True Crime Locations You Can Actually Visit
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.
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The Lizzie Borden House In Fall River, MA Is Now A Bed And Breakfast
"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.
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A House In Villisca, IA Is A Huge Tourist Attraction Due To Its Grim Past
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.
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The Sowden House In Los Angeles, CA Is An Alleged Black Dahlia Crime Scene
The unsolved slaying of Elizabeth Short, AKA the Black Dahlia, still holds Los Angeles in its grip decades later. Many of the locations Short frequented before her untimely demise are still as they were at the time of the incident. On January 15, 1947, her body was found in a vacant lot in Leimert Park where a private residence now stands.
The Sowden House in Los Feliz played a part in Short's mysterious end, but as is the case with most Black Dahlia-related locations, its full importance has yet to be established. In the mid-1940s, the house was owned by Dr. George Hodel, an LA physician. His son Steve, a retired LAPD detective and author of the book Black Dahlia Avenger, claims his father was the one who did Short in. While researching for his book, he found LAPD records that showed George was indeed one of the prime suspects at the time.
When Steve brought a police cadaver dog to Sowden House, it acted as though there was evidence of human remains on the premises. In 2019, the house - built by Lloyd Wright (eldest son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright) - still stands much as it was in 1947 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its place in Black Dahlia lore has been further cemented by the TNT series I Am The Night which tells the story of an adopted woman who discovers George Hodel is her biological grandfather.
The production was shot inside the Sowden House and around its exteriors. Actress India Eisley said of the location, “It has a very, very heavy energy there. During filming I felt physically ill a lot of the time. It’s just so isolated, it feels like a mausoleum. You could imagine someone screaming in there and not being heard.”
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The Los Angeles, CA Locations Of The Tate/Labianca Slayings Are Still FascinatingVideo: YouTube
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.
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The Amityville House Of Long Island, NY Is Where Ronald DeFeo Did His Family In
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.
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John Lennon Was Slain Outside One Of New York's First Luxury Apartments
John Lennon lived peacefully at New York City's Dakota building with his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean. That all changed when he was struck down in front of the building by crazed fan Mark David Chapman in 1980. The building, located on 72nd Street, opened in 1884 and was one of Manhattan's first luxury apartments.
In the 1960s, the residence turned co-op and became home to notable residents including Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, and Lennon. Its exteriors were used as the main location in the Roman Polanski's 1968 film Rosemary's Baby. Ono still lives in the apartment she and Lennon once shared as of 2018.