True crime aficionados often take to the highways and byways of the US to visit locations where grisly incidents occurred. There's a whole cottage industry based around some of the most heinous crimes ever committed - nearly every town in America is home to some sort of attrocious history, and chances are good you can revisit the horror via a walking or guided tour.
While tasteful recreations can be fascinating, it's a way more visceral experience to visit the actual homes and businesses where crimes played out in the years past. As "fans" visit these hollowed grounds, the owners usually take one of two stances - either they avoid the spotlight entirely or cash in on their moment of infamy by turning the place into some sort of tourist attraction. Many such sites are still mostly intact as of 2019 should you choose to make the trip, but always remember to be mindful of the owners' wishes for privacy. Anything else might land you in hot water.
"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 Lizzie Borden incident has fascinated the world since it first occurred back in 1892. That year, Lizzie's parents were found with their skulls caved in by a hatchet in their Fall River, MA home. The prime suspect? Their youngest daughter.
Borden was believed to have financial and emotional motivation for the slayings but was acquitted nonetheless, and the murders remain unsolved. In 2019, the home on 92 Second Street has been converted into a Victorian-era bed and breakfast with plenty of nods to the location's grim past throughout. To top the experience off, the house is said to be rife with paranormal activity.
One early June morning in 1912, someone entered a small house in Villisca, IA and bludgeoned two adults and six children as they slept. The incident spawned decades of investigations, several suspects, but not one conviction. Over 100 years later, the crime remains unsolved.
The house, located at 508 E. 2nd Street, stayed pretty much intact throughout the years and was turned into a tourist attraction in the 1990s. In 2019, you can tour the home during daylight hours or stay overnight, but be forewarned - ghost experts and hobbyists alike contend the Villisca house is one of the most haunted places in the US.
The Amityville House of Long Island, NY still stands as a private residence decades after 23-year-old Ronald "Butch" DeFeo took out six members of his family while they slept in 1974. The house has since been the subject of several movies and TV shows due to the alleged "haunting" of the Lutz family, who inhabited the house after the DeFeos, though no owner since then has claimed paranormal activity.
The best-selling book about the Lutz family's time in the house, The Amityville Horror, has been deemed a hoax after DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, reportedly admitted he and the Lutzes “created this horror story over many bottles of wine" in the hopes of a new trial for DeFeo. The house at 112 Ocean Avenue is occupied in 2019 and was purchased by its latest owners for $605,000 in 2017.
In Los Angeles, CA on August 8 1969, a small group of Charles Manson's "family" took out five people at the Benedict Canyon home of director Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. The night after, grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were slain in their home in the then middle-class Los Feliz area. Over the years, both sites have become tourist attractions - however, the Tate house on Cielo Drive was razed in 1994, just after Nine Inch Nails recorded The Downward Spiral there in 1992.
The LaBianca house still stands and is occupied as of 2017. While its Waverly Drive address has changed, the house looks pretty much the same as it did that fateful night.