Thursday, June 26, 2014

The true story of The Greenbrier Ghost

The “Greenbrier Ghost” was Elva Zona Heaster-Shue, a local woman who was found dead on January 23, 1897. The coroner listed the cause of her death as “everlasting faint” and then as “childbirth.” Elva knew differently — and for four nights her ghost appeared at the foot of her mother’s bed, telling her that she had in fact been strangled in a fit of rage by her blacksmith husband.
Mom, finally convinced (or just tired), went to the local prosecutor with the story. The prosecutor had Elva dug up and, sure enough, she had a broken neck and crushed windpipe. Edward (Mr. Elva) was tried, convicted, and shipped to the West Virginia State Penitentiary, where murderers of women don’t expect to live long, and he didn’t.
The historical marker notes that this was the “Only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped convict a murderer.” We agree that history must have been made here. Elva is buried nearby, but the marker — probably made in the West Virginia State Penitentiary — is what you want to see.