Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zona Heaster Shue - The Greenbrier Ghost

In early October 1896, 23 year old Zona Heaster met Trout Shue and instantly fell in love with the powerful 35 year old blacksmith. Though her mother vehemently objected, within weeks the two were married. Three months later Zona was dead. Her death was ruled to as accidental but rumors of murder persisted. As far as her mother, Mary Jane Heaster, was concerned the rumors were verified when Zona’s ghost appeared to her four nights in a row and told her of Trout’s cruelty. Mrs. Heaster's persistent telling of this story prompted authorities to exhume Zona’s body, and find that her neck had been broken. Trout Shue had been accused by the Greenbrier Ghost.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Smuttynose Murders

Life on Smuttynose Island, in the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire, was hard in the 1870's. The winter months were bitter cold and the winter storms were devastating. Maren Hontvet, her sister Karen Christensen, and their sister-in-law Anethe Christensen dreaded the loneliness and isolation of the island when the men of the house were away fishing. The night of March 6, 1873, with the men away, the women were prepared to be alone in the cold house, but nothing could have prepared them for the arrival, by rowboat, of a deranged axe murderer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Shooting of Diamond Bessie

A strange couple arrived in Jefferson, Texas on January 17, 1877 and checked into a hotel under the name “A. Monroe and wife.” He was a jewelry dealer and, with her ostentatious display of diamond rings, she could have been modeling his wares – but the diamonds were all her own. In Jefferson she was known as “Diamond Bessie.” On January 23, “A. Monroe” left Jefferson by train, alone. Two weeks later, a woman’s body, shot through the head, was found decomposing just outside of Jefferson. It was Diamond Bessie, but her diamonds were gone. When it was learned that “A. Monroe” was actually Abraham Rothschild, son of one of the richest men in Cincinnati, it was the beginning of four years of legal wrangling that Texas would never forget.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Theo Durrant - The Demon of the Belfry

Theo Durrant, Superintendent of Sunday School at San Francisco’s Emanuel Baptist Church, was seen entering the church with Blanche Lamont on April 3, 1895, the day she disappeared. Though several people had seen them together that day, Durant was not a suspect in her disappearance. But when Minnie Williams, another girl he had courted, was found murdered and mutilated in the church library and the corpse of Blanch Lamont was found in the bell tower, the innocent Sunday school teacher was recast as “The Demon of the Belfrey.”