The Greenbrier Ghost Story

The Greenbrier Ghost Story

In this article we will be taking a look at the Greenbrier ghost story from 1897, and the dreams that surfaced after Elva Zona Shue was found dead in her West Virginia home…

The Dreams

Mary Jane Heaster began having heartbreaking dreams a month after she buried her daughter, Elva Zona Shue, in 1897. In these dreams, Zona called out to her mother and told her that her death was not from natural causes – she had been murdered.

She pinned the blame on her husband – Erasmus (Edward) Stribbling Trout Shue. She claimed that the fickle man had lost his temper and ended her life because she had not managed to provide him any meat with his dinner.

He then apparently broke his wife’s neck.

The ghost of Zona demonstrated the injury in the dream – by turning her head around 180 degrees (Exorcist style!).

greenbrier ghost west virginia

The heartbroken, and angry Mary Jane, went to the local prosecutor at once…but understandably, he did not really believe her ghostly dream story.

She was persistent though, and managed to get him to agree to exhume her daughter’s body and perform a thorough autopsy…

She was right – Zona was found to have a broken neck…she had been murdered.

The Marriage

Elva ‘Zona’ Heaster was born in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, in 1873. She had led a simple life right up to the point where she managed to get pregnant, out of wedlock, in 1895.

In those days this kind of thing was BAD news – nobody wanted to marry a ‘loose woman’ with poor morals, and a kid in tow.

However, she got lucky when a guy named Edward Stribbling Trout Shue moved into the area – he was looking for a new start in life, and didn’t really care that Zona had a child.

greenbrier ghost house

On October the 20th, 1896, the lovestruck pair were married…but Zona’s mother, Mary Jane, never really approved of Shue as a husband.

The couple seemed extremely happy in their new life – for three short months…

On January the 23rd, 1897, the body of Zona Heaster Shue was discovered at her home by a young boy running errands. She was found in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, as if she had tripped and fallen.

By the time the local doctor arrived at the house, Shue had moved his wife’s body upstairs to their bed, and had dressed her in a high-neck frock. When the doctor tried to examine the body he was continually interrupted by the sobbing Shue.

Whenever the doctor attempted to examine the head area of Zona’s body, Shue would suddenly cradle the head, and tell the doctor to leave them alone.

The doctor eventually listed her death as an ‘everlasting faint’ that was linked to childbirth…although he had no idea if the girl was indeed pregnant or not!

Edward Shue

When Mary Heaster was finally able to convince the county prosecutor to reopen the case – she was already sure in her own mind that Edward Shue had killed her daughter.

The prosecutor did a thorough job of visiting all of Zona’s neighbors and friends in the area, and they all agreed with Mary Heaster’s claims of murder.

When the exhumation was set to take place, Edward was told he would have to be present…he then knew that the game was up, and he informed the prosecutor that he was about to be arrested.

Zona was found with a broken windpipe, and deep finger marks on her neck. Her vertebrae was dislocated and the ligaments torn.

Edward Stribbling Trout Shue collapsed in a heap – he knew the game was up, and he was arrested on the spot.

greenbrier haunted
The House Where The Shue Family Lived

The later investigation found out that the mysterious Edward Stribbling Trout Shue had been married twice before he arrived in Greenbrier. His first wife had left him, due to the constant beatings he gave her…and his second wife died under mysterious circumstances.

Edward Shue was found guilty of murder on July the 11th, 1897, and sentenced to life imprisonment (he somehow managed to escape the death penalty). He was imprisoned at West Virginia State Prison where he died three years later.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Greenbrier ghost story, please leave them in the comment section below.

13 thoughts on “The Greenbrier Ghost Story

  1. What an interesting story. It’s cool that you included a picture of the actual sign by the cemetery where she is buried. One question though, does it really count as a ghost appearing to the mother? Because it was in a dream right, so it seems like it was more of a vision than an actual ghost haunting.

  2. Wow what an eerie story. Paranormal stories scares me. Who could have believed a spirit of a deceased would tell how she died accurately through a dream. Usually I don’t believe such stories but I’ve heard several before.

    I’m happy the husband was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment but he deserved the death sentence.

    1. Well, maybe in a different country he would have received the death sentence Edwin! We have to make do with the fact that he did get caught. 

  3. I’ll be dammed!  There is justice in the world and regardless of how it comes about, the truth is found.  I had not heard of this case prior to reading it here.  Very nice presentation and I like the ideal behind your website.  Now I want to read more of the stories and facts that you present here.  Nice job Chris!

  4. Pretty cool story.  I can’t figure out how her mother would know other than her daughter’s ghost.  Maybe she witnessed the murder and that is how she knew.

    For sure that coroner wasn’t worth a penny to say she died of child birth.

    I believe in ghosts so I am tempted to believe the story, but back then you never know.

  5. Hey there and thank you for this amazing article. It was such an interesting read. I’ve heard about this story before. I am amazed that this story actually has a monument of a kind. This is something new to me. When you think about it the sign is right. 

    The only time ghost helped convicting a murderer. Sounds so amazing. Also, the strong connection between Elva and Mary obviously is what made this case reopen again.

    This man deserved this. He was obviously a cold blooded murdered when the only thing that made him do that horrific crime was about a meal.

    Thank you for sharing this.


    1. Agree with you 100% Strahinja – he definitely deserved this! 

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment on our article. Have a great day! 🙂

  6. Omg the truth came out from the ghost and not from the autopsy, classic. Poor mother to have to fight for the answer. Oh, so back then they perform the autopsy at the crime scene? Didn’t know that. The doctor, to be honest could be on Edward side omg who does that! I wonder what kind of plea did he do to get away with life sentence. Do you think that all the medium tv shows that we see is legit? 

    Great read, Happy Holidays

    1. Hello Nuttanee, and happy holidays to you too! 🙂

      Personally I really don’t believe in 99.9% of these TV mediums, although I do believe in a handful of mediums I have met in person over the years. 

  7. Very interesting article i love the supernatural. Love that you did your homework on what happened. Are there other ghost stories like this one…

    Where a murder investigation was launched because of a ghost? 

    How did the husband die?

    Did she have her baby or did the baby die with her?

    Did he really confess before they dug her up?

    Did he get charge with murder of his other wife?

    1. Wow, wow, wow! 

      So many questions! 

      I’m replying to this off a phone so I can’t really see the article at the moment to answer these (modern technology is wonderful, isn’t it!). Anyway, all the info we could gather on the subject is in the article above! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *