On this date in 1897, Elva Zona Heaster was found dead in her home in Greenbrier County West Virginia. She’d been married for only a few months, hitched to one Erasmus (aka Edward) Shue, a drifter who had taken a local job at a blacksmiths’ shop. Elva Married Erasmus over the strenuous objections of her mother the previous October. On this January Day,A delivery boy discovered Elva’s body on the bed at her home, but by the time the coroner got there, Shue had cleaned and dressed the body of his wife, and stayed close by during the post mortem examination…which raised some suspicions in the Coroner. Nevertheless, he put down the cause of death to “Everlasting Faint” and “Female Problems” Shue never left the body of his wife for a moment until it was interred, and clearly was working to interfere with the crude investigatory procedures at the time, but he might have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for the Ghost. Two weeks after the body was buried, Elva’s Mother Mary Jane Heaster had a vivid dream in which the ghost of her daughter appeared to her and told her she had been murdered by Shue, Her Husband. Mary Jane Heaster was so convinced by the apparition of her daughter’s spirit, that she convinced the local prosecution to disinter the body and carry out a proper autopsy. The autopsy showed Elva Zona Heaster had, in fact, died of a broken neck and strangulation. The Ghost had told her mother that Shue had broken her neck because she didn’t cook him dinner that night. Based on the new evidence, Shue was found guilty of Murder and Died in prison. The case of the Greenbrier Ghost is the only case on record in American Jurisprudence where the testimony of a Ghost had a material impact on the investigation that led to a conviction. Birthdays today: Both Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are celebrating their 59th birthdays today, and it’s Chinese New Year…the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.
Album Notes: Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8. “Dark Walk” Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod, Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks. Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine.