Legends and folklore tell many tales of ghosts and hauntings. The Legend of Resurrection Mary is one such tale that has been told and retold, and has now become an urban legend among skeptics. But is this an urban legend, myth, or fact?
Beginning in the 1930’s on a long stretch of a darkened road called Archer Avenue, there is a cemetery called Resurrection Cemetery.
There, on Archer Avenue, near the cemetery, there is also a ballroom that was known as The Willowbrook Ballroom, formerly known as the Oh Henry Ballroom. It is here that the story first began to take shape.
It is believed that one night, the young pretty blond Mary went to a dance dressed in a beautiful white formal gown, gloves, and delicate dance shoes. She was dancing the night away with a boyfriend.
An argument ensued and Mary ran out of the ballroom. It was a cold winter night, but Mary decided, in a fit of anger, she would risk the walk, rather than return to the ballroom or catch a ride back with her boyfriend.
She headed out on darkened Archer Road alone, her long blond hair blowing in the wind, unaware of the fate that awaited her only moments away.
Mary had not gotten very far when she was struck by a car. It was a hit and run case. The driver never stopped to help the poor girl and was never apprehended.
She eventually died on Archer Road. Her parents found her later there dead. The poor grieving parents buried Mary at Resurrection Cemetery in her white gown and shoes. This is where the story is supposed to end. But does this story really have an end?
A Legend Is Born
In 1939, Jerry Palus met a young woman at Liberty Grove ballroom. He and this beautiful blond woman danced for most of the night, he even kissed her. She was as real as anyone he had ever met.
Later that evening she asked him for a ride home, he was more than happy to help her. As they drove along Archer Road, on her way home, she asked to be let out in front of Resurrection Cemetery.
He thought this odd but stopped to let his lovely lady friend out of the car. It was at that moment, she disappeared, in front of the cemetery gates. Needless to say, Jerry had the shock of his life. He had just danced with and kissed a ghost.
During the 1970’s, Mary was spotted several times again. One cab driver dropped her off at a club across from Resurrection Cemetery. When he ran in after her to collect his fare, she had disappeared.
No one had seen the blond young woman in the party gown come through the doors of the club. Other club hoppers would spot Mary too. In 1973, she was spotted in a few lounges around Chicago.
Of course, there would be those who swore they had danced with the lovely quiet lady in the white gown, and of course, she disappeared suddenly.
There were a number of sightings of the young Mary being struck by passing cars right in front of Resurrection Cemetery, but when the witnesses went to help, she had vanished.
Another story is of another young man driving down Archer Road. He spotted the blond woman, all dressed up in a white gown, walking down the road alone. He stopped and gave her a ride. She asked to be dropped off in front of Resurrection Cemetery.
He thought it was strange when she headed up the main gates. Then she suddenly disappeared. A moment later, he spotted her once more staring back through the gates at him, fingers firmly gripping the cemetery gate bars.
A moment later she vanished once more. He got out of his car to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him. When he reached the gate where she had been, he found a truly frightening and amazing thing.
Her hand prints had been seared into the iron bars where her hands had been only minutes before. Later, cemetery officials said there was no such thing as ghosts and that an accident caused this to happen to the gate.
Sighting have dwindled over the years, but there are still those who claim to have seen Mary appearing and vanishing once more. Archer Road has changed over the years, maybe this is why the sightings have become fewer.
Who Was Mary?
Nobody really knows who Mary was for sure, but there are several suggestions. One is that of a twelve-year-old Polish girl named Anna Norkus who called herself Mary, after the Virgin Mary.
She loved to dance and was at the Oh Henry Ballroom the night of her death. But she and her father were killed in an auto accident on Archer Road. Still, this is a young girl, not a young lady. Witnesses swear that the woman is older.
Another girl believed to be Resurrection Mary is Mary Bregovy, another young Polish girl. She also died in an auto accident and was said to be at the Oh Henry Ballroom. But others claim she was nowhere near the ballroom or Archer Road. So the mystery deepens.
So is the story of Resurrection Mary true? Many will swear to it, and many scoff at the notion. Whether the story of Resurrection Mary is true or not, it continues to capture the minds of the ever inquiring and the skeptics. But if there are any doubts in your mind…
Then maybe, just maybe, on some dark winter night, while driving down Archer Road, if you happen to spot a pretty blond lady in a white gown in your headlights, you might think twice before picking her up. It’s quite possible that the lady is not what you think she is, but really a ghost.