America's Lady of Supernatural Thrillers

“Raven's Cove, a great mystery by Mary Ann Poll. Avoid it when winds are gusting to hurricane speed outside. No extra creepiness needed.”
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Step aside Stephen King, Alaska’s Mary Ann Poll is here to spin new tales of the super-natural and the ungodly, as her heroes and heroines take on the forces of evil on 'The Last Frontier.' ~Jeff Babcock

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Spectral Justice: The Greenbrier Ghost’s Murder Revelations

The story of Zona Heaster Shue, known as the "Greenbrier Ghost," intertwines the eerie realms of the supernatural with the grim realities of a murder mystery. This tale, set in the late 19th century in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, unfolds with the tragic death of Zona Heaster Shue under mysterious circumstances. Her passing, initially attributed to natural causes, took a dramatic and supernatural turn with the alleged intervention of her ghost????.

Zona, a young bride, met her end in January 1897, found lifeless at the bottom of the stairs by a neighbor boy. Her husband, Erasmus “Trout” Shue, exhibited suspicious behavior immediately following her death. He washed and dressed her body in a high-necked dress, a decision that would later arouse suspicions. The local doctor, who was called to examine the body, listed her death as "everlasting faint," later changing it to complications from pregnancy, despite no evidence suggesting she was pregnant.

The supernatural element entered the scene when Zona's mother, Mary Jane Heaster, began experiencing ghostly visitations from her deceased daughter. These spectral encounters were not fleeting apparitions; they were detailed conversations during which Zona's spirit revealed the harrowing truth of her demise. She accused Trout Shue of being an abusive husband who, in a fit of rage, had broken her neck. These chilling revelations compelled Mary Jane to appeal for the exhumation and re-examination of her daughter’s body.

Upon exhumation, an autopsy revealed a more sinister cause of death: Zona's neck had been broken, and there were indications of strangulation. This discovery led to the arrest of Trout Shue. During the trial, despite the judge's guidance to disregard the ghost story, the haunting narrative of Zona's ghostly revelations lingered in the courtroom. Trout Shue, whose past included a history of violence and suspicious circumstances surrounding his previous marriages, was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in 1900 under mysterious circumstances.

This peculiar case of Zona Heaster Shue, wherein the testimony of a ghost played a pivotal role, remains a unique and debated event in legal history. The story has been immortalized through various cultural adaptations, including plays, musicals, novels, and even an opera, showcasing the enduring fascination and horror it invokes. A historical marker in West Virginia commemorates this unusual tale, standing as a reminder of the eerie intersection of the supernatural and the judicial in the Greenbrier Ghost case.

For more in-depth details and accounts of this intriguing story, you may explore the extensive coverage on sites like Wikipedia, All That's Interesting, West Virginia Explorer, Appalachian History, and Mental Floss.

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