Resurrection Mary: Chicago's most famous ghost

by tealmermaid

Explore the legend of Resurrection Mary, the most famous ghost in the Chicago area.

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.

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?
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.

It became part of the huge complex known as the Willowbrook Ballroom, and was still open for business until it burned to the ground on 28 October 2016. A live orchestra played each week, and dance classes were offered regularly for those interested. Perhaps Mary attended some of these classes unbeknownst to the other attendees?

Mary sometimes appeared at her last known location to dance once again, the Oh Henry Ballroom (later 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 have appeared from time to time at the Willowbrook Ballroom in Willowbrook, Illinois. She danced 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 such as the local police normally considered credible witnesses.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Updated: 06/04/2018, tealmermaid
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