It’s Fearful Friday again. This week, I’m going to share with you (I’m not going to remind myself of the hauntings I’ve been through yet. Yes, if you are asking, I’ve been through some haunted shit in my life, but I’m not looking at sharing them anytime soon) a spooky story from West Virginia. If you are ready, and fearless, then carry on reading.
Her name was Elva Zona Heaster, and she was a young woman from GreenBrier County, West Virginia, U.S, who was murdered in 1897. Born some time around 1873, little was known about this lady who was more popularly known as the ghost who appeared to tell the truth about her death.
The day was January 23, 1897. Zona’s body was discovered at her home by a young boy who had been dispatched to the house by Shue – her husband whom she married to on October 1896 – on an errand. She was found lying at the foot of the stairs, stretched out with her feet together and one hand on her stomach. The mother of the boy who found the corpse informed the coroner, but he did not arrive for close to an hour. It was found that Shue had carried her body upstairs to the bedroom and laid her on the bed when the doctor arrived. Her husband remained by the corpse while the coroner was examining it, all the time sobbing and cradling his wife’s head. When the coroner noticed bruises on her neck, he attempted to look closer, only to be faced with violent reactions from Shue. He then ended the brief examination and left the house.
Zona’s mother suspected that her daughter was murdered, and even though the cause of death was listed as “everlasting faint” which would later changed to “childbirth”, she was convinced that the murderer was her son-in-law because of his erratic behaviors during the wake. Coupled with the strange pinkish stain on the sheet – that was placed by Shue – she gotten from inside the coffin and the odd odour from it, she interpreted them as signs of Zona being murdered.
Four weeks after the funeral, Zona appeared to her mother. According to the article from paranormal.com, Zona appeared to her mother as follows:
“Cold winter winds swirled around the streets of Greenbrier. As the early darkness crept into Mary Jane Heaster’s home every night, she lit her oil lamps and candles for light, and stoked the wood stove for warmth. From out of this dim atmosphere, so Mary Jane claimed, the spirit of her beloved Zona appeared to her…”
Zona told her mother that Shue murdered her because he believed that she hadn’t cooked meat for dinner. He’d killed her by breaking her neck, and she turned her head 180 degrees to her back to prove her mother that her neck was broken. It was said that she visited her mother over four nights to further describe how she was killed.
Zona’s mother, Mary, spent several hours trying to convince the local prosecutor John to reopen the case to her daughter’s death. It was believed that John was likely responding to public sentiment, as numerous locals had begun suggesting that Zona had been murdered. However, with doubts about the matter, he dispatched deputies to re-interview several people of interest in the case, including the coroner, Dr. Knapp.
Dr. Knapp stated during the interview that he had not made a complete examination of the body, and that was viewed as sufficient justification for an autopsy, and an exhumation was ordered and an inquest jury formed.
Zona’s body was re-examined on February 22, 1897 in the local one-room schoolhouse. Shue complained about this turn of events, but was still required by law to be present at the autopsy. He responded that he knew he would be arrested, but that no one would be able to prove his guilt.
After 3 hours of autopsy, Zona’s neck was indeed found broken. According to the report, published on March 9, 1897, “the discovery was made that the neck was broken and the windpipe mashed. On the throat were the marks of fingers indicating that she had been choked. The neck was dislocated between the first and second vertebrae. The ligaments were torn and ruptured. The windpipe had been crushed at a point in front of the neck.” On the strength of this evidence, and his behavior at the inquest, Shue was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.
While being held in jail waiting for the trial to begin, more information of his past came to light. He had been married twice before Zona, with his first marriage ended in divorce; his first wife accused him of cruelty. His second wife died under mysterious circumstances less than a year after they were married. Zona was his third wife. Shue talked of wishing to wed seven women, and he freely spoke of this ambition while in jail. He told reporters that he was sure he would be let free because there was so little evidence against him.
Shue was subsequently found guilty of murder, and was sentenced to life in prison on July 11, 1897. He was moved to West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, where he lived for three more years before he died on March 13, 1900 from an unknown epidemic. He was later buried in an unmarked grave in the local cemetery. Zona’s mother never recanted her story of her daughter’s ghost, and she died in September 1916.
As for Zona, her ghost was never seen in the area again.
Story source: Wikipedia
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.