Shelley was diagnosed with nymphomania. She began masturbating at the age of five. Her mother tried to curb this behavior by forcing her to wear mittens. She felt so happy touching herself that she couldn't stop. Eventually, she ran away to live a fast jazz-filled life and met a bass player whom she eventually married. However, after their happiness died down, her husband expected her to stay at home and be a doting wife while he openly cheated on her with other women. She took revenge by having sex with two Navy sailors, which her husband found. In retaliation, he reported her alleged "nymphomania" to the authorities and signed to have her locked up in Briarcliff. Like Grace, she proves to be a challenge for Sister Jude, even referred to as the disciplinarian's antagonist.
She is loathed by Dr. Arden, who deems her a whore, as he loves only innocent-like women. However, when he catches her trying to escape during the Nor'easter, he forces her into his office and attempts to rape her, but she laughs when she sees his small penis (possibly mutilated or deformed). In anger, he knocks her out and amputates her legs. She later manages to escape, but when Monsignor Howard finds her, he smothers her and kills her.
Personality and Appearance
Shelley is consumed with lust and uses sexual favors to manipulate Briarcliff staff and inmates. She rebels against the double standard that labels women as "sluts" for desiring sexual gratification as much as men.
She has short blonde hair, shaved on one side (which would have been a full shave if it weren't for Lana and Sister Mary Eunice interrupting them) and deeply-set blue eyes.
- Welcome to Briarcliff — Shelley is first seen having her head shaved by Sister Jude as punishment for her behavior. It's left unfinished when they're interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Sister Mary Eunice and Lana Winters. Later, she attempts to seduce Kit Walker in the common room. During lockdown, she is caught by Lana, fellating an asylum employee.
- Tricks and Treats — Shelley attempts to seduce Dr. Arthur Arden after watching him return to Briarcliff with Sister Mary Eunice, whom she nicknames "Our Lady of Perpetual Virginity", but Arden rebuffs her advances and calls her a "whore".
- Nor'easter —Shelley attempts to escape from Briarcliff with Grace, Lana, and Kit, but is caught by Dr. Arden, who takes her to his lab. She resists his attempts to rape her and is incapacitated after mocking his penis. Later, Shelley wakes up and is horrified to discover that Dr. Arden has surgically amputated her legs to keep her from escaping.
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 1 - Shelley continues to be tortured by Dr. Arden, who injects her with a substance that he claims will make her "live forever". Near the end of the episode, "Anne Frank" discovers a heavily-mutated Shelley in a closet in Dr. Arden's office. Shelley begs Anne to kill her.
- I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 - An even more mutated Shelley is dragged out of Arden's office by Sister Mary Eunice to keep Arden's experiments from being discovered by the police. Mary Eunice dumps Shelley in a local elementary school, where she frightens the children and teacher alike. Sister Mary Eunice then lies to Dr. Arthur Arden, saying she had left her in the woods.
- The Origins of Monstrosity - After being discovered in the schoolyard, Shelley is taken to a local hospital where she is tested positively for tuberculosis and is on her deathbed. The condition that she is found in, as well as her diagnosis in this era when the disease has all but been eradicated has made headlines. When Monsignor Timothy Howard is called from Briarcliff to read her last rites to this patient; he is shocked and disgusted when he recognizes her as Shelley, knowing that this must be the work of Dr. Arden. The Monsignor puts an end to Shelley's suffering by strangling her with his rosary.
- To Sr. Jude: "You think I'm full of shame and regret for what I've done now, Sister? You can shave me bald as a cue ball and I'll still be the hottest tamale in this joint."
- To Kit: "Oooh! Sr. Jude is on the warpath. I can't make the welts go away, but I can make you forget you have them... A salve can't cure you like I can. You need a session in the hydrotherapy room with me."
- To Anne: "Kill me."
- See also: Shelley/Media