"Her name is Mary....the most beautiful and evasive ghost in Chicago, Illinois....a captivating, blue-eyed, flaxen haired girl in her late teens. On those occasions when she is seen she wears the long, off-white, ball gown and dancing shoes in which she died ....in 1934...."
Mary is said to be buried in Resurrection Cemetery, located in suburban Justice, Illinois. Hence she has been nicknamed Resurrection Mary.
Her story is a classic urban legend and has been retold in numerous cities and towns world over ... she is the phantom hitch-hiker.
Reports of the highly spirited Mary have been traced as far back as 1939. A fellow stops to aid what he perceives as a young lady in distress or attempting to hitch a ride. In the earliest reports she'd literally jump on to the running boards of passing automobiles!
Mary would often hitch rides to the O. Henry Ballroom. And despite saying very little, she would dance the night away with her new acquaintances. These men never suspecting that she was anything more than a beautiful, "living" woman!
As the ballroom emptied Mary would ask her escorts for a ride home and she would direct these newly acquired beaus to head north on Archer Avenue. As they passed Resurrection Cemetery Mary would often simply vanish! The car door itself never having been opened! Other times she would direct them to stop just near the cemetery where she would run from the car and dash through the locked gates.
On at least one other occasion Mary was sighted within the cemetery by a man who was taking a late night stroll. He reported that a young lady peered at him from behind the gates and fearing that she was locked in called the local police. When they arrived no lady could be found. According to the witness description she may have indeed been Resurrection Mary.
Is there any truth to these stories? Well to those who claim to have encountered the phantom hitchhiker yes there is! Old cemetery records do indicate a young woman of about Mary's approximated age to be buried there, but her real identity has never been revealed.
Reports of Mary continue to the present and if nothing more perhaps recall the reader to a darkened night in old Chicago where a young woman spends a carefree eternity dancing in a grand ballroom with her beau...........
Haunted Heartland, by Beth Scott and Michael Norman (c) 1985
Resurrection Mary, by Bill Geist US Catholic August 1979