Resurrection Mary hardly needs an introduction. Ever since the late 1930s, she has been hitching rides along Archer Avenue in southwest suburban Chicago. Her story has appeared in books, television shows, songs, and feature films. After decades of avoiding the press, she finally sits down for this tell-all interview with the Legends and Lore of Illinois!
L&L: First, we would like to thank you for agreeing to do this interview. It must have taken a lot of courage to come out into the public eye after all these years.
Mary: The pleasure is all mine. After so many decades of rumors and stories, it’s time to set the record straight!
L&L: The first question on everyone’s mind is, of course, who were you in life? People have thrown names out there like Mary Bregovy, Mary Miskowski, or even Anna Norkus. Do any of these come close?
Mary: The truth is, my name isn’t even close to being Mary. It’s actually Agnieska, but none of the Italian boys could pronounce that so they just called me “Mary.” Everyone thinks I was going to a dance when I got hit by that car, but really my mama sent me to that ballroom to bring Beata, my lousy sister, home. She always stayed out too late. I always knew she would be the death of me!
L&L: Fascinating. So is there any truth to the legend that guys will bring you home only to find out the next day that you were killed in a car crash?
Mary: No, I’m not sure how that rumor got started. I hear there’s some tramp that goes around hitching rides up on Harlem Avenue. Maybe she takes guys home, but I sure don’t. (Ed. Note: Mary seems to be referring to Chicago’s “flapper ghost”)
L&L: Wait, so there’s no truth to the story that Jerry Paulus gave you a ride home from Liberty Grove Hall and Ballroom in Brighton Park and you vanished from his car around Resurrection Cemetery? Some people claim that you told him where you lived and he went there the next day, only to be told by your mother that you were deceased.
Mary: Please. He wishes. There was a reason I said he couldn’t follow me into the cemetery!
L&L: At the Legends and Lore of Illinois, we’ve noticed that your attire changes a lot depending on who is telling the story. Some people say you wear a white dress with silk shoes, others say they are leather shoes, and some people even claim you wear a shawl. Where do you get all these clothes? Is there a supernatural department store somewhere?
Mary: That’s a stupid question. I’m a ghost, I can wear whatever I want! Just because I’m dead, doesn’t mean I don’t have any fashion sense.
L&L: Uh, sorry. So what do you do all day when you aren’t looking for a ride?
Mary: Oh, I just frequent my old haunts.
L&L: Let us set the stage. It’s a hot summer night. August 10, 1976. A police officer drives past Resurrection Cemetery and sees you behind the gate, clutching the bars. The next day, the bars were bent with finger-like indentations in them. What happened?
Mary: It’s actually quite embarrassing. Usually when I hitch a ride back to the cemetery, I make sure that my keys are with me. But that particular night I accidentally left them at Chet’s Melody Lounge, so by the time I realized my mistake, I got locked in the cemetery!
L&L: But if you’re a ghost, can’t you just pass through solid objects?
Mary: Well, duh, if I had known that at the time I wouldn’t have had to bend the bars, would I?
For more information on Resurrection Cemetery and the legend of Resurrection Mary, check out Vol. 1 Issue 6 of the Legends and Lore of Illinois, available to download for free as a .pdf! This issue includes full color pictures, and in-depth exploration of the history and mystery surrounding Mary, as well as an account of The Fallen’s adventures as they investigate this enduring legend. (download the .pdf)