Meet Chicago's most famous ghost: Resurrection Mary

Meet Chicago's most famous ghost: Resurrection Mary

Google ‘Chicago’s most famous ghost’ and every websites says Resurrection Mary. This young apparition has been appearing along Archer Avenue and in the area’s most hopping dance halls since the 1930s. Dozens of people have reported seeing her, and all of the stories seem to have a similar theme.

The story of Resurrection Mary is a typical vanishing hitchhiker scenario: The first report of Mary’s existance was from Jerry Palus in 1939. Jerry was at one of his favorite dance halls when he noticed a beautiful blonde woman. They danced all night, and she asked him to give her a ride home down Archer Avenue. She got out in front of Resurrection Cemetery and disappeared.

Another report was recorded by Suburban Trib columnist Bill Geist. He interviewed a cab driver in 1979 who claimed that he picked up a young woman in a white party dress and matching shoes. As he drove down Archer she told him to stop the car. When he did, she disappeared.

Several other men have reported giving a ride to a young women in a white dress who instructed them to drive her down Archer, then disappeared when they get close to the cemetary. There have also been dozens of reports made by people who either had to slam on the brakes because a young girl in a white dress ran out in front of the car or who have seen her walking down the middle of the road.

In 1976 a couple reported seeing a young girl who appeared to be locked inside the cemetery. When police went to search for her they found that the bars on the front gate had been burned; but the burns were shaped like hand prints. The cemetery denied it was anything but a maintenance accident and eventually sawed off the bars to stop the flood of people who came to see it.

So who was Resurrection Mary? Nobody is really sure. Some people think she was Mary Bregovy who died in a 1934 car accident. (Although the ghost has always been said to have shoulder-length blonde hair, and Mary Bregovy had short dark hair.)

Some people think she was Anna ‘Marija’ Norkus who died in a 1927 car accident on her way from the Oh Henry Ballroom.

Whoever she is, next time you’re driving out on Archer Road, be on the lookout for a young girl in a white dress. But I wouldn’t stop to give her a ride…

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