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Ghost of Chicago (Ressurection Mary)

Ghost of Chicago (Ressurection Mary)

Resurrection Mary

One of the Midwest's, and America's, favorite ghost stories is the tale of Resurrection Mary, the vanishing hitchhiker. The cemetery, located in Justice, Illinois has been home to this famous spirit since the 1930's.


One cold Winter night around 1934, a young girl was killed in an accident coming home from the O. Henry Ballroom (now Willowbrook Ballroom) on Archer Avenue in Justice, a southern suburb of Chicago. Her name was Mary and many believe that she may have been a young Polish girl named Mary Bregavy, although her exact identity is still unknown. The girl was buried in Resurrection Cemetery, dressed in her favorite gown and wearing the same dancing shoes she had worn on her final date.

She rested peacefully for the next five years, but in 1939 a cab driver picked up a young girl on Archer Avenue wearing a white gown. It was a snowy January night, but the girl was not wearing a coat. She jumped in the front door of the cab and sat by the driver. She gave him instructions to get her home, saying that he needed to go north on Archer. Suddenly, she told him to stop and the driver looked out the window to where she had pointed. He turned back to the passenger seat and saw that the girl had vanished. . .and the door had never opened. The cab was directly in front of Resurrection Cemetery.

Over the years, sightings of Mary have been frequent. Many young men even claim to have picked her up and taken her dancing with them. Some very reliable witnesses say they have kissed her and found her lips chilled with cold. As they take her home, she always disappears when they reach Resurrection Cemetery.

One night in 1977, a passing motorist saw Mary holding onto the bars of the cemetery gate. He called the police, thinking a girl was trapped inside of the locked cemetery. Investigators found no one inside when they arrived but two of the bars in the gate were bent apart and small hand prints were etched into the iron. Supervisors at the cemetery had the sections of the gate cut out to keep the curiosity seekers away. They were embarrassed into welding them back into place a year later. Between the time they were removed and then replaced, the bars were analyzed by a lab for trickery. It was determined that on one would have made those hand prints without applying extremely high amounts of heat. The indention can still be seen in the gate today (see photo at beginning of this section).

As the years have passed, sightings of Mary have continued. Cab drivers, motorists, reputable witnesses like police officers and ministers, and ghost hunters have reported the spirit as she walks along the side of the road or vanishes from the interior of moving automobiles. She has become one of the most famous ghosts of all time. Does she still haunt the gates and roadsides near Resurrection Cemetery? Here is your chance to find out.

Resurrection Cemetery is located along Archer Avenue in Justice, Illinois. Follow 95th Street to Roberts Road, which goes north to Archer. The cemetery is located at 7600 South Archer Avenue. This street will also take you to Mary's favorite haunt, the Willowbrook Ballroom.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
Thanks to Ghosts of the Prairie

Other Resurrection Hauntings -"the Driverless Hearse"

You may have thought we left Resurrection Cemetery behind when we said good-bye and happy haunting to Resurrection Mary, but we’re back again with a different apparition. Resurrection Mary has become such a well-known sighting now-even appearing on national television-that another ghostly phenomenon that occurs near her home cemetery is all but forgotten.

This apparition involves a driverless hearse-and old-time vintage horse-drawn hearse that is seen rushing out of the gates of Resurrection Cemetery and dashing wildly down Archer Avenue. Oddly enough, its destination is another cemetery: St. James of Sag Cemetery which was in use earlier in the 1900s.

Although it may seem odd for a hearse to rush from one cemetery to another-maybe he had taken a burial to the wrong graveyard-you also have to take into account that the vehicle is driverless. Maybe the ghost horse was simply following the route it knew best.

Many people have been startled by this odd sight as well as by peculiar occurrences at the huge mausoleum that stands on the grounds of Resurrection Cemetery. Frequently in the middle of the night organ playing has been heard and the lights in part of the building begin flickering wildly. When authorities are called to the scene there is never anyone there or any logical explanation such as faulty wiring or an electrical storm for the behavior of the lights.

But there’s even more. Another manifestation is associated with this general area-the Sag Bridge ghost. It may even be the same driverless hearse that appears to bolt from Resurrection Cemetery and is merely being seen at another point on its journey crossing the Sag Bridge on Route 171.

At any rate, the vision was first seen by two visiting musicians from Chicago who were in Lemont, Illinois, to give a performance at the St. James of Sag parish church. The sound of hoofbeats awoke then n the middle of the night but when they went to the window to check on the noise they didn’t see any horses. What they did see, however, was a black-haired woman dressed in white who was floating down the middle of the street. However, the horses that had been making the clatter then appeared, pulling a dark vehicle behind them. The shocked musicians watched in amazement as seconds later both the woman in white and the dark vehicle were swallowed into the road. No explanation has even been given as to who the white lady might have been or the reason for the appearance of the dark vehicle. The answers seem to have been swallowed into the ground with the apparitions.

Thanks to:
Chicagoland Ghosts
by Dylan Clearfield
Copyright Gary Stempien