Lizzie Borden Lives On

Lizzie BordenThough the infamous ax murderer, Lizzie Andrew Borden, died years ago on June 1, 1927, her biology lives on. Scientist James Fallon found out that not only was Lizzie Borden a distant relative, but that he also shared her psychopathic brain. It was during a family research project on Alzheimer’s disease that he saw his own PET scan, not knowing it was his, and recognized the hallmark neurological deficits of the psychopathic population he was studying.

As a neuroscientist Fallon worked with experts on brain abnormalities of the criminal kind and so was familiar with the brain scans that psychopaths present with. He was shocked to find out that the image he recognized as abnormal was his own. In retrospect and with family members’ input he concurred that there were tell tale signs that he had such a brain, but thankfully, without the unlawful and violent behavior. He does however have traits of aggression, risky and impulsive choices and an inability to connect on a deep intimate level even though he is married with children.

Unfortunately, for Lizzie Borden and her murdered parents, it was believed, that she was of the violent type. Although she was acquitted of the heinous murders in 1893, rumors to the contrary have outlasted her trial and life. A case in point is the popular children’s rhyme that was and is so often used when jumping rope, “Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one.” The author of this rhyme is unknown, but speculated to be anonymously contrived in order to sell newspapers, while others give credit to Mother Goose.

For additional reading on James Fallon’s experience check out his book The Psychopath Inside