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Episode 39: Take the Stand


For as long as humans have lived together in community, there has been the need for crimes and disputes to be settled by some form of court. Many of those trials have been fair, while others have been unjust. Some, though, have been downright weird.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Aren't you twenty? Fourth of fourteen o, eight, a french court, sentenced a murderer to death, execution. She had entered the home of a neighbor. It found a four month old child inside alone and unattended. Although she never disclosed her reason for doing so. She killed the child right there in the house after her trial, she was more the prison to beheld until her execution, the others were imprisoned there most certainly jeered at her. They called her name's. Yes, they were hardened criminals, the killer child, even they were appalled The prison, however, treated heard the same as those men by charge. Her family, the same rate for her daily meals. Equality was a rare thing for her Missy.
on July seventeenth she was guided to the platform. The rope was placed around her neck across was most likely gathered that day to wash the spectacle like the crew Those inside the prison- they too must have marked her and shouted insults. Then, after the trap, door snapped open and she plummeted to her death. It was over. History is full of these stories. Criminal goes to trial. Injustice wins the day was odd about the trial of fourteen await, though, was the suspect. because she was in a local woman or even a relative of the child. She killed. She wasn't even human. You see she was a pig literally a farm animal tried in a court of law. It is to be put to death and then executed on the gallows three weeks later
during the long history of criminal trials spanning cultures and centuries all manner of studies have entered the courtroom, as unusual as it might sound to put livestock on trial. Humans have been guilty of worse. You see, sometimes even the dead get to testify. I Marin Monkey, and this is lore Edward was a stranger when he rolled into town in the autumn of eighteen. Ninety six he claimed to have come. from Pocahontas County to the north. But whether or not he was a mystery to everyone in town. He brought unnecessary skill. Edward was a blacksmith and he quickly found work in a local shop own by June.
crookshanks within days of arriving one of the local women caught his eye. It so Edward Set his sights on winning her affection, Elba was young and beautiful in the locals. Couldn't really blame the newcomer for falling head over heels for her for her part, though, the feelings mutual, despite the fact that Edward was at least a decade older than Elba within a matter of weeks The couple was married. The first few months of their marriage were mostly uneventful, although it was later said that the young bride had become pregnant shortly after their wedding. The local physician had been treating her for a slight complications with her pregnancy since the first of the new year, most of the people and I had no idea, it seems. Elba was good at keeping secrets
to new and of January twenty third of eighteen. Ninety seven with snow on the ground and a chill in the air Andy Jones stepped into the warmth of the blacksmith shop. He was just eleven years old, but he worked for the newlyweds as an errand boy skipper when they needed him, it was a common thing to see his small shape. Darting up and down the road running. judges from wife to husband and back again We are told any that he was going to start by the market before coming home at the end of the day, and so he instructed the boy to go and ask Elba. If there was anything else she needed him to purchase. This was before text messaging before the telephone for email. So Andy in his own way, was a pre. Modern sms service The boy ran off and when he arrived at the couples house you let himself in when he did. He was horrified to find lined face down on the floor at the foot of the stairs one hand was pin beneath her chest
While the other arm was stretched out in a way the house was deftly quiet at first, he thought she was sleeping He called out to her ass. He approached but stopped when he noticed the odd bend in her neck. even to his young immature mind, something seemed wrong rather than moving closer back slowly away and then turned and bolted home once there he told mother, everything he saw, moms always have a way of knowing what to do. It seems she quickly headed out the door to call on the town. Doktor George Nap and took Andy author, it took them nearly an hour to track him down and bring him back to the blacksmiths home, but when they arrived, there was no body on the floor of the hall. Elba was just gone. It might have been easy to write off as a prank. certainly in our own day and age, with tales of the boy who cried Wolf is always is.
All suspicion. That unbelievable stories might actually just be lies. Thankfully, though, they the sound of sobbing from the second floor of the home, Andy his mom politely let themselves out without your nap, headed, upstairs Third, the main bedroom to find elbows lifeless body laid out on the bed with Edward seated beside her. He apparently, Home after Andy left and discovered his dead wife on the floor. After carrying her up to their room, he had changed her into a dark, Formal dress with a high collar and long sleeves and then arranged her for burial. He was in tears. cradling, her head and sobbing, when Doktor Nap entered the room, Edward didn't look up, attempting to be as respectful as he could of the man's loss, the doktor quietly inspected, Elvis body for anything that might
hint at the cause of her death every recently helped her with some other medical issues was familiar enough with her current state of health. At first glance, You felt it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but he wanted to be thorough. It was only when he reached for her head and neck that Edward stirred he pushed the doctors hands away and continued to gently run his fingers through her hair sobbing deeply entire time. It was clear to doktor nap that the man simply needed to me picking up his things. He lead himself out exited the house. Edward grieve. The loss of his young bride, Doktor Nap, went back to his office and recorded what little information he'd been able to ascertain enlisted her cause of death as- and I quote,
lasting faint before amending it to add the phrase. Complications from pregnancy life was hard in rural West Virginia at the end of the nineteenth century. That much was certain without your nab. Didn't know, however, was how much harder it had been for Elvis Shoe the burial didn't go as planned. It began with Edwards rather unorthodox appearance. At the undertaker hours before the graveside service, he insisted on helping the undertaker position, his wife in the coffin and then placed one of her favorite scarves around her neck.
He added to other items of clothing, pressing them in on either side of her head. He said it was so she could rest easier at the funeral. He continued to act in odd ways. He paced beside the casket entire time. He stooped low every now and then to adjust our clothing to make things perfect and he wept continuously. As he did this, it was the sort of panicked, nervous fussing you might expect from a distraught parent. Man was clearly grieved. He and Elba had been newlyweds after all, his loss so close to the emotion. Hi of their wedding. Well, it must have been crippling for him in every one seem to understand that everyone that is except Mary, Hester, elbows, mother, Mary, didn't trust Edward. It may be that distrust was simply fuelled by her dislike. Give the man, after all, he had rolled into town a total stranger,
older man with a mysterious past and taken her daughter from her. Maybe she just had issues of her own the west, or maybe mothers intuition is always right. No one knew for sure they just knew she hated the guy Mary Hester wrestled with this uneasy in four weeks, Jan trouble sleeping and understandably, she found it difficult to move on to take a much needed deep breath and press forward through life and, according to her testimony, she also pay It was a source of solace for her and probably one of the ways that she was grieving, the loss of her daughter every day and every night she prayed for the truth, but mostly she prayed for one specific there. She wanted her daughter to return and tell her her side of the story.
sure all of us long for ones we lost, we love one more, a cup of coffee with them when we're hug. One word conversation, I know first hand just how hard it is to live but Mary wanted her daughter to literally come back and she prayed hard for it every single day, and then it happened. Mary told others that had happened over the course of four nights, each night revealing more truth becoming more visual and more real. She said in her daughter whom she had always called Zono, came into her room and spoke to her first as a ball of light later, as a fully formed body, according to marry. This was no dream. It was a vision, her daughter, go to her that Edward had killed her after months of physical abuse. There been an argument that final day and Edward had strangled her right there at the foot of the stairs breaking her neck high up beneath the skull once the store,
Was told Mary said her daughter vanished once again what suspicion she might have had. Prior to this vision, Mary Hester quickly became a woman on emission. She went to the local prosecutor, a man named John Preston and told him the story at first. There wasn't much. He was able Do the case was closed and a ghostly vision was far from being a valid reason to open it back up again, but he wanted to help. Maybe he told her if there is something new some new piece of information that could help call the official cause of death into question. It might justified digging deeper Mary agreed in John pressing got to work Not being a friend or relative of elvers Preston didn't actually attend her funeral. When he started to ask around though people who had been there started to share interesting observations. Edwards I'd be here you're around the coffin positioning.
Clothing around the area of the neck and had his insistence to never leave her side. All of it smelled a bit odd to him as an outsider. Pressing, took his suspicions to doktor nap and asked the man if he'd say any unusual details when he examined Elvis body the afternoon that she was discovered at First nap was defensive and stood by his work by his medical opinion. We ve been there before those moments. When we know we might have made a mistake, but we refuse to admit it. Doctor nap tried to make one of those pride stands that day, but Preston refused to let the matter rest and eventually the physician caved in mental. the truth. Yes, he had examined her, but Edward had made a complete examination impossible. It is to protective to territorial nap admitted that he hadn't been able to fully examined her neck and that omission had haunted him ever since,
and that was the key they'd been looking for. Those details were enough to reopen the case and with it Elvers Zono Hester is grave. Doktor nap was assisted by two other physicians who came to town to help with the exit And after the coffin was set up in the local schoolhouse, they opened the lid. Where they found inside changed everything Elvis neck was badly bruised. It wasn't an oversight by doktor nap, though sometimes bruising happens beneath the skin, and it's only after death at the marks rise to the surface, and here they were. These marks were damning, clear finger impressions on both sides of the three
The doctors than conducted an autopsy on Elvis body and discovered what the marks hinted at her windpipe had been crushed. Ligaments had been torn and the vertebrae at the base of her skull had been completely displaced. Elvis death had been no accident. Some one had strangled her gripping her throat until the physical trauma and in her life, the first not on everyone's mine, was that Edward had killed her. That was quickly tempered by more sober thoughts. There was no proof Tine Edward to the murder of his wife, no evidence that pointed definitively to him. Yes, there were finger marks, but this fingers could have belonged to anyone right. On the other hand, Mary
Hester knew all about the cause of death. Before the exhumation she claimed that her knowledge came to her through and other worldly vision that her deceased daughter actually step through the veil between life and death and revealed the truth to her. But no one really believe that did they marry, it seems, was more of a suspect and Edward was, and that didn't sit well with pressed him hoped that our vision would be dismissed for the insanity than it was. It was just crazy enough to avoid suspicion the help it Longo. He needed to know more about the other suspect, and so he began to investigate Edward Shoes passed when he found the shocking Edward Shoe. It turns out was
new name. His real name was Erasmus scribbling shoe, although many who knew him prior to his days in West Virginia simply called him trout and trout, it seems had quite passed and, most importantly, Elba hadn't been his first wife or even his second she'd been his third. The first marriage was in eighteen. Eighty, five to one Ellie Cutler even had a daughter together, but divorce. In eighteen. Eighty, nine, when Edward was sent to prison for stealing a horse, John Preston actually manage to track her down and interview her, and she was quick to tell him about how abusive and violent Edward had been toward her. After getting out of prison. Edward married. in time in eighteen. Ninety four, but she died within a year of the wedding rename was Lucy trip. Preston was unable to track down a cause of death, but there were stories. There were always stories, and these stories spoke of how Lucy had been killed by Edward who vanished from town
short while later at the time. The rumours had been dismissed. Death even among the youth was not uncommon, tragic, yes, but it happened. Now, though, with a third wife and grave raised all sorts of questions. that was enough to arrest Edward. His trial began on June twenty second of eighteen, ninety seven, although the persecution lack the physical evidence to connect into the death of Elba. They built their case on his string of marriages and specifically on the death of Lucy trip. There was a pattern: they told the jury and that pattering should be proof enough. Edward Shoe, they declared was a cold blooded killer. The jury found him guilty rather than the death penalty that everyone expected Edward was sentenced to life in prison.
This didn't sit well with some on July eleven, while shoe was sitting in the county jail waiting to be transported to prison mob of nearly Thirty angry man gathered outside of town. They were armed with guns and a brand new rope tied into a noose thanks to attend from a local farmer who saw the men gathering the sheriff was able to keep Edward safe. He rushed him out of the jail and into a hiding place until the chaos blew over and then, as promised, shoe was delivered to his new home at the West Virginia state penitentiary. he died there. Three years later, when a wave of pneumonia and measles swept through the prison, Mary Hester died. Thirteen years later at peace, with her role in the trial.
I doubt we could ever know for sure if Mary Hussars ghostly visitor was really her daughter back from the grave Very well have been nothing more than a personification of her superstition and intuition, or perhaps it was a projection of grief and loss and pain will never know for sure. But the effect was real enough. But when Mary Hester took the stand in court that J in June of Eighteen- ninety seven John pressed her was careful to avoid any mention of her vision. because he didn't want her to sound like she had prior knowledge of the cause of her daughters, death, but mostly because it made the woman some crazy. She believed the ghost of her daughter appeared in her bedroom and told her the true story. There was probably enough to discredit her as a character. Witness against Edward Shoe and Preston wanted to avoid that
at all costs. The defence attorney noticed the omission though, and decided to use it against them. While Mary was still on the witness stand. He grilled her about the vision she claimed to have experienced. I've read the court trance I've read his insistence that it had been Nothing more than a dream that she'd been exhausted, obsessed and overwhelmed with her loss. Thankfully, though, Mary stuck to her guns, it was a vision, not a dream. She said she'd been fully awake when it happened and it had really happened and the judge allowed the testimony to stand so when the jury retreated to make their decision, they did so with a ghost story as a piece of the evidence it took them less than an hour to reach a verdict, grave, it seems
can't always done justice. Sometimes folklore creeps into our lives and pushes us in the direction. We never thought we go. over the centuries, its driven people to murder the steel to abuse and to build social rules that oppress certain types of people. Folklore in that way is often an excuse for bad behaviour. But folklore is also like a jam. We can hold it up to the light and turn it in watched. The light play off dozens of facets, The story of Mary, Hester and Edward Shoe reveals the hopeful side of folklore, giving us all a glimpse of the power and the sway, and it still commands, Where is it was this was a moment where folklore took the stand in a court of law where belief had weight and
supernatural world, at least for a few moments, entered the public opinion and actually meant something. Yes, folklore can transform people into monsters, occasionally, though, its empowered us to dig deeper and find the truth This episode of law was researched, written and produced by me. Aaron monkey lore is much More than upon guess, there's a book series in bookstores around the country and online, the second season of the Amazon Prime Television show was recently released, check them both out. If you want more lore in your life by also make two other upon guests, Erin, monkeys, cabinet of curiosities and unobserved, and I think you'd enjoy both each Monica.
floors. Other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dives into a single topic. You can learn about both of those shows in everything else, going on all over in one central place the world of lore dot com. Slash now and you can also follow the show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search for lore podcast, all one word and then click that follow button. When you do say hi, I like it when people say hi and as always, thanks for listening.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.