The company that published Crapalachia by West Virginia writer Scott McClanahan is venturing into film and one of their first projects will be based on the legend of a Greenbrier County woman murdered in 1897.
Zona Heaster Shue was declared as murdered after the court heard testimony from the victim’s mother, who argued that her daughter’s spirit appeared to tell the truth behind her death. Shue’s Husband, Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue (also known as Edward) was convicted of murder and sentenced to the West Virginia State Penitentary in Moundsville. Edward died March 13, 1900 of an unknown epidemic at the prison.
The state erected a state historical marker near the cemetery in which Zona Shue is buried. It reads:
Interred in nearby cemetery is Zona Heaster Shue. Her death in 1897 was presumed natural until her spirit appeared to her mother to describe how she was killed by her husband Edward. Autopsy on the exhumed body verified the apparition’s account. Edward, found guilty of murder, was sentenced to the state prison. Only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped convict a murderer.
Co-produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s very own Chris Oxley, The Greenbrier Ghost was heavily mentioned by McClanahan in his memoir based on growing up in southern West Virginia, Crapalachia.
Here’s the trailer from McClanahan and Oxley: