Resurrection Mary. Her name has captivated many people in the Chicago land area for more than 60 years. There is even a song called, “The Ballad of Resurrection Mary.” But what happened to make this ghost so famous? Who was this woman that has supposedly done everything from jump on the running boards of cars passing by to dance with unsuspecting boys at the nearby Willowbrook ballroom?
The answer is….no one knows. Two major candidates emerge from the list of literally dozens of women. A woman named Mary Bregovy is the first candidate, having been killed in an auto wreck in 1934 on the way out to dance with some boys. According to a friend, the boys Mary was riding with the night she was killed were, “wild boys.” This story explains both why she is interested in dancing and why she seems to enjoy riding in cars. The fact that Mary was willing to ride with these “wild boys” shows that she is a free spirit, and the type of person that would rebel at being killed with so much life left to live. The problem with this theory is that Bregovy was killed on the north side of the city, far from the south west Willowbrook ballroom.
Another possible Mary wasn’t named Mary at all. She was named Anna Norkus. She was a 12 year old girl who was taken dancing by her father to celebrate her 13th birthday. The pair went to the Oh Henry, which later became the infamous Willowbrook ballroom. On the way home, Anna and her father’s car spilled into an unmarked and unseen 25 foot railroad cut (proving that road construction sucked long before now) Norkus was killed instantly, and supposedly became the ghost of resurrection Mary, constantly going out to dance and never returning home. The problem with this story is that Anna Norkus at 13 is far from the more mature late teen/20 something most of the men report seeing.
There are various other reports of “Mary’s” being Resurrection Mary, ranging from girls killed outside the cemetery itself after stealing her parents car to visit her boyfriend for some late night dancing to a girl killed on the south side by a passing car on or near Halloween. Personally, and for purposes of the stories I am writing for my final class project on Mary, I am using Mary Bregovy- but this is based purely on dramatic effect, not on any facts. The truth is, we may never know who the real Mary is, or why she keeps coming back to earth to dance and scare teenage boys instead of resting in peace.
Chicago Haunts by Urslula Bielski was used to get the names and facts of the women mentioned above.