Are you familiar with the legend of Resurrection Mary? Both paranormal buffs and non-believers alike in the Chicago area have heard of Resurrection Mary. She is arguably the best-documented ghost in the area, with sightings of her dating back to the 1930s. Read along to hear her tale before you search for her. With a little time and effort on your part, perhaps one day you may see her for yourself.
Resurrection Mary: Chicago's most famous ghost
Explore the legend of Resurrection Mary, the most famous ghost in the Chicago area.
Have you seen Resurrection Mary?
The Legend of Resurrection Mary
The origin of Mary's story dates to the early 1930s. Mary is said to have spent an evening dancing at the Oh Henry Ballroom (now Willowbrook Ballroom) in Willow Springs, Illinois. She left without her escort of the evening, walking home in the darkness. Along the way, she was struck by a passing car whose driver did not see her, and she was killed on the spot. She is said to have been buried at Resurrection Cemetery in a white dress and dancing shoes.
Resurrection Cemetery: haunted or not?
Within a few years, travelers along Archer Avenue began to report sightings of a girl in white hitchhiking. The girl inevitably vanished as the cemetery was passed. Sightings continue to the modern day.
Oh Henry Ballroom
The Oh Henry Ballroom has changed hands many times over the almost one hundred years since its opening. In its heyday it was one of the most popular ballrooms in the Chicago area, drawing thousands each weekend for its dances.
Hours for the Willowbrook Ballroom are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday by appointment only. For more information about the Willowbrook Ballroom, please visit their web site. Those who visit at the right time may just run into Mary.
- Willowbrook Ballroom: official website.
It is now part of the huge complex currently known as the Willowbrook Ballroom, and is still open for business. A live orchestra plays each week, and dance classes are offered regularly for those interested. Perhaps Mary attends some of these classes unbeknownst to the other attendees?
Mary sometimes appears at her last known location to dance once again, the Oh Henry Ballroom (now called Willowbrook Ballroom).
Mary's last dance
Mary's physical appearance
According to eyewitness reports, Mary is a pale-skinned blonde girl between 17 and 21 years of age, wearing a white ballgown. Some witnesses report that she carries a small handbag and/or wears a shawl. She normally appears in winter, and she is always said to be dressed inappropriately for the weather as she lacks a warm coat.
Sightings of Mary
Mary appears as a hitchhiker along Archer Avenue, a white-clad figure along the side of the road. If given a ride, she will direct the driver to the gates of Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue, and vanishes at the gates. This is in line with traditional legends of the Vanishing Hitchhiker.
She is also said to appear from time to time at the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willowbrook, Illinois. She dances with the other patrons, who have reported that her skin is ice-cold.
Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue
Mary's final destination is Resurrection Cemetery. She requests the driver of her chosen vehicle to stop at the gates, where she vanishes.
Resurrection Cemetery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 4PM, 9AM to 1PM on Saturday, and closed Sunday. Cemetery workers will not assist with inquiries as to Mary's identity.
Mary's true identity
The real identity of Resurrection Mary may remain forever a mystery. Too much time has passed, and too many details have been lost. It is said that she is buried in Resurrection Cemetery, but cemetery officials can neither confirm nor deny this.
Who is likely to encounter Mary?
Mary's preferred targets are usually men who are driving in the area. However, mass sightings of her have occurred by large groups of motorists along Archer Avenue, including those normally considered credible witnesses such as the local police.
More Chicago area hauntings
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If you can't get enough of Chicago ghosts, this book covers many new ghosts to hunt. Very well written with a lot of background information.