7201 Archer Road
Justice, Illinois 60458
Size: 540 acres
Number of interments: approximately 158,000
Open: everyday 8 am to 7 pm
On the outskirts of Chicago, in Justice, Illinois, lies the massive Resurrection Cemetery. It’s the home of Resurrection Mary.
In the early 1930s, blue-eyed Mary had gone dancing with her boyfriend at the Oh Henry ballroom. After they argued, Mary decided to walk home and cool off. On her way, she was stuck and killed by a car on Archer Avenue. The driver, who fled the scene, was never found.
The first reported sighting of Mary’s ghost was in 1939. Jerry Palus danced with a pretty blond girl, who didn’t talk much, at the Oh Henry Ballroom (named for the candy bar), three miles southwest of the cemetery in Willow Springs. At the end of the evening, Jerry offered her a ride home. On the way to the address she had given him, she vanished from the car.
The next day, when Jerry stopped at the address Mary had given him, her parents told him she had been dead several years.
More than two dozen people have picked Mary up as she walked along Archer Drive. Sometimes she dematerializes from the car as it passes the cemetery. Other times she gets agitated and demands to be let out. Or she flings open her door and races toward the graveyard, vanishing when she reaches the locked iron gate. Sometimes she’s seen on the other side of the fence, walking toward her grave.
If the driver didn’t stop to pick her up, sometimes she’d jump onto the running board. Other times she would run out into the street to flag the car down. More than once, she’s thrown herself into the path of the oncoming car. The driver would feel and hear the collision, but when he went back to help, the body had vanished. People have been seeing a blond girl in a long white dress hitchhike for more than 60 years.
Sightings tapered off in the 1960s. Then on August 10, 1976, the local police got a phone call from a passing motorist who had seen a pale young woman trapped inside the the cemetery. When the cop showed up to investigate, the cemetery was empty. But the center bars of the fence were bent about waist high. A series of indentations, spaced inches apart, looked like fingerprints. The cemetery claimed that a maintenance truck had backed into the fence and bent it, then a repairman had tried to straighten the bars with an acetylene torch. No one bought that explanation.
Graveyards of Chicago says, “Though the cemetery administration had the bars removed and repaired, it is said that the damaged areas will not take paint.”
The free-wheeling phantom known as Resurrection Mary has been traced to a half dozen occupants of this cemetery, all young accident victims buried in the 1920s and 30s. Not all of them named were Mary. The Midnight Society has a really good rundown.
Resurrection Cemetery itself has been described as “sparse, rural, and vast.” However, it’s dominated by the Resurrection Mausoleum, a New Formalist white concrete building that dates to 1969. The building has walls made of dalle de verre stained glass — the largest glass installation in the world.
The glass tells the story of the bible, starting with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden on into the modern day. It ends with satellite dishes, jet planes, and a mushroom cloud.
That frightens me more than a hitchhiking ghost.
Please check out the stained glass photos here: https://chicagomodern.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/a-treasure-trove-of-20th-century-art-resurrection-cemetery-mausoleum/
Resurrection Cemetery’s website: http://www.catholiccemeterieschicago.org/Locations/Details/Resurrection
Ghost Research Society report: http://www.ghostresearch.org/sites/resurrection.html
Other Illinois cemeteries on Cemetery Travel: