I saw Beetlejuice when it came out, and maybe I’ve seen it a time or two since then, but not within the last twenty years, I don’t think. I did some reading about Lizzie Borden last week, and this fact popped into my head: I’m certain the screenwriter, looking for a name for the haunted New England town of the Maitlands, took the name “Fall River” and made it one gothier. Good move. I remember the name Winter River from the scene where Wynona Ryder, as goth teenager Lydia Deetz, is trying to compose the perfect suicide note. “After having jumped—plum-met-ted—off the Winter River Bridge…”

Speaking of one gothier, you know who else was a Fall River Borden? Corinna Borden Keen, wife of famous doctor William Williams Keen and grandmother of Walter Freeman. Lizzie was a cousin of some description. And I was reading about her, incidentally, because I had just read Angela Carter’s wonderful short story “The Fall River Axe Murders,” which I recommend if you can find it.