Resurrection Mary is the ghost of a young woman who has reportedly been seen since the 1930's. The story takes on the form of a 'phantom hitchhiker' and 'roadside ghost', but with so many sightings and other strange phenomena surrounding it, could it be more than just a legend?
Sightings of Resurrection Mary
This stretch of wood studded road travels between the Willowbrook Ballroom, and Resurrection Cemetery, and since the 1930's travellers have witnessed the form of a young lady in a white dress appear out of nowhere, standing at the side of the road or jumping out at the car, before vanishing into thin air.
However, the earliest forms of the stories and reported experiences are not of the phantom hitchhiker variety, but are rather of the haunted passenger variety.
At the end of the night this young lady asked Palus to drive her home, along Archer Avenue. Palus was more then happy to oblige his new found date for the evening and off they went. However, when they got to Resurrection Cemetery the young lady asked that the car be stopped, she then exited and disappeared, right in front of Jerry Palus’ eyes...
This is one of the earliest sightings of the ghost of the girl in a white dress, who would later become known as 'Resurrection Mary'.
Although Mary would be reported on occasion throughout the 40's, 50's and 60's, it was not until the 1970's and onwards, that sightings started to occur more frequently.
The experience of those who meet Mary generally follow one of three flavours:
1. They meet at a ballroom or nightclub only to have Mary disappear on them along the stretch of Archer Avenue in front of Resurrection Cemetery;
2. She appears suddenly out of nowhere, to be almost struck by a car passing the Resurrection Cemetery (she is long gone before the motorist exits the vehicle to check); or
3. She is seen along the 4 mile stretch of road between the cemetery and the Willowbrook Ballroom, hitchhiking for a ride, only to disappear when the motorist pulls up.
Mystery of the Wrought Iron Bars
In August 1976, a driver was passing the cemetery, when he noticed a girl standing behind the gates. She was wearing a long white dress and was grasping the iron bars. Understandably, the driver stopped at a nearby police station and informed the officer on duty of what he had seen.
The officer went to the cemetery and the girl was gone, however two bars were slightly bent out of shape and pulled apart, the iron was scorched, and within the scorch marks was seen the impression of fingerprints.
It would have taken extreme heat to have damaged the bars in such way. With the story getting out, and the bars becoming a tourist attraction, the cemetery released their official story of events stating that a truck had accidentally backed into the fence, with the exhaust scorching the bars.
Who is Resurrection Mary?
But who could Resurrection Mary be?
The identity of Mary has been thoroughly explored. With such an enduring legend, many folklorists and investigators have researched her possible identity. Although several theories have been released, it is thought Mary is possibly one of the folowing three people.
Ona Marija Norkus (upper inset picture) (1914 – 1927) - Marija Norkus was travelling down Archer Avenue with some family and friends. They had just passed the cemetery when the car went off the road and into a ditch. Twelve year old Marija was killed instantly, while several of the other passengers received non-life threatening injuries. It is said they were returning from a night at the O'Henry Ballroom.
Mary Bregovy (lower inset picture) (1913 – 1934) - Mary, 21, was killed in a car crash while returning home with friends from the O'Henry Ballroom (now Willowbrook Ballroom). It was a caretaker of the cemetery who started the claims that it was Mary Bregovny who was haunting Archer Avenue and several of the ballrooms and clubs in the area.
Mary Miskowski (? - 1930) - Young Mary Miskowski was killed while crossing the road on her way to a costume party.
'May you have peace Mary'
'Mary, you were taken at a young age. Not sure what your unfinished business is, but you need to rest so that you can reunite with the rest of your family. May god bless you and may you find the peace that you need. '
'I have just started reading the story of Resurrection Mary. If she is still around, she needs to cross over. The only reason I think she is staying around is for revenge of the person that killed her. I don't know the whole story, but, I'm sure it was just an accident. He didn't mean to kill her. She shouldn't hold a grudge, and needs to cross-over. Please Mary, let everyone have some peace, and you need to as well. '
'R.I.P Mary. Please keep a eye on my baby nephew Jeremy and recently his older brother Jonathan. I miss them so much'
There are many other messages like these left on a regular basis. It would seem that the grave/memorial marker of Mary Brugovny has become an almost pilgrimage site for spook spotters, thrill seekers and folklorists.
Just remember that if you do choose to pay a visit, Resurrection Cemetery is in fact just that, a cemetery, and Archer Avenue is also a somewhat busy roadway. Be careful and respectful.
So has the identity of Resurrection Mary been revealed here, as one of these three young women who died under tragic circumstances, only to come back and visit the world of the living?
Is it someone else entirely?
Or is it all just legend?