Elva Zona Heaster was found dead on January 23, 1897. When the doctor and coroner arrived an hour later, her husband, Edward Shue, had moved her body to the bedroom and dressed her for burial.
He dressed her in a high-necked dress with a stiff collar, placed a veil over her face, and covered her neck with her scarf. When the doctor and coroner arrived, Shue was sobbing so hard that the body was only given a brief examination.
The only thing determined was that there was bruising on the neck. Shue wouldn’t let the doctor look any closer. Elva's parents were told about her death, and this is where the story gets stranger.
Four weeks after the funeral, Elva appeared to her mother in a dream. She said that Shue was a cruel man who abused her and had broken her neck when she didn't cook meat for dinner. The mother convinced the prosecutor to exhume Elva's body and perform an autopsy. The autopsy confirmed that her neck had been broken and her windpipe smashed.
Shue was brought to trial for murder on June 22, 1897, and Elva's mother was the star witness. Shue's lawyer tried to prove Mrs. Heaster unreliable, but she wouldn't waver in her recounting of the ghost story. The judge tried to get the jury to discount the ghost testimony, but it was difficult to poke any holes in it, because Elva's mother was so consistent in it.
Because the autopsy had revealed that she had actually died of a broken neck, the story was considered very credible, and Shue was convicted to life in prison.