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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cryptid Corner: Lake Worth Monster

For most of us, there is a monster living right in our own backyards. One of mine growing up was the Lake Worth Monster. Believed to be a half-man, half-goat creature, much like the Pope Lick Monster. Some called it a goat-fish monster while one little boy thought it was a monster from space. Whatever it is, something is living at Lake Worth.

The Lake Worth Monster was first seen in July of 1969 by quite a few different people. One particular incident of a couple who were "parked" at Lake Worth prompted a story from the local paper. Apparently, the creature tried to take one of the women. Tommy Burson later reported that a creature had jumped on his car and left a scratch about two and a half feet long on the side of it. Police actually started to look into this one after the report.

The most famous encounter with the creature occurred on July 10th of 1969, when the creature hurled a tire at people visiting the lake. This encounter was witness by several different people, including members of the police force. It was claimed that the monster threw the tires over 500 feet, which is pretty impressive. During this event, a picture was taken. It shows the creature as hairy and white all over.

This is the actual photo...

I kid, of course. Here is the real photo.

Not too far off from a Bumble, though.

Since 1969, there are reports of the creature, but nothing nearly as concrete or exciting as all those years ago. Mainly of people hearing his mournful calls in the night. Maybe it's calling out to someone or maybe it's just making sure you know that it's still there.

Cryptid Corner: Honey Island Swamp Monster

In almost every single corner of the world, there is a story of a hominid creature (i.e. Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, etc.). But some are a little more interesting than others.

In Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp, there is a legend of a creature that inhabits the swamp. The creature goes by different names including; Letiche, who was believed by the Native American's to be a child raised by alligators, and the Cajun Loup Carou, which sort of means werewolf. One of the other stories behind the creature is that a train wreak in the area released numerous monkeys who began to mate with the alligators in the area. Either way, this creature seems to have been haunting the swamp for hundreds of years, in some form or another.

In 1963, a man named Harlan Ford claimed to have seen the creature. Eleven years later, Ford claimed to have found footprints and a wild boar that seemed to have been killed. When he died six years later, a tape was found amongst his belongings that allegedly showed the creature. Ford's encounter with the creature is the most well known and it generally the basis for the modern legend of the creature, much like Patterson and Gimlin for Bigfoot.

To this day, many people go in search of the monster, but no one since Ford has been lucky (or unlucky) enough to get footage of the creature. We may never know what really lives in Honey Island Swamp.