Case File: Resurrection Cemetery
Location: Justice, Illinois
Date: January 1979
Description: Resurrection Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 150,000 souls near Justice, Illinois on the southwest side of Chicago.
History: Resurrection Cemetery is one of the most famous haunted locations in the United States. Since January 1979, several motorists have described picking up a hitchhiker who vanishes from the back seat. Richard Crowe was a local historian and folklorist at the time of the sighting. "I think that of all the ghost stories worth believing in, Resurrection Mary is the one with the best documentation. The witnesses that I've found are remarkably level-headed. And they're primarily blue collar, middle-class types who have steady jobs and who have no other major claims to psychic encounters in their lives."
The first known case was in 1939 when a Chicago cab driver named Jerry Palus stopped to pick up a female passenger at the front gates of Resurrection Cemetery. He was captivated by the young blonde woman and immediately asked her to the local dance hall. He learned little about her, except that her name was Mary and she lived on the south side of town. He danced with her all night. When it was time to leave, he offered her a ride home to Archer Road. He stopped in front of the cemetery and dropped her off, and it was at that moment that she vanished before his eyes. He admitted he was perplexed, but certainly willing to forgive one unexplained disappearance.Wanting to know more about her, he drove to the house where she said she lived. The woman who answered the door was her mother, but when he asked to see her daughter, she told him that Mary had been dead for five years. "It was then," he said, "that I understood why the woman I was dancing with that night was ice cold to the touch. I had worked in a funeral home for a while and it was the touch of a corpse."
Another famous incident involves two officers on patrol near the cemetery. As they were driving along, they noticed a figure inside the gate and thought someone had been locked inside. They called the caretaker and returned, but she was never found. At the gate where she'd been standing, there were imprints of two small hands in the space of two bent bars.In 1980, Clare Rudnicki was driving along the front of Resurrection Cemetery, when she also spotted Mary. "I really didn't think there was any ghost. You hear these stories and these old ghost tales, but it's never happened to me. I must say I think I'm changing my mind. I was just looking out the window as we were going down the street, and on the right-hand side of the road there was a girl walking. She was bright, very bright, like illuminating. She was just walking very slowly. I remember thinking, 'Oh my god, it's Resurrection Mary.' and I can feel my stomach starting to turn. I was very frightened, I have to admit. It did scare me." Her husband, Mark, was also in the car. They went past the apparition, turned around and came back, and in that amount of time, she had vanished.
In October 1989, Janet Kalal and a friend were out for an evening drive. After about an hour, they found themselves at Resurrection Cemetery. She recalls that a pale young woman stepped in front of the car. There was no impact or bump, but they knew they had hit something. She was all in white and her hair and dress were flowing back, like a stream backwards with a profile of a young woman.
One of the most chilling tales involves a crowd of friends driving near the cemetery. As they came along Archer Road, they looked up and saw the ghostly figure of a woman illuminated by the light in front of the cemetery, but as they looked back, they became terrified and drove away in a hurry. Where her face was supposed to be was nothing but blackness.Background: It is believed Resurrection Mary is the restless spirit of a young woman named Mary Bregovy. She had been killed in a traffic accident in 1934, a month before her 21st birthday and was laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in her favorite white gown. Over the years, she has been seen time and time again, at dance clubs, in taxis, and walking outside the cemetery, looking for someone to take her home.
Extra Notes: This case originally ran on the February 9, 1994 episode.