do. I'm trying to work up the courage to begin virtual therapy.
And hearing both of you discuss it so frequently and with such openness is deeply meaningful to me.
Oh, stagers do it. Just just do it. It's fun. You'll love it one and see how it goes and bring a snake head with you. You'll be fine. You'll be like, read this letter to her and she'll understand what your childhood was like. Exactly. You don't have to open with the letter. Yeah. Then that's it.
My my best friends told me to read you this letter about my childhood. So here you go. Stay sexy and don't forget to terrify your teacher with a severed snakehead.
Tell your mom we say hi and dad. Great parents. Just rad mom action. Also, like it's she's basically saying you get some reality into this. Yeah, but game if you're going to do it, do it for real. I'm not selling you some fucking stupid handkerchief that says like venom sucks on it. I'm fucking breaking off the head of a rattlesnake. I'm teaching my daughter how to do that for future happenings and sending it to school there to make a teacher of it.
Yes. I mean, that is mothering and which is probably why neither of us have children. That's the real deal. All right. Well, that's that was a great batch. I mean, it was everything you need to know about surviving real life, whether it's staying away from the walls of a bounce house, staying off the bottom of a ball pit, keep your needles out of your pockets.
If we're going to go in a ball pit, put him in the safe needle drop before you go in. These are all great examples of the kind of stories you want to hear from you, too. So email us at my favorite murder at Gmail on our website, my favorite murder. We want to say sorry. Oh, and don't get murdered by Elvis.
Do you want a cookie? I.