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Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghosts of Flight 401 – The official airline of the paranormal

The most extraordinary and credible research into the ghost phenomenon ever documented is the so-called “Ghosts of Flight 401.” On December of 1972, an Eastern Airlines Tri-Star jetliner, Flight 401, crashed into a Florida swamp. The pilot, Bob Loft (on the left), and flight engineer Don Repo (on the right), were two of the 101 people who perished in the air crash. Not long after the crash, the ghosts of Loft and Repo were seen on more than twenty occasions by crew members on other Eastern Tri-Stars, especially those planes which had been fitted with parts salvaged from the Flight 401 wreckage. The apparitions of Loft and Repo were invariably described as being extremely lifelike. They were not only reported by people who had known Loft and Repo, but their ghosts were also subsequently identified from photographs by people who had not known Loft and Repo.


The strange tales of the ghostly airmen of Flight of 401 circulated in the airline community. An account of the paranormal happenings even appeared in a 1974 US Flight Safety Foundation’s newsletter. John G. Fuller, the best-selling author of The Ghost of Flight 401, carried out an exhaustive investigation into the hauntings with the aid of several cautious airline personnel. A mass of compelling testimony was produced as a result. The website Flight 401 – The Black Box Story provides an account of the crash as told using material from the Black Box. It highlights how poor cockpit resource management caused a tiny light bulb to distract the pilots and bring down a Tristar jetliner.


The cause of the crash was found to be a couple of minor design faults in the controls, and Lockheed rapidly corrected them. However, it was after some of the undamaged parts of the aircraft were subsequently recycled onto other planes that the mysterious incidents began to be reported. Although Eastern Airlines refuses to discuss the matter, researchers have interviewed numerous individuals claiming to have encountered the ill-fated pair on L-1011s. As the reports would have it, Loft and Repo have devoted their after-lives to watching over the passengers and crew of these Lockheed passenger planes.


Many of the testimonies are extremely persuasive. Many come from people in highly responsible positions: pilots, flight officers, even a vice president of Eastern Airlines, who allegedly spoke with a captain he assumed was in charge of the flight, before recognizing him as the late Loft.


Other sightings are convincing because they have multiple witnesses. A flight’s captain and two flight attendants claim to have seen and spoken to Loft before take-off and watched him vanish – an experience that left them so shaken they cancelled the flight.


One female passenger made a concerned enquiry to a flight attendant regarding the quiet, unresponsive man in Eastern Airlines uniform sitting in the seat next to her, who subsequently disappeared in full view of both of them and several other passengers, leaving the woman hysterical. When later shown a sheet of photos depicting Eastern flight engineers, she identified Repo as the officer she had seen.


Another incident occurred when one of the L-1011 passenger planes that had been fitted with salvaged parts was due for take-off. The flight engineer was mid-way through carrying out the routine pre-flight inspection when Repo appeared to him and said, “You don’t need to worry about the pre-flight, I’ve already done it.”


Repo and Loft are apparently not content merely to be present on these airplanes. Often their style is far more hands on, particularly in Repo’s case. Aside from his appearance to a pre-flight engineer who he appeared to have been assisting, there is testimony from a flight attendant who observed a man in a flight engineer’s uniform, whom she later recognized as Repo, fixing a galley oven. The insistence of the plane’s own flight engineer that he had not fixed the oven, and that there had not been another engineer on board, would seem to lend weight to her claim. Repo was also seen in the compartment below the cockpit by a flight engineer who had accessed it in order to investigate a knocking he heard coming from there.


On another occasion, Faye Merryweather, a flight attendant, saw Repo’s face looking out at her from an oven in the galley of Tri-Star 318. Understandably alarmed, she fetched two colleagues, one of whom was the flight engineer who had been a friend of Repo’s and recognized him instantly. All three heard Repo warn them to, “Watch out for fire on this airplane.” The plane later encountered serious engine trouble and the last leg of its flight was cancelled. It is interesting to note that the galley of Tri-Star 328 had been salvaged from the wreckage of flight 401.
The sightings were all reported to the Flight Safety Foundation (an independent authority) which commented: “The reports were given by experienced and trustworthy pilots and crew. We consider them significant. The appearance of the dead flight engineer (Repo) … was confirmed by the flight engineer.” Later, records of the Federal Aviation Agency recorded the fire which broke out on that same aircraft.

One of the vice-presidents of Eastern Airlines boarded a Miami-bound TriStar at JFK airport and spoke to a uniformed captain sitting in First Class. Suddenly, he recognized the captain was Loft, at which point the apparition vanished.

Another incident occurred when Repo appeared to a captain and told him, “There will never be another crash. We will not let it happen.”

A female passenger found herself sitting next to an Eastern Airlines flight officer who looked pale and ill, but would not speak; she called a stewardess but before the eyes of several people, the man disappeared. The woman was later shown photographs of Eastern Airlines engineers and she identified the man as Repo.

Unfortunately, further research into the well-witnessed paranormal incidents was severely hampered by the airline company which steadfastly refused to co-operate with the ghost investigators.


Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 left New York’s JFK airport, bound for Miami International Airport, on December 29, 1972. The Lockheed L-1011 carried 163 passengers and 13 crew members. The flight was under the command of Captain Robert Loft, 55, a veteran Eastern Airline plot. His flight crew included First Officer Albert Stockstill, 39 and Second Officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo, 51.


The flight departed at 9:20 pm and crew and passengers enjoyed a routine flight until 11:32 pm. At this time, the flight was near its destination in Florida and the crew began to prepare for landing. First Officer Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator did not illuminate. The other crew members assisted Stockstill, but became distracted by it. While the crew was focused on the landing gear indicator, the plane crashed.


Stockstill died on impact as the plane crashed into the swampy Florida Everglades. Captain Robert Loft and Second Officer Donald Repo survived the crash, briefly. Captain Loft died before he could be pulled from the wreckage. Officer Repo died the next day.


Of the 176 people on board, 101 died.


The Ghost of Flight 401

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJt0oSpYJM8]Frank Borman, prior to becoming CEO of Eastern Airlines, arrived at the scene after the crash to assist with rescue efforts.
Over the next several months, the employees of Eastern Airlines began to report sightings of the dead crew members Loft and Repo on board another L-1011. Parts from Flight 401 were reportedly salvaged after the Flight 401 crash investigation and refitted into another L-1011 in service. Ghostly sightings began to be reported by those who knew Loft and Repo. Eastern’s management threatened dismissal to those caught spreading “ghost stories”, it was said.


By this time, the rumors of the haunting had spread far and wide. Television and books told the stories of the ghosts. By this time, Frank Borman was the CEO of Eastern Airlines. Borman called the stories of a haunting “garbage” and considered suing the producers of the 1978 made-for-TV movie The Ghost of Flight 401 for libel.


Despite this, former Eastern Airlines employees still insist to this day that they saw the ghosts of Loft and Repo on board the other L-1011. Parts were said to have been removed from the plane. After the parts removal, there was no further mention of any more appearances by Loft and Repo.


After the 1972 crash, it was discovered that the indicator light that distracted the Flight 401 crew was caused by a burned-out light bulb. The landing gear could have been manually lowered with or without the light. The crash was due to the error of the crew. It is said that this is the reason Loft and Repo haunted Flight 401 – to keep future flights safe from human error.


The Ghosts of Flight 401


Over the following months and years, employees of Eastern Air Lines began reporting sightings of the dead crew members, captain Robert Loft and second officer (flight engineer) Donald Repo, sitting on board other L-1011 (N318EA) flights.


Parts of Flight 401 were salvaged after the crash investigation and refitted into other L-1011s. The reported hauntings were only seen on the planes that used the spare parts. Sightings of the spirits of Don Repo and Bob Loft spread throughout Eastern Air Lines to the point where Eastern’s management warned employees that they could face dismissal if caught spreading ghost stories.


While Eastern Airlines publicly denied some of their planes were haunted, they reportedly removed all the salvaged parts from their L-1011 fleet. Over time, the reporting of ghost sightings stopped. An original floor board from Flight 401 remains in the archives at History Miami in South Florida.


The story of the crash and its aftermath was documented first in John G. Fuller’s 1976 book The Ghost of Flight 401, and later in Rob and Sarah Elder’s 1977 book, Crash.
Two made-for-television movies based on the crash were aired in 1978: Crash of Flight 401, aired in October, was based on the Elders’ book, and dramatized the crash, rescue efforts and NTSB investigation; while The Ghost of Flight 401, aired earlier in February, was based on Fuller’s book and focuses more on the ghost sightings surrounding the aftermath.
Pilots-of-Flight-401
Eastern Air Lines CEO (and former Apollo astronaut) Frank Borman called the ghost stories surrounding the crash “garbage”.[37] Eastern considered suing for libel, based on assertions of a cover-up by Eastern executives, but Borman opted not to, feeling a lawsuit would merely provide more publicity for the book.[38] Loft’s widow and children did sue Fuller, for infringement of Loft’s right of publicity, for invasion of privacy, and for intentional infliction of emotional distress; but the lawsuit was dismissed and the dismissal upheld by the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal.[39]


Musician Bob Welch recorded a song on his 1979 album Three Hearts titled “The Ghost of Flight 401”.


The crash also appeared in a Season 5 episode of Mayday (also known as Air Crash Investigation). The episode was titled “Who’s at the Controls?” (In some countries, the title “Fatal Distraction” was used.)


The flight was also mentioned in Season 1 episode 4 (entitled Phantom Traveler) of the television show Supernatural.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Gorgeous Haunted Houses and their Haunted Histories

Sometimes, the most beautiful homes are also the most haunted.
Stately Southern mansions, vibrant Victorians and even well-cared for Colonials can harbor undead inhabitants and boast spine-tingling tales of ghosts, murder and intrigue. Read on to learn about five of America’s loveliest yet most haunted houses below.

The Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House, Copyright Winchester Mystery House

Even with no knowledge of its chilling history, the stately Winchester Mystery House stands out. The quirky Queen Anne-style Victorian, under construction from the late 1800s until the death of its owner in the early 1900s, is made even more eye-catching by its hodgepodge of window shapes, pointed finials, turrets, gables and bold exterior paint. Comprised of over 160 rooms, the gigantic San Jose, California mansion was occupied by Sarah Winchester, widow of William Wirt Winchester (heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune) until her death in 1922.

The House of the Seven Gables

©iStockphoto.com/kickstand

At a glance, the House of the Seven Gables, or the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, is simple and stunning. The dark clapboard siding provides a lovely contrast to the bright gardens, and the many large, Georgian style windows create an incredibly attractive facade for the Salem, Massachusetts house.
Built in 1668, this Colonial-style home is thought to be among the oldest wooden structures in America and is remarkably well-preserved for its 300-plus years. Some might know this house from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel of the same name or the related movies, but it’s also famous for its slew of paranormal activity. Mysterious shadows have been seen in the upper windows, as well as unexplained activity from faucets and lights. Some also say that the ghost of Hawthorne’s cousin, Susanna Ingersoll, who lived in the residence, as well as that of a young boy, still occupy the space.

Ashton Villa

Getty/Buyenlarge

Built in the mid-1800s, Ashton Villa is a stately mansion in Galveston, Texas and is the oldest brick home in the state. Built by businessman James Moreau Brown, the structure is a handsome specimen of the Italianate Villa style, with a symmetrical construction, dramatic eaves and ornate wrought iron railings and columns adorning the front balcony.
Ashton Villa is reported to still be inhabited by one of its previous residents, Bettie Brown, daughter of James Brown. Her once over-the-top personality seems unwilling to fade in the afterlife. People report seeing Bettie in the house’s Gold Room and on the staircase. Aside from that, there are reports of fans turning on and off, furniture with a mind of its own and even ghostly piano music that some attribute to Bettie’s sister, Matilda.

Franklin Castle

Another Queen Anne Victorian, Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio, has been called one of Ohio’s most haunted locations. The imposing stone structure with its turrets, balconies and intricate stone carvings is at once creepy and captivating. With its imposing appearance, it’s not surprising that this home boasts a doleful past, marked by rumors of murder, an arson attack and paranormal happenings.
The home’s story begins in the late 1800s, when it was built for the Tiedemann family. Subsequent owners and visitors would report mysterious occurrences, such as light fixtures moving of their own accord and the voices of crying children. In addition, there have been more sinister discoveries in the home, such as that of human bones hidden in the tower room. As if that weren’t creepy enough, there are tunnels concealed beneath the house that were supposedly the site of murderous acts committed by the home’s first owner.

Myrtles Plantation

Bogdan Oporowski/Wiki Commons

From the outside, this stately St. Francisville, Louisiana house is the picture of elegance and class. The residence features delicate ironwork on a spacious veranda, hand-painted stained glass and an over 300-pound crystal chandelier. General David Bradford built the home in 1796 after fleeing imprisonment for his involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion. Since that time, it’s rumored that the home has been the site of numerous tragic deaths and paranormal occurrences. On more than one occasion, shadowy figures have appeared in the background of photographs taken at the property. Other strange happenings include a piano played by unseen hands, sightings of the ghostly figures of a previous owner’s two children and unexplained handprints on a reportedly haunted mirror.

Learn More: Visit Myrtles Plantation
 

Source:http://www.hgtv.com

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Ghosts & Hauntings

5 Most Common Signs that you’re living in a Haunted House

Do you have a strange and eerily feeling that you could be living in a haunted house? Do you hear footsteps, whispers, screams, and moans when no one is around? Do you feel that someone is watching you from behind? In this article, we will provide you the 5 most common signs that can help you determine if your house is haunted.

According to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), there are signs that you need to consider if you feel you’re living in a haunted house. We will discuss these signs below and you can use them as a guide to find out if ghosts, demons, and other unknown entities live in your house.

5 Signs that your Home could be Haunted

Electronics and Lights Turn On and Off

Ghosts and spirits tend to like lights and electronics. One of the most common signs that you’re living in a Haunted House is the unexplainable on and off electronics and lights.

If you’re happily watching a TV program and suddenly your TV flickers on without you touching the remote control, this could be a sign that there’s a ghost in the living room. However, before you conclude that the there’s a ghost in your house, make sure to check if your TV is in excellent condition. To confirm if some unknown entity is turning on and off the lights or electronics in your home, you must experience it fairly often. You should also check if your appliances and light cables are not malfunctioning. If everything is in the perfect state and you still experience the lights and electronics turning on and off by themselves, then that’s a definite sign of a haunting.

Persistent Baffling Noises and Movement

Based on personal accounts of people who once lived in alleged haunted houses, moving objects, doors banging, footsteps echoing, whispering and screaming are widespread haunting occurrences.  If you suspect your house is haunted, you should hear subtle or even loud unexplainable noises. You should also see objects moving on their own. If you see and hear these things in your place, then there’s no doubt that you’re living in a haunted house.

Sometimes you might not see moving furniture or objects in your house. You might only hear the hinges of your door swinging and upon checking, your door is securely closed. You can also discover a door that was supposed to be closed, but upon inspection, it’s wide open.

For the spooky noises, you can hear screams or someone whispering behind you. These can happen any time of the day, regardless of what you do in your house.

Ghostly Apparitions

An actual encounter with ghosts, spirits or unknown creatures and entities are strong pieces of evidence that your house is haunted. Ghostly apparitions are common to alleged haunted houses as stated by paranormal investigators or people with sixth sense or third eye. However, seeing actual ghosts for ordinary humans like us is a rare phenomenon, so if you see a floating silhouette or a misty entity in your house, that’s a solid proof of a haunting.

Ghosts can take many forms. They can look like normal human beings or just an unrecognizable cloudy and misty shape. They can also appear and disappear in a matter of a few seconds. Also, they can lurk around your house whenever they wish to. You can see them in a mirror or pass through a solid wall. Some of them might be harmless, but other ghosts are in evil or demonic state. Therefore, once you see an actual ghost, it’s best to ask from a religious group, or paranormal authorities.

Feelings of being touched and watched

Feelings of being watched and touched are also common signs that indicate your house is haunted. If you feel like someone is looking at you in a particular area in your home at a specific time, this could only mean a haunting phenomenon.

On the other hand, feelings of being touched are one of the strongest indicators that there’s a spirit or unknown entity in your home. You can feel a light brush on your skin or a tap on your shoulder. You can also experience serious physical assaults, like scratches, slaps or hard push.  This kind of touch is quite disturbing, and you should consider leaving your house right away to prevent any serious injuries.

Temperature Fluctuations from Too Hot or Too Cold

Changes in temperature from to hot or too cold is one of the most common signs that you’re living in a Haunted house. If an area in your house becomes too hot or too cold for no reason, and you feel some heavy or chilling atmosphere, then you’re most likely living with a supernatural being. However, a hot temperature is not as ordinary as the cold temperature occurrence in haunted houses.

In the paranormal world, the changes in cold temperature is called cold spots. Cold spots are areas in your house that you’ll feel an extremely chilly feeling and you’ll likely have goosebumps.

Other signs that indicates you’re living in a haunted house includes peculiar pet behavior, disappearing object phenomenon, and inexplicable shadows. One of the worst sign that we hope you wouldn’t encounter is the body possession. This means, a spirit has taken over your body.

If any of the above signs are present in your home, make sure you consult paranormal experts and your religious sect. They can help you in getting rid of the ghosts or spirits. They can also help cleanse your home from evil entities. In addition, we advise you that before you buy a house, do some research on the house history and previous owners. These are sometimes the key to unexplainable haunting activities in your home.

Interesting links:

https://www.rd.com/culture/haunted-house-signs/

http://www.elledecor.com/life-culture/fun-at-home/a8856/is-my-house-haunted/

https://www.themonastery.org/blog/2017/10/10-signs-your-house-might-be-haunted/

https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/afterlife/5-real-haunted-houses.htm

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/5330927/spooky-signs-house-is-haunted/

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Ghosts & Hauntings

The Ghost That Solved Its Own Murder

THE TRUE STORY OF THE GREENBRIER GHOST – A REMARKABLE CASE IN WHICH THE VICTIM’S SPIRIT TESTIFIED ABOUT ITS OWN VIOLENT DEATH, AND NAMED THE MURDERER!

Her daughter was only 23. Yet Mary Jane Heaster watched through tear-soaked eyes as the body of her young daughter was lowered into the cold ground. It was a gray, dreary day in late January, 1897 as Elva Zona Heaster Shue was laid to rest in the cemetery near Greenbrier, West Virginia.

Her death came much too soon, thought Mary Jane. Too unexpectedly… too mysteriously.

The coroner listed the cause of death as complications from childbirth. But Zona, as she preferred to be called, had not been giving birth when she died. In fact, as far as anyone knew, the woman was not even pregnant. Mary Jane was certain that her daughter’s death was quite unnatural. If only Zona could speak from the grave, she hoped, and explain what had really brought about her untimely passing.

In one of the most remarkable cases on U.S. court records, Zona Heaster Shue did speak from her grave, revealing not only how she died — but at whose hand. Her ghost’s testimony not only named her own murderer, but helped in convicting the culprit in a court of law. It is the only case on U.S. lawbooks in which the testimony from the spirit of a murder victim aided in resolving the crime.

THE MARRIAGE

Just two years before Zona’s death, Mary Jane Heaster had endured another hardship with her daughter.

Zona had given birth to a child out of wedlock — a scandalous event in the late 1800s. The father, whoever he was, did not marry Zona, and so the young woman was in need of a husband. In 1896, Zona chanced to meet Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue. Going by the name Edward, he was newly arrived in Greenbrier, looking to make a new life for himself as a blacksmith.

Upon meeting, Edward and Zona took an instant liking to one another and a courtship began.

Mary Jane, however, was not pleased. Protective of her daughter, especially after her recent difficulty, she did not approve of her Zona’s choice in Edward. There was something about him she didn’t like. He was virtually a stranger, after all. And there was something she didn’t trust… perhaps even something evil that her daughter, blinded by love, could not see. Despite her mother’s protests, however, Zona and Edward were married on October 26, 1896.

THE BODY

Three months passed. On January 23, 1897, an 11-year-old African American boy named Andy Jones entered the Shue home and found Zona lying on the floor. He had been sent there by Edward to ask Zona if she needed anything from the market. He stood for a moment looking at the woman, at first not knowing what to make of the scene. Her body was stretched out straight with her legs together. One arm was at her side and the other resting on her body. Her head was tilted to one side.

At first Andy wondered if the woman was asleep on the floor. He stepped quietly toward her. “Mrs. Shue?” he called softly. Something was not right. The boy’s heart began to race as panic swept over his body.

Something was dreadfully wrong. Andy bolted from the Shue house and rushed home to tell his mother what he had found.

The local physician and coroner, Dr. George W. Knapp, was summoned. He did not arrive at the Shue residence for about an hour, and by that time Edward had already taken Zona’s lifeless body to an upstairs bedroom. When Knapp entered the room, he was astonished to see that Edward had redressed her in her best Sunday clothing — a beautiful dress with a high neck and stiff collar. Edward had also covered her face with a veil.

Obviously, Zona was dead. But how? Dr. Knapp tried to examine the body to determine cause of death, but all the while Edward, crying bitterly — almost hysterically — cradled his dead wife’s head in his arms. Dr. Knapp could find nothing out of the ordinary that would explain the death of what appeared to have been a healthy young woman.

But then he noticed something — a slight discoloration on the right side of her cheek and neck. The doctor wanted to examine the marks, but Edward protested so vehemently that Knapp ended the examination, announcing that poor Zona had died of “an everlasting faint.” Officially and for the record, he inexplicably wrote that the cause of death was “childbirth.” Just as mysterious was his failure to notify the police about the strange marks on her neck that he was unable to examine.

THE WAKE AND THE GHOST

Mary Jane Heaster was beside her self with grief. She felt that Zona’s marriage to Edward would come to a bad end… but not this. Were her apprehensions about Edward more dreadful than she imagined? Were her motherly instincts correct in not trusting this stranger?

Her suspicions deepened at Zona’s wake. Edward was acting strangely; not exactly like a husband in mourning. Some of the neighbors attending the wake noticed it, too.

One moment he seemed grief-struck, another moment highly agitated and nervous. He had placed a pillow on one side of Zona’s head and a rolled up cloth on the other, as if keeping it propped in place. He refused to allow anyone near her. Her neck was covered by a large scarf that Edward claimed was her favorite and that he wanted her buried in it. At the end of the wake, as the coffin was being prepared to be taken to the cemetery, several people noticed an odd looseness of Zona’s head.

Zona was buried. Despite all of the strangeness surrounding her daughter’s death, Mary Jane Heaster had no proof of any kind that Edward was somehow to blame, or that Zona’s death was in any way unnatural. The suspicions and the questions might have been buried along with Zona and eventually forgotten had not some unexplained phenomena begun to take place.

Mary Jane had taken the rolled up white sheet from Zona’s coffin before it was sealed.

And now, days after the funeral, she tried to return it to Edward. In keeping with his peculiar behavior, he refused to take it. Mary Jane brought it back home with her, deciding to keep it as a memory of her daughter. She noticed. however, that it had a strange, indefinable odor. She filled a basin with water in which to wash the sheet.

When she submerged the sheet, the water turned red, the color bleeding from the sheet. Mary Jane jumped back in astonishment. She took a pitcher and scooped some of the water from the basin. It was clear.

The once-white sheet was now stained pink, and nothing Mary Jane would do could remove the stain. She washed it, boiled it and hung it in the sun. The stain remained. It was a sign, Mary Jane thought. A message from Zona that her death was far from natural.

If only Zona could tell her what happened and how. Mary Jane prayed that Zona would come back from the dead and reveal the circumstances of her death. Mary Jane made this prayer every day for weeks… and then her prayer was answered.

Cold winter winds swirled around the streets of Greenbrier. As the early darkness crept into Mary Jane Heaster’s home every night, she lit her oil lamps and candles for light, and stoked the wood stove for warmth. From out of this dim atmosphere, so Mary Jane claimed, the spirit of her beloved Zona appeared to her on four nights. During these spectral visits, Zona told her mother how she had died.

Edward was cruel and abusive to her, Zona said. And on the day of her death his violence went too far. Edward became irrationally angry at her when she told them she had no meat for his dinner.

He was overcome with rage and lashed out at his wife. He savagely attacked the defenseless woman and broke her neck. To prove her account, the ghost slowly turned its head completely around at the neck.

THE PROOF

Zona’s ghost had confirmed her mother’s worst suspicions. It all fit: Edward’s strange behavior and the way he attempted to protect his dead wife’s neck from movement and inspection. He had murdered the poor woman! Mary Jane took her story to John Alfred Preston, the local prosecutor. Preston listened patiently, if skeptically, to Mrs. Heaster’s story of the telltale ghost. He certainly had his doubts about it, but there was enough that was unusual or suspicious about the case, and he decided to pursue it.

Preston ordered Zona’s body exhumed for an autopsy. Edward protested the action, but had no power to stop it.

He began to show signs of great stress. He said publicly that he knew he would be arrested for the crime, but that “they will not be able to prove I did it.” Prove what?, Edward’s friends wondered, unless he knew she had been murdered.

THE EVIDENCE

The autopsy revealed — just as the ghost has said — that Zona’s neck was broken and her windpipe crushed from violent strangulation. Edward Shue was arrested on charge of murder.

As he awaited trial in jail, Edward’s rather unsavory background came to light. He had served time in jail on a previous occasion, being convicted of stealing a horse. Edward had been married twice before, each marriage suffering under his violent temper.

His first wife divorced him after he had angrily thrown all of her possessions out of their house. His second wife wasn’t so lucky; she died under mysterious circumstances of a blow to the head. Once again, Mary Jane’s intuition about this man was verified. He was evil.

And maybe he was a bit of a psychopath. His jailkeepers and cellmates reported that Edward seemed to be in good spirits while in jail. In fact, he bragged that it was intention to eventually have seven wives. Being only 35 years old, he said, he should easily be able to realize his ambition. Apparently, he was certain that he would not be convicted of Zona’s death. What evidence was there, after all?

The evidence against Edward may have only been circumstantial at best. But he didn’t count on the testimony of an eyewitness to the murder — Zona.

THE TRIAL

Spring had come and gone, and it was now late June when Edward’s trial for murder came before a jury.

The prosecutor lined up several people to testify against Edward, citing his peculiar behavior and his unguarded comments. But would that be enough to convict him? There were no other witnesses to the crime, and Edward had not been placed at or near the scene at the time the murder allegedly took place.

Taking the stand in his defense, he vehemently denied the charges.

What of Zona’s ghost? The court had ruled that prosecuting testimony about the ghost and what it claimed was inadmissible. But then Edward’s defending lawyer made a mistake that perhaps sealed his client’s fate. He called Mary Jane Heaster to the stand. In an attempt, perhaps, to show that the woman was unbalanced — maybe even insane — and prejudicial against his client, he brought up the matter of Zona’s ghost.

Seated on the witness stand in front of a packed courtroom and an attentive jury, Mary Jane told the story of how Zona’s ghost appeared to her and accused Edward of the foul deed — that her neck had been “squeezed off at the first verterbrae.”

Whether or not the jury took Mary Jane’s — or rather Zona’s — testimony seriously is not known. But they did hand down a verdict of guilty on the charge of murder. Normally, such a conviction would have brought a sentence of death, but because of the circumstantial nature of the evidence, Edward was sentenced to life in prison. He died on March 13, 1900 in the Moundsville, W.V. penitentiary.

THE QUESTIONS

Was the jury swayed, even a little, by the story of Zona’s ghost?

Was there even a ghost at all? Or was Mary Jane Heaster so convinced that Edward Shue had murdered her daughter that she made up the story to help convict him? In either case, without the story of Zona’s ghost, Mary Jane may never have had the courage to approach the prosecutor, and Edward may never have been brought to trial. And Zona’s ghost would have remained unavenged.

A highway historical marker near Greenbrier commemorates Zona and the unusual court case surrounding her death:

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 ghost helped convict a murderer.

Source: Thoughtco.com

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