This ghost returns to provide the living with hints to a mystery with the hope that the living can help solve the mystery. The mystery often has something to do with the death of the ghost, such as an unsolved murder. The ghost hopes to expose the unknown murderer. Other times this ghost is simply trying to reveal the location of a hidden object such as a lost family heirloom.
As a way of providing hints, these ghosts will appear to the people that they wish to share knowledge. The clues can be subtle or obvious depending on how much knowledge the ghost has about the mystery and how much paranormal influence the ghost can control. These ghosts divulge information that no living person would know. An elusive-mystery ghost can seem bitter and frustrated that their death remains unsolved. For unknown reasons, the ghost seems unable to haunt the murderer directly so instead they point investigators in the right direction. Once the mystery is solved, the ghost is free to stop haunting.
Story of an Elusive Mystery
Elva Zona Heaster was born in Greenbrier, West Virginia, in 1873. She lived with her mother, Mary Jane Robinson Heaster, for most of her young life. A man named Eramus Stribbling Trout, Edward as he was called, came to Greenbrier to work as a blacksmith. Zona and Edward met, fell in love and were quickly married.
A few months later, a boy that Edward sent to the house to see if Zona needed anything from the store found her dead inside her home. Zona’s body was stretched across the floor. The local doctor was immediately called to the scene but the doctor did not arrive for nearly an hour. Before the doctor arrived, Edward came home and carried his wife’s body to an upstairs bedroom where he redressed her with a high-collared dress. He also placed a veil over Zona’s face. The doctor showed up and tried to examine Zona but Edward was at her side holding her head and weeping. The doctor wanted to conduct a more thorough examination but Edward became aggressive. The doctor was forced to stop his examination and he listed Zona’s cause of death as an “everlasting faint.”
Zona’s body was laid out in a wake. Friends, family and neighbors came to pay their respects to the family and say their final goodbyes to Zona, but Edward would not allow anyone to get close to her body. He had tied a large scarf around her neck and told everyone that it had been her favorite. He also placed a pillow on one side of Zona’s head so that she could “rest easier.”
Mary Jane, Zona’s mother, went home and prayed that her daughter would come back from the dead and reveal the truth. On four consecutive nights, Zona’s ghost appeared to her mother at her bedside and explained that Edward had murdered her. Zona’s ghost revealed that Edward was an abusive husband and in a fit of rage, he had attacked her and broken her neck.
Mary Jane took this information to the local prosecutor. There were already numerous rumors circulating that Edward had killed Zona. The prosecutor decided that it was time to have Zona’s body exhumed and reexamined. The autopsy revealed that Zona’s neck had been broken and her windpipe had been crushed. The cause of death was changed to murder by strangulation. Edward was arrested. The murder trial revealed Edward’s shady past. He had been arrested several times for theft and he had been married twice before. Edward’s second wife had died under mysterious circumstances and there were strong suspicions that Edward had murdered her also.
Mary Jane’s ghost story was ruled inadmissible by the judge. The defense attorney attempting to show that Mary Jane was emotionally unstable and looking for someone to blame made the mistake of bringing up the ghost during questioning. The door had been opened. The judge allowed the jury to hear the full story of Zona’s ghost. The jury believed the ghost story and found Edward guilty. He was sentenced to life in prison. Before Edward reached the Moundville state prison, a lynch mob captured and killed him. This case remains the only case in US judicial history where the testimony of a ghost convicted a murderer.