Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ghost Gallery: Resurrection Mary

As much as I love cryptids, I've always had such a love of ghost stories. Be they true or otherwise, there is just something about a ghostly tale that gives you chills and thrills. I have quite a few favorite stories, so I'm starting a new subsection called Ghost Gallery.

"Beware of hitchhiking ghosts..."

One of the favorite stories is that of Resurrection Mary, just one of many from the Chicago area. As the legend goes, a girl named Mary was attending a dance at Oh Henry Ballroom, now named The Willowbrook Ballroom, with her boyfriend. An argument ensued and she decided to leave the dance early. She didn't get very far down Archer Avenue when she was struck by a car. The driver didn't stop and Mary was left to die. She was later buried in the close by Resurrection Cemetery.

The stories of Mary begin in the 1930's. Jerry Palus claimed that he met a beautiful woman at a local dance hall. They danced and they kissed. She asked him to drive her home, which he did, and she exited the car along Archer Avenue and disappeared into Resurrection Cemetery. This is the most famous and interesting of the stories. This story, by way of a story based on it, eventually became the song "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" by Dickey Lee. A very haunting song, to be sure.

Mary is described as a beautiful young blonde girl with blue eyes wearing a white party dress. There is a bit of mystery to who Mary was in life. Some believe that she is Mary Bregovy, who passed away in 1934. Others claim that she is Anna "Marija" Norkus, who died in 1927 around the area of Oh Henry ballroom. We may never know for sure who Mary really is, unfortunately.

Over the years, many people have reported seeing Mary walking along Archer Avenue, dancing at Oh Henry's, or in their own car. One man named Ralph claimed to have picked up Mary along Archer Avenue in 1979. Here is what he had to say about his encounter;

"A couple miles up Archer there, she jumped with a start like a horse and said 'Here! Here!' I hit the brakes. I looked around and didn't see no kind of house. 'Where?' I said. And then she sticks out her arm and points across the road to my left and says 'There!'. And that's when it happened. I looked to my left, like this, at this little shack. And when I turned she was gone. Vanished! And the car door never opened. May the good Lord strike me dead, it never opened."

One of the most interesting stories about Mary is that it is believed that she burned her fingerprints into the wrought iron fence around the cemetery. In 1976, someone saw a woman inside of the cemetery with her hands wrapped around the bars. When the police were alerted to potentially help a trapped woman out of the locked cemetery, they saw the bars were bent and burned where the woman was standing. Workers at the cemetery claim that a truck actually caused the damage, but where is the fun in that?

There aren't nearly as many sightings of Mary in recent history. Perhaps she is finally resting in peace or maybe she is just waiting for her next ride. One thing is for sure, if you are ever passing by Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue in Justice, Illinois on a lonely night and a beautiful blonde girl waives you down for a might just be offering a ride to the one and only, Resurrection Mary.

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