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the Occult => Ghosts & Apparitions => Topic started by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:49:32 am

Title: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:49:32 am
Resurrection Mary

The main gate of Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue in Justice, IL

Resurrection Mary is the Chicago area's best-known ghost story. Of the "vanishing hitchhiker" type, the story takes place outside Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois, a few miles southwest of Chicago.[1]

Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This young woman is dressed somewhat formally and said to have light blond hair, blue eyes, and wearing a white party dress. There are other reports that she wore a thin shawl, dancing shoes, that she carried a small clutch purse, and/or that she was very quiet. When the driver nears the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asked to be let out, whereupon she disappeared into the cemetery. According to the Chicago Tribune, "full-time ghost hunter" Richard Crowe has collected "three dozen . . . substantiated" reports of Mary from the 1930s to the present.[2]

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:50:50 am
The legend

The story goes that Mary had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary stormed out. Even though it was a cold winter’s night, she thought she would rather face a cold walk home than spend another minute with her boyfriend.

She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, who fled the scene leaving Mary to die. Her parents found her and were grief-stricken at the sight of her dead body. They buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a beautiful white dancing dress and matching dancing shoes. The hit-and-run driver was never found.[3]

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:52:02 am

The Willowbrook Ballroom, formerly the Oh Henry Ballroom, in Willow Springs, Illinois

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:53:58 am
Reported sightings

Jerry Palus, a Chicago southsider, reported that in 1939 he met a person who he came to believe was Resurrection Mary at the Liberty Grove and Hall at 47th and Mozart (and not the Oh Henry/Willowbrook Ballroom). They danced and even kissed and she asked him to drive her home along Archer Avenue,of course exiting the car and disappearing in front of Resurrection Cemetery.[4]

In 1973, Resurrection Mary was said to have shown up at Harlow's nightclub, on Cicero Avenue on Chicago's southwest side.[5] That same year, a cab driver came into Chet's Melody Lounge, across the street from Resurrection Cemetery, to inquire about a young lady who had left without paying her fare.[6]

There were said to be sightings in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1989, which involved cars striking, or nearly striking, Mary outside Resurrection Cemetery.[7] Mary disappears, however, by the time the motorist exits the car.

She also reportedly burned her handprints into the wrought iron fence around the cemetery, in August 1976,[8] although officials at the cemetery have stated that a truck had damaged the fence and that there is no evidence of a ghost.

In a January 31, 1979 article in the Suburban Trib, columnist Bill Geist detailed the story of a cab driver, Ralph, who picked up a young woman – "a looker. A blonde. . .she was young enough to be my daughter - 21 tops" – near a small shopping center on Archer Avenue.

    "A couple miles up Archer there, she jumped with a start like a horse and said 'Here! Here!' I hit the brakes. I looked around and didn't see no kind of house. 'Where?' I said. And then she sticks out her arm and points across the road to my left and says 'There!'. And that's when it happened. I looked to my left, like this, at this little shack. And when I turned she was gone. Vanished! And the car door never opened. May the good Lord strike me dead, it never opened."

Geist described Ralph as "neither an idiot nor a maniac, but rather [in Ralph's own words] 'a typical 52-year-old working guy, a veteran, father, Little League baseball coach, churchgoer, the whole shot'. Geist goes on to say: "The simple explanation, Ralph, is that you picked up the Chicago area's preeminent ghost: Resurrection Mary."[9]

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:55:16 am

Burned section of the front gate bars.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:57:33 am
Who is Mary?

Some researchers have even attempted to link Resurrection Mary to one of the many thousands of burials in Resurrection Cemetery. A particular focus of these efforts has been Mary Bregovy, who died in a 1934 auto accident in the Chicago Loop,[10] Chicago author Ursula Bielski in 1999 documented a possible connection to Anna "Marija" Norkus, who died in a 1927 auto accident while on her way home from the Oh Henry Ballroom, a theory which has gained popularity in recent years.[11]

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 02:58:39 am
Vanishing Hitchhiker

The Resurrection Mary story is a type of vanishing hitchhiker story, a type of folklore that is known from many cultures. One such story, written in 1965 by fifteen-year-old Cathie Harmon for a Memphis, Tennessee newspaper, was picked up by psychologist-songwriter Milton Addington, who used it as the basis for Dickey Lee's song Laurie (Strange Things Happen). There have also been a few low-budget horror films recently released that are based on this legend.

The Blackmore's Night song I Guess It Doesn't Matter Anymore from their album The Village Lanterne is based on the legend.

   1. ^ Heise, Bielski, and others state that Resurrection Mary is Chicago's most famous ghost.
   2. ^ Chicago Tribune (1985).
   3. ^ Legend section references to Chicago Tribune (1974),, as well as to Bielski, p. 22.
   4. ^ Taylor and Sceuman, p. 188.
   5. ^ Taylor and Sceurman. Bielski, p. 22.
   6. ^ Prairie Bielski, p. 22.
   7. ^ Prairie
   8. ^ Taylor and Sceurman, p. 189.
   9. ^ Geist.
  10. ^ Chicago Tribune (1934).
  11. ^ Bielski discusses both of these candidates, pp. 15-19.


    * Bielski, Ursula (1997) Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City Chicago: Lake Claremont Press.
    * Chicago Tribune, "Killed in Crash", March 12, 1934, p. 5.
    * Chicago Tribune, "Hunting a Ghost Named Mary", October 31, 1985.
    * Geist, Bill (1979) Suburban Trib, January 31, 1979.
    * Gorner, Peter (1974) Chicago Tribune, "Some of Chicago's Favorite Haunts", May 13, 1974, p. B13.
    * Heise, Kenan (1990) Resurrection Mary: A Ghost Story Chicago Historical Bookworks, ISBN 0924772093
    * Taylor, Troy; Sceurman, Mark (2005) Weird Illinois: Your Travel Guide to Illinois' Local Legends ad Best Kept Secrets, Sterling Publishing Company, ISBN 076075943X.
    * Ursula Bielski's article on Anna Norkus and Resurrection Mary on
    * Prairie Ghosts Page on Resurrection Mary

Further reading

    * Taylor, Troy. Haunted Illinois: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Prairie State. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:00:24 am

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:01:49 am
Theory & Conjecture into the Past of Chicago's Favorite Ghost

    Who is Resurrection Mary?
    The most accurate version of the story of Resurrection Mary concerns a young girl who was killed while hitchhiking down Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s. Apparently, she had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the O Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary (as she has come to be called) stormed out of the place. Even though it was a cold winter’s night, she thought, she would rather face a cold walk home than another minute with her boorish lover. She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a passing automobile. The driver fled the scene and Mary was left there to die. Her grieving parents buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a white dress and her dancing shoes. Since that time, her spirit has been seen along Archer Avenue, perhaps trying to return to her grave after one last night among the living.    

    Experience the Ghosts, Local Legends & Best Kept Secrets of the Windy City!

    Weird Chicago Tours!

    It has never been known just who the earthy counterpart of Mary might have been, but several years ago, a newspaper report confused things so badly that a number of writers and researchers ended up creating their own "Mary". She was another girl who was tragically killed, but had nothing to do with the woman who haunts Archer Avenue. In the quest to learn Mary’s identity, speculation fell onto a woman named Mary Bregovy, who is also buried in Resurrection Cemetery. Unfortunately, there are too many factors that prevent her from being Resurrection Mary.....

    Even though Bregovy was killed in an auto accident in 1934, it is unlikely that she was returning home from the O Henry Ballroom, as some have claimed. The accident in which she was killed took place on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The car that she was riding in collided with an elevated train support and she was thrown through the windshield. This is a far cry from being killed by a hit-and-run driver on Archer Avenue.

    Bregovy also did not resemble the phantom that has been reported either. According to memory and photographs, she had short, dark hair, which is the opposite of the fair-skinned blond ghost. Besides that, the undertaker who prepared Bregovy for her funeral, John Satala, recalled that she was buried in an orchid-colored dress, not the white one of legend.

    However, John Satala does add an interesting note to the story. In fact, he may have been the person who caused the confusion between spectral "Mary’s" in the first place. In a newspaper interview many years ago, Satala mentioned a caretaker at Resurrection Cemetery who told him that he had seen a ghost on the cemetery grounds. The caretaker believed the ghost was that of Mary Bregovy.

    So, if Resurrection Mary was not Mary Bregovy, who was she?

    Another woman claimed that Mary was actually the ghost of a young woman named Mary Miskowski, who was killed crossing the street one night in October 1930 on her way to a costume party.

    I have spoken to at least three different people over the years who claim that Mary was their babysitter when they were children. All of them tell tragic stories about her death but have never provided any really compelling evidence to say that she eventually became Resurrection Mary.

    But if Mary is not one of these, then who can she be? Some have speculated that she never really existed at all. They have disregarded the search for her identity, believing that she is nothing more than an "urban legend" and a piece of fascinating folklore. They believe the story can be traced to nothing more than Chicago’s version of the "vanishing hitchhiker".

    While the story of Resurrection Mary does bear some resemblance to the tale, the folklorists have forgotten an important thing that Mary’s story has that the many versions of the other stories do not - credible eyewitness accounts, places, times and dates. Many of these reports are not just stories that have been passed from person to person and rely on a "friend of a friend" for authenticity. In fact, some of the encounters with Mary have been chillingly up close and personal and remain unexplained to this day.

    But is she really that great of a mystery? Some believe so, but many doubt that she exists at all. Who is she? No one knows but that has not stopped the stories, tales and even songs from being spun about her. She remains an enigma and her legend lives on, not content to vanish, as Mary does when she reaches the gates to Resurrection Cemetery.



    © Copyright 2002 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Keith Ranville on December 18, 2010, 03:23:38 am
I remember here in vancouver, while I was cruising on my motorcycle giving a friend a lift home in 1990's while while we were passing by a graveyard I saw a young lady standing by a entrance of the cemetery she looked kinda luminance sort of after passing her and as I got near to the on coming intersection to the oncoming traffic lights red light I glanced in the rear view mirror and she like vanished? and it was like daylight.   


Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:38:08 am
That is so cool. Did you go back to investigate? Does Vancouver have any famous ghosts?

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:43:43 am

Personal Experiences With
Resurrection Mary
Page last updated: 30-Apr-05

EDITOR'S NOTE: It has been several years since Mystical Universe has had an opportunity to add another Personal Experience. We are delighted that this gentleman is generous enough to share his happening, with us. In addition, the Guest has requested his name not be included. Mystical Universe is more than willing to respect his privacy.
From an Email dated April 19, 2005
Prior to the events that had occurred, I had no prior knowledge of the story of Resurrection Mary.

Two years ago on a cold December night, I had attended a wedding reception of a close friend at the Willowbrook Ballroom in Chicago. It was a fun and amazing night, filled with laughter, great conversation, food and dancing.
At one point, I had noticed a girl standing off to a side in the corner.  She was a gorgeous bombshell of a blonde...she wore a white vintage cocktail dress, and had these piercing blue-green eyes you could get lost in for hours and hours.

Being the shy type myself, I asked around if anyone knew her, but no
one did.  At the encouragement of my friend, I nervously made my way
over to her with two drinks in my hand.  I introduced myself to her, she responded with a nod and bow.

For a while I attempted to make some small talk, but the only responses I received were nods and one word yes and no answers. When the wedding band started to play some slow songs, her face happily lit up and she looked me deep in the eyes.  She pulled me close and whispered, "Dance."
While we danced for a few song sets, I couldn't help but notice how ice cold and clammy her hands the end of the last slow song, I put her hands together and clamped them in-between mine in an attempt to warm them up.  She looked down and blushed.
Feeling encouraged, I took one of my hands and put it underneath her chin, delicately raising it to face me.  It was then I leaned in and kissed her on the cheek...she glowed a color of bright red and looked down, smiling....her cheek was ice-cold......

At the end of the night she asked me to drive her home, so I gladly obliged.
I took her down Archer and when we reached Resurrection Cemetery, she grabbed my arm and yelled, "Stop!  Stop now!  I need to get out here!"
In my shock, I slammed on the breaks and looked at her. She looked at me and leaned in for a hug.  She hugged me and whispered, "Thank you, James" and gave me a kiss on the cheek with her frozen lips ...she then pulled away from me, and PASSED THROUGH MY CAR DOOR, heading towards the Cemetery.       
As she walked towards it, her beautiful, deep eyes never once leaving mine...she also never stopped smiling.  She literally passed through the front entrance fence and disappeared out of sight....

I've done much research on Mary, but could never find anything on the name James....anything you could tell me would be helpful.  She was amazingly beautiful, and I'll never forget those eyes.....

Thanks for listening, and it is my hope you'll respect my wishes and privacy. I hope my account may have helped in some small way.
This account is one hundred percent true. I'm heading back to Chicago next year, to see if I can't have another experience.
Maybe she'll remember me.

I would give anything to see her again.

PS My name, obviously, isn't James.....


Submitted By: Danielle - Date:6/1/01 8:07:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

I am 13 years old, I live somewhat near to Resurrection Cemetery, and my name is Danielle.  I was looking at your website about Resurrection Mary, and I wanted to share my stories relating to Resurrection Cemetery with you.

My first story is a story of my parents' before they were married.  This year, they would be married for 20 years, and so then that would make their story of Resurrection Mary about 21-23 years old.

They were out for a drive, and went down Archer Avenue, and sighted a young woman that didn't look any older than they were, which would be around 20 years old.  They had told me that she was in a white ball-gown, and that she had somewhat long, blonde hair.  Since my father had a slight inclination that it could have been Resurrection Mary, he spun their car around to head back toward where they had seen her, and she had disappeared.  My father tells me that between the time of when they had seen her, and when they had turned around and gone back to the exact spot of their sighting of Resurrection Mary, it had been no longer than about 45 seconds.

It was in early autumn (and about 3-4 years ago) that I had visited Resurrection Cemetery for the very first time.  It was also a very warm, sunny, and not at all windy day.  I was with my father, and wanted to look around to see if I could find the grave that belonged to the infamous Resurrection Mary.  I was down an isle of graves, when I had felt something on my shoulder that felt like a small, woman-like, and very cold hand. I spun around very quickly, and caught a glimpse of what looked like a very petite, young woman, who was very light in complexion, had blonde hair, and had a white, flowing dress on.  The image disappeared before I could say anything to my father.

Later on that day, after walking around the cemetery, we went into the mausoleum.  Inside the mausoleum, we had heard light footsteps roaming the halls.  But the odd thing was, we never saw anyone else in there, or heard any voices of anyone that could have been making the footsteps.  The footsteps sounded like the pitter-patter of a woman's dress shoe when she walks.  We had also heard an intermittent organ playing while in the mausoleum.  Both my father and myself were so chilled by this that we quickly headed out the doors of the mausoleum, and back into our car to head home.

I hope I could have been of some help to your website, and I would just like to thank you for taking some time out to read this.

NOTE from The Editor:
After I received the above from Danielle, I wrote to her, asking if she had ever located Resurrection Mary's Gravesite. During my research on 'Mary' there was an indication that 'Mary's' headstone may have been removed.

Here is Danielle's reply, dated June 2, 2001:
Unfortunately, I never did find Mary's grave.  I had recently heard that Resurrection Cemetery did remove her tombstone too.

Submitted by: Martha, Chicago, IL - January 1, 2000
Resurrection Cemetery
A Brief Dialog:

It is a HUGE place, and not at all frightening or eerie. That is probably because most of it is not that old. Along Archer Ave there are some businesses along the street on the other side, including a floral shop where everyone buys their grave decorations. The road that goes along the Cemetery on the East (I hope I have the direction right) is Roberts Road, which intersects with Archer Ave. Those wrought iron fences are all along the cemetery, all around its perimeter, I think.

When you are facing the main gates (which are on Archer Ave), our family's main plot is off to the right.  It is in a section where there are a lot of monuments and family mausoleums, most of which were put there in the early half of the 1900s.

The whole right half of the cemetery as you face the gates is the "older" part, with a monument on almost every plot, it seems. The left side is the "newer" part, where there are only headstones flush to the ground. In fact, it my be against the rules to put a monument over in that part. I am almost sure of that. The large mausoleum that has had some paranormal activity is over toward the left of the entrance also. That was built when I was a kid, so it isn't that old but has had its share of stories also. I have some relatives interred there, and can't say I like that mausoleum too much. I don't like them in general, I guess. To stark and sterile or something.

Back to the picture of the gates. That building you see straight ahead is NOT a mausoleum. It is the cemetery offices and is where the rest rooms and other conveniences are located. I remember going in there as a kid on a hot summer day and enjoying how cool it is, with the marble floors and all. One thing to know is to never, but NEVER ask about "Resurrection Mary" in the office. I hear that they want nothing to do with the "legend" and will not answer any questions about it.  I think that is partly why there is confusion as to who Mary really is.

When I was a kid, no one had a clue who she might be, and the cemetery office wasn't talking. Personally, I do not believe that she is the Mary Bregovy that everyone claims is "Resurrection Mary", mostly because the only thing that matches is the first name. There was a period of time when everybody was trying to find out who Mary was, and at that time, all that the cemetery would say was that there was at least one Mary with a Polish name that died young that was buried at Resurrection, but they would never go any further than that.  My very uneducated guess is that having heard that, someone had enough free time to scout the cemetery until they found a Mary with a Polish name that died close to the right year at around the right age. But in everything I've ever read about Mary, I have never found a definitive account of how anyone arrived at this conclusion. The cemetery is very close-mouthed about anything "Mary-related."

Those gates are the ones with the infamous twisted bars with the handprints. I have seen them, and yes they are there.  I have not been there in about 10 years, but now that your interest has re-sparked my interest, I am thinking of heading out there next weekend to see what is new or changed. I will also add here that the police presence around Resurrection Cemetery is very noticeable, particularly around Halloween. I don't remember ever hearing that Mary shows up more then, but it is certainly when you see the most "tourists" around there.

One year, I happened to be coming home down Archer Ave. the weekend before Halloween, and a car slowed down near the gates and instantly there was a squad with lights flashing behind it. They do not let you slow down near Resurrection, let alone stop, near Halloween. It wasn't until the late 1970s that this story became so widespread that people got parties together to go to Resurrection and "wait for Mary."  Based on the stories I have heard, that is not a likely scenario for Mary to appear anyway. They close those gates at dusk.

So here is one story that happened to me at Resurrection in 1981 or 1982. My cousin and I were heading home down Roberts Road, which goes along one side of the cemetery. It was quite late and was dark. All of a sudden from the right side of the road, someone ran right in front of us and literally disappeared into the cemetery. My cousin saw it too, because he was driving and slammed on the brakes. It was SO FAST, I could not even identify clothes or anything, other than it was a person running.

There is a wrought iron fence along the cemetery, that can certainly not be leaped or probably even easily climbed, and yet in the split second it took for the whole thing to happen the person was running far off in the distance in the cemetery (no headstones in this part, remember). I asked my cousin how it could have got over the fence (after I calmed down and could talk again)! And he could not explain it either, and said it looked like it ran through the fence.

I think the fence is not as high as it is by the gates, but it is high enough that you would have to hoist yourself up to the top and drop to the other side. We were both shaken up. Neither of us thought it was Mary, because it was not on Archer Ave, but who am I to say she can only walk on one road?  And like you say in your website, she's hardly the only entity there.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:54:01 am
Monday, April 7, 2008
Mary Bregovy: Resurrection Mary?
Here's a clip from the news article about the death of Mary Bregovy, the most commonly-named possible candidate for who Resurrection Mary, Chicago's infamous vanishing hitchhiker, is the ghost of.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 03:55:25 am
Notice anything odd about her name? According to Troy, who's more of an expert on the case than I, her name is, in fact, Mary, according to her birth, death and burial records. The Tribune made a mistake here.

Some say that the fact that she was at Wacker and Lake indicates that she can't have been in the O'Henry Ballroom, which is WAY down on the south side, but I don't think that's necessarily true; they probably came to the loop to find bars that were open later, and the Bregovy house on South Damen is a lot closer to the O'Henry than it is to the loop.

However, given that she distinctly lacks the long blond hair usually attributed to the ghost, it's to be assumed that this probably isn't the girl who's hitching rides (though she certainly was gorgeous). Swing over the Troy's page for more info about other possible Marys!

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 04:00:30 am
Marija: The half-life of Resurrection Mary
By Ursula Bielski photo courtesy of Lake Claremont Press


When I was a child, like many of my peers, I hated school. Luckily for me, my mother went back to work as a Chicago Public School teacher when I began kindergarten, and my father took early retirement from the Chicago Police Department to care for me before and after the half-day school program. My father had hated school, too. Moreover, he loved my company and preferred to have me spend my days with him than with my teachers and classmates at St. Benedict Elementary School, not far from Wrigley Field. And so I rarely went. When the inevitable inquiries came from teachers, the school secretary and, later, the principal, Adalbert Stanislaus Bielski -- gruff, loud, and more than a bit intimidating -- would scare them off for days or weeks at a time, with my mom none the wiser.

I still have the report cards from those days: 14, 27, 45 days and more absent. And I smile when I remember the distinctive education that my dad provided on those days. For they were spent decidedly afoot; indeed, I credit my dad with introducing me to the Chicago I grew to adore, as well as to the city's most famous phantom, Resurrection Mary. Most researchers, most ghost hunters, most documenters of her life and afterlife have met the elusive Mary in magazine articles, newspaper clippings, or - classically -- around a campfire in hushed tones. I met her on a barstool at the tender age of five, drinking a Shirley Temple at Chet's Melody Lounge at 11 AM on a Wednesday morning, when I was supposed to have been in school.

I think this is why, twenty-five years later, I became enchanted by one particular incarnation of our most precious Rez Mary: a 12-year-old South side girl named Anna Norkus. Like me, Anna was also a second-generation Eastern European American Chicagoan. Like me, she loved life and music and dancing. And, from a very young age, Anna was (like me) her father's best friend.

Resurrection Mary The connection of Anna Norkus to Resurrection Mary was solidified through the rigorous research of Frank Andrejasich of Summit, Illinois. Frank wrote me a lovely letter after publication of my first book, Chicago Haunts, in the Fall of 1997, and told me the story of his obsession, one that would soon become my own and lasting. I met with Frank and his wife one Winter morning, in their bungalow in the town of Summit, at the edge of the great sprawling Southwest side of Chicago, one of the most haunted regions on earth, and he told me the story of how he came to know the true identity of Chicago's most beloved ghost.

In August of 1994, Andrejasich's brother had sent Frank a newspaper clipping telling the tale of Resurrection Mary, and, asking around at coffee after Mass one Sunday, Frank found that there were many local versions of the famous tale -- and many "candidates" for the role -- especially at his own St. Joseph parish, in the heart of Resurrection Mary country. Andrejasich was startled by the prevalence of the story in local memory -- and by the opinionated responses to his often-asked question: who was she?

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 04:01:38 am
As it turned out, one of Frank's church buddies was a man named Jake Palus, who turned out to be the younger brother of the now-infamous Jerry Palus. Jerry is believed by many hard-core Mary researchers to have been the phantom's first encounter; till the day he died, Jerry claimed to have danced with her "all night" in 1936 at the old Liberty Grove and Hall ballroom on 47th street, in the storied Brighton Park neighborhood.

Claire and Mark Rudnicki -- friends, neighbors, and former St. Joseph parishioners -- told Andrejasich that Resurrection Mary could be traced to the 1940s, when a young Polish girl crashed near Resurrection Cemetery at around 1:20 a.m. after she took the family car to visit her boyfriend in Willow Springs. According to this version of the story, the girl was buried in a term grave at Resurrection. Appropriately, Andrejasich wonders why a couple that owned a car in the 1940s would need to bury their daughter in a term grave.

Adding to the explanations was another parishioner, Ray VanOrt, who tells how he and his bride-to-be were the first witnesses at the scene of an accident on Archer in 1936, when a black Model A sedan collided with a wide-bed farm truck at 1:30 in the morning, while both witnesses and victims were traveling home from the old Oh Henry Ballroom, now the Willowbrook. According to VanOrt, of the two couples in the car, only one person survived, a girl who was badly hurt. Both men and another girl perished. Today, VanOrt is convinced that this was the accident that killed our would-be Resurrection Mary.

Still another parishioner told Frank that the wayward wraith was, in life, Mary Miskowski of the South side Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport. In this narrative, Miskowski was killed crossing the street in late October in the 1930s, on her way to a Halloween party.

After pondering the variety of accounts, combing early editions of the local papers, and checking with funeral directors and cemetery managers, Andrejasich came to believe that the ghost known as Resurrection Mary is the spiritual counterpart of the youngest of all the candidates: a 12-year-old girl named, surprisingly, Anna Norkus.

Born in Cicero, Illinois in 1914, Norkus was given the name of Ona, Lithuanian for Anna. In that era, it was not the custom to christen infants with two names. But after 1918, children were baptized with a Christian name and an historic name to further pride on their main country. As a young girl, Anna's devotion to the Blessed Mother led her to begin using the name Marija, Mary, as her middle name. By the time she neared her teenage years, Anna had grown into a vivacious girl. Blonde and slim, she loved to dance, and it was her relentless begging that convinced her father, August, Sr., to take her to a dancehall for her 13th birthday. On the evening of July 20, 1927, father and daughter set out from their Chicago home at 5421 S. Neva for the famous O Henry Ballroom, accompanied by August's friend, William Weisner, and Weisner's date. On their drive home, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the travelers passed Resurrection Cemetery via Archer Avenue, turning east on 71st Street and then north on Harlem to 67th Street. There, the car careened and dropped into an unseen, 25-foot-deep railroad cut. Anna was killed instantly.

After the accident, her father, August Norkus was subject to devastating verbal abuse, even being told that Anna's death had been God's punishment for allowing the girl to go dancing at such a young age. In reality, the blame rested with the Chicago Streets Department, who had failed to post warning signs at the site of the cut. In fact, another death, that of Adam Levinsky, occurred at the same site the night after Anna's demise.

Between July 28th and September 29th, an inquest was held at Sobiesk's mortuary in adjacent Argo. Heading up the five sessions was Deputy Coroner Dedrich, the case reviewed by six jurors. The DesPlaines Valley News carried the story of the inquest.

Mary Nagode described to cousin Frank Andrejasich the sad procession that left the Norkus home on a certain Friday morning: First in line was Anna's older sister Sophie, followed by her older brother August, Jr. The pastor, altar boys, and a four-piece brass band preceded the casket, borne on a flatbed wagon with pallbearers on each side. Relatives and friends followed the grim parade for three blocks to the doors of St. Joseph's in Summit, where Anna had made her first communion only a year before. Between the band and the priest walked Frank Andrejasich's cousin, a terrified Mary Nagode. Mary was a friend of Anna's who had been pressed into service as a wreath-bearer. On summer vacation, Nagode was weeding on an asparagus farm in Willow Springs when Anna's father paid a visit to Mrs. Nagode, requesting that Mary march in his daughter's funeral procession. At home that evening, her mother informed Mary that she had accepted the request on her behalf. The girl was deeply dismayed at the proposition. Mrs. Nagode reminded her daughter that refusal of such a request would be a sin against Roman Catholic moral living, which dictates that one must attend to the burial of the dead.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 18, 2010, 04:03:15 am
Anna was scheduled for burial in one of three newly-purchased family lots at St. Casimir Cemetery, and it is here where Andrejasich found the "if" that may have led to an infamous afterlife for Anna : as the world-famous Resurrection Mary, or as Anna called herself, Marija.

Andrejasich discovered that, at the time of Anna's death, a man named Al Churas Jr., brother-in-law to Mary Nagode, lived across the road from the gates of Resurrection Cemetery, in a large brick bungalow that was recently torn down as part of a subdivision development. Al's father was in charge of the gravediggers and was given the house to live in as part of his pay. In the mid-1920s, gravedigging was hard, manual labor, rewarded with low pay. Strikes were common. As Resurrection was one of the main Chicago cemeteries, the elder Churas was often sent to the cemeteries of striking gravediggers to secure the bodies of the unburied. Returning to Resurrection with a corpse in a wooden box, Churas' duty was to bury it temporarily until the strike ended and the body could be permanently interred in the proper lot. Because of poor coffin construction and the lack of refrigeration, a body could not be kept long, except in the ground. If the strike dragged on, identification at the time of relocation could be gruesomely difficult. Thus, reasons Andrejasich, if the workers at St. Casimir were striking on that July morning in 1927, it is quite possible that young Anna Norkus was silently whisked to a temporary interment at Resurrection, and that a rapid decomposition rendered her unidentifiable at the time of exhumation. The result? A mislaid corpse and a most restless eternity, if only one is willing to believe.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Keith Ranville on December 18, 2010, 04:08:52 am
That is so cool. Did you go back to investigate? Does Vancouver have any famous ghosts?

Hi Aimee,

No I did not investigate the matter further? But I did eventually stop at the traffic lights and stood up and pushed up my helmet visor and did a shoulder check in kinda of disbelief? 


Here's a link to some of Vancouver's ghost sites? there's more then whats in the link about vancouver, this and other phenomena's intrigues me.

Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Aimee Kroening on December 29, 2010, 05:22:32 pm
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the link! Vancouver is a very pretty city, I didn't know it had ghosts in it.  I think many of us n the states are in the dark as to just how modern Canadian cities are compared to ours.


Title: Re: Resurrection Mary
Post by: Keith Ranville on December 29, 2010, 05:36:43 pm
Hi Keith,

Thanks for the link! Vancouver is a very pretty city, I didn't know it had ghosts in it.  I think many of us n the states are in the dark as to just how modern Canadian cities are compared to ours.


Hello Aimee,

Vancouver Canada is no different from any other American city, I think every place has its fair share of phenomena? I like investigating mysterious going ons.. I feel unique in doing so.