Culture

Tales from the Trail: Resurrection Mary

For over 80 years, Chicago's Archer Avenue has been haunted by Resurrection Mary, an aloof spirit in a flowing white dress.

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Location: Justice, IL, a suburb of Chicago

Trail: Archer Avenue

Just southwest of Chicago is the suburb of Justice, Ill., the home of the Windy City’s most famous ghost: Resurrection Mary.

Since the 1930s, men traveling along Archer Avenue have reported bizarre and otherworldly encounters with an aloof young woman all dolled up in a white dress and dancing shoes who seems to be very much a real, live woman. Until of course she vanishes at the gates of Resurrection Cemetery after requesting a lift home.

For example, several young men out on the town for some dancing and drinking met a gorgeous, but cold, young woman with blonde and and blue eyes. Naturally, they tried to engage her in conversation and some dancing, which she obliged to. When the evening came to an end she asked for a ride home, and gave the driver vague directions to head north along Archer Avenue where she simply vanished from the car right at the cemetery gates. After doing a bit of research, the bewildered men were informed that the girl they had spent the evening with had been killed in a car accident some time before they had encountered her. Over the years young men would continue to experience similar instances.

There have also been sightings of Mary hitchhiking alone down Archer Avenue looking absolutely helpless. Eventually when a car stops to offer her a ride, which she accepts, she asks to be let off at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice where she vanishes through the graveyard’s gates.

While the vanishing hitchhiker tale is a common theme in folklore, full-time ghost hunter Richard Crowe has allegedly collected “three dozen substantiated” reports of Mary from the 1930s to present according to an article published in the Chicago Tribune.

Justice puts on a Resurrection Mary Halloween 5K to celebrate the famous ghost. The nationally certified course winded through the village’s streets taking runners onto Archer Avenue made famous by the supernatural legend.

 Check out the complete Tales from the Trail collection here.