Imagine driving along in your car and seeing a young woman in a white dress and dancing shoes walking along the roadside. You feel sorry for her and offer a ride, which she graciously accepts. When you arrive at the address she gives, you are shocked to see it is a cemetery. You look to verify the address with your passenger, only to see her vanish in front of your eyes. Immediately, you wonder whether she was there or if you were losing your mind. A third option to offer is that the young lady in question was a ghost.
Hitchhiking ghost stories have long been a part of urban legends for decades, if not longer. The scenario described above is one version of a famous tale from Justice, IL, a village not far from Chicago. Resurrection Mary, as she is known, is described as a light blond-haired, blue-eyed woman wearing a white dress. Additional details only sometimes reported are black dress shoes, a thin shawl, and a small clutch purse. Another commonality in each story is Resurrection Cemetery, the location giving Mary part of her name. Some reports claim that a woman matching her description runs out and either attempts to jump directly in front of the vehicle or on the side runners as they drive by before disappearing. Other tales describe meeting the young lass walking along Archer Avenue, or at the O’Henry Ballroom, only to disappear once arriving at the cemetery. Dozens of men over the years have claimed sightings or interactions with the ghostly woman. In fact, Mary is considered one of the more famous hauntings in the Chicago area.
How did Mary become a ghost, you might ask? Researchers of the legend commonly agree that the young woman spent her last evening alive dancing at the O’Henry Ballroom with her boyfriend before getting into a heated argument with him. She left alone on foot along Archer Avenue when a car came out of nowhere and struck her down. Her body is discovered the next morning and buried in the Resurrection Cemetery wearing the same white dress and dance shoes from the stories. Whether this version of the story is real or simply an urban legend is impossible to say, but doesn’t the beauty of a good story lie in not knowing?
So the next time you’re driving at night and see a young woman matching Mary’s description, think twice about picking her up. Once you arrive at the cemetery, she will most likely vanish before your eyes. Then again, she may enjoy your company and take you with her.
Until next time, Addicts…