Elva Zona Heaster Shue lived a relatively quiet life in West Virginia until she met a man that changed everything. Born in 1876, not much is known about her life. There is reason to suspect that she may have had a child in 1895, but that isn’t the focus of this story.
In 1896, she met a man named Edward Stribbling Trout Shue, a drifter who had landed in Greenbriar County by chance. Zona and Edward had an immediate connection, but Zona’s mother, Mary, didn’t approve of the match. Mary begged her daughter to be more cautious, but Zona was in love and believed that she and Edward could live a long, happy life together. The two were married and moved to a two-story house together.
In 1897, Edward sent a hired hand to do an odd job at the house. The boy found Zona sprawled out at the foot of the stairs, dead. The boy ran to Zona’s mother, who in turn ran to fetch the doctor. By the time everyone arrived back at the house, Edward had moved Zona’s body into their bedroom and covered her face with a shroud. He had changed her into a high-collared dress for burial, saying goodbye. The doctor did not want to disturb the body in front of the grieving husband, so simply wrote down the cause of death as “everlasting faint.”
But over a month later, Zona appeared to her mother in a dream, explaining that she had been murdered. Edward had been abusing her, and when she hadn’t cooked his favorite meal, he had broken her neck. The ghost’s head turned all the way around to prove it, Mary reported to the police the next day. There hadn’t been a proper autopsy, so the case was re-opened.
Zona’s body was exhumed and after a proper autopsy, it was revealed that her neck was indeed broken. After an investigation, it was revealed that Zona was Edward’s third wife. The first had divorced him on grounds of cruelty, and the second had died of unknown causes.
Edward was arrested, saying that he had planned to have seven wives during his lifetime. He died in prison of illness.
Zona’s ghost was not seen again.
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