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Salem, Massachusetts: 40 Whacks Museum (Closed)

Who really killed Lizzie Borden's parents? An "interactive walk-through exhibit" tries to figure it out. With replicas of the victims' skulls and the murder weapon, and a reproduction of the Borden grave.

Drive into town and follow signs for the Salem Visitor's Center. The museum is two blocks away, on the south side of the Essex St. pedestrian mall, between Derby Square and Central St.
January 2011: Museum closed.

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40 Whacks Museum sign.

40 Whacks Museum - The Lizzie Borden Story

As if Salem wasn't spooky enough, with all the focus on witches, ghosts and the like -- someone decided to capitalize on the gruesome tragedy of the murders supposedly committed by Lizzie Borden, hence the clever name of this museum, (40 Whacks, get it?). Strangely, the murders took place far from Salem, in the little town of Fall River, MA and there is really no connection at all.

The museum is fun enough, as grisly murder reenactments go. What I enjoyed the most at the 40 Whacks Museum was the gift shop, full of wonderful items, such as post cards made from forensics photos of the murder victims where they dropped, mugs and shot glasses with the museum logo. Best of all, there was a pewter Christmas ornament consisting of a two inch Christmas wreath with a little hatchet with a bow on it dangling in the middle. You've gotta love that.

All in all, this exhibit has very little to do with Salem or its history. It just wants to tap into the creepiness of the area in a niche untaken by witches. Fun for the whole family, except for the very squeamish. You'll laugh your head off!

[D. Pruiksma, 08/08/2010]

Sadly, Lizzie couldn't click with the witch-centric tourists of Salem, and the museum closed in January 2011.

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