Elva Zona Heaster grew up in Greenbriar County West Virginia. There is not a whole lot of information on her early life, but we do know that she married a drifter named Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue (WTH kind of name is that anyway?). Lucky for him, he went by Edward. The two were married shortly after they met in 1896.
Her mother, Mary Jane, did NOT approve of the marriage.
On January 23, 1897, Zona was found dead at the foot of the stairs by an errand boy. Her body was in a very peculiar position. The boy said she had been stretched out with toes pointed and a hand across her stomach. Before the coroner arrived, “Edward” had carried the body upstairs, put a new dress on her, and placed a veil over her face. Because “Edward” had been so grief-stricken, the coroner only did a brief exam and ruled the cause of death as “everlasting faint.” WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? The doctor also noted that he had been treating her for “female troubles” two weeks prior. Again… WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?!?! ugh. misogyny at its finest.
At the wake, Captain Creepy was seen TYING A SCARF AROUND HER NECK. I am typing in caps because I cannot believe no one found this suspicious. What a horror show of incompetence.
So here’s where it gets even creepier…
Four weeks after she was buried, Zona appeared to her mother in a dream. She told her mother that Edward had been abusive and attacked her when she did not cook meat for dinner (um.. yeah. Although, I can sort of relate- I get a bit homicidal listening to my husband eat cereal.) In his rage, he strangled Zona and broke her neck. In the dream, Mary Jane said that Zona’s ghost had twisted her head completely backwards .
Mary Jane went to the police with the information. Her body was exhumed and they did, in fact, discover that Zona had been murdered. There were FINGERPRINTS on her throat for God’s sake!
During his trial, he boasted of his mission to marry seven women and told reporters that he would never be convicted with such little evidence. Au contraire Erasmus! He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He died in prison in 1900.
This is the only known case in which the testimony of a ghost aided in the conviction of a murderer. Bravo Zona.