Ghost Story # 3 - Resurrection Mary

Greeting Cards

Adam Bykowski

Oak Lawn, United States

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4" x 6" 5" x 7.5" 4" x 6"


  • 300gsm card with a satin finish
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Artist's Description

I think just about everyone who lives in Chicago and its suburbs knows the story of Resurrection Mary, especially the south siders. It is without a doubt, the most famous ghost story in the Chicago area. It sort of starts and ends in Resurrection Cemetery located on Archer Avenue in the south suburb of Chicago; Justice, Illinois.

The ghost legend starts like this, one of many stories that end the same. In 1936 a man named Jerry Palus spent the evening dancing with a pretty, young blonde-haired woman at a now demolished Liberty Grove Hall on the southwest side of Chicago. He offered her a ride home and she accepted. She told him to drive down Archer Avenue and when he got near the gates of Resurrection Cemetery told him to stop and said she had to leave him and that he could not follow. She left the car, disappearing into the (then closed) gates that you see in the photo above.

Dance hall encounters grew in number and they moved southwest to the O Henry Ballroom which is now called the Willowbrook Ballroom, just south of the cemetary in the town of Willow Springs. It was here that Mary made countless encounters. Time and time again, young men would end up dancing with this girl and later describe her as “cold” physically and emotionally. After the dances, Mary would accept rides home, giving vague directions to drive north on Archer Avenue. As their cars passed the gates of Resurrection Cemetery, the girl would simply disappear from the car.

Other stories go where dirvers have watched a woman in a flowing, white dress walk along the roadside and then completely vanish, as if switched off like a light. Some incidents were of a woman that ran in front of a moving car and was hit by the car. Bleeding in the road after being hit, she would dematerialize before or during ambulance paramedics arrived.

The above accounts are out of a book. The one I heard as a teenager was a cab driver was driving down Archer Road at night alone. When he passed the cemetary, a young woman suddenly appeared in the back seat. He would freak out, pull over and when he opened the door she was gone or as he was driving she disappeared. One of the two. It was a long time ago. From what I remember, people started driving down this stretch of road near the cemetery many times to see if they could experience anything like the legend claims. Of course, I never knew anyone pesonally that has witnessed anything like the accounts told.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the most compelling parts. This ghost has allegedly left behind evidence. Check this out. Several years ago, maybe in the 80’s, a man driving his car past the cemetery noticed a young woman standing inside the cemetery on the other side of the gates, clutching the bars of the gates; the same exact gates you see in the photo above. He thought that someone had been locked inside the cemetery after closing, so he reported it to the local police. When the police arrived at the gates they found no one there, but their inspection of the gates revealed a chilling spectacle. Two of the bars at the gates had been pried apart with the burnt impression of hands left on the bars. The bars had a human hand like texture burnt into them.
The marks were shown to various metallurgists, copper and bronze experts but nobody could explain how those bars could have been bent. Shortly after the first of the year, 1977, the bars were blow-torched by the cemetery. They attempted to blowtorch the marks off the bars and although they burned off the scorch marks, they could not obliterate the marks that were imbedded into the metal. More people came out to see those bars so about a week before Halloween the bars were hack sawed out by the cemetery and were hidden by the cemetery officials in an attempt to keep people from coming out to see those marks. Supposedly, the cemetery tried to paint over these bars, but they never could hold paint.

The cemetery denies this story emphatically. They claim that the bars were bent when a front-end loader truck backed into the gates while doing sewer work and in an attempt to straighten the bars by first blowtorching them to soften them a bit and then grabbing the bars with an asbestos glove which, according to the cemetery, made the hand-marks.

Years ago, when I visited this cemetary, the bars were green from oxidation. All the bars today, as you can see from the photo are gold and it appears as all the gates are new and completely replaced.

Final note; it seems the ghost appears only to men and is seen most often in December. The reason is that Mary apparently was killed by a car around Christmastime.

Merry Christmas and Happy Halloween.

Click the link to see photos of the bars…Resurrection Mary

Artwork Comments

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