Saturday, October 23, 2010
Favorite Chicago Ghost Stories
Chicago is one hell of a haunted town, let me tell you. We've got ghosts, spirits, spooks and other lost souls wandering all over the place around here. I'm going to share with you some of my favorites.
Archer Avenue is an old Indian trail and can be very otherworldly in some places. One of those is the stretch near Resurrection Cemetery. Here we have the ghost of a young woman who has come to be known the world over as Resurrection Mary. No one knows who she really was or if her name was even Mary, but the story is this...
In the 1930's motorists driving near the cemetery began reporting sightings of a young woman in a white dress who would appear along the roadside then vanish. Some even reported she attempted to jump on the running boards of their cars. Then accounts began to move further away from the graveyard toward the O'Henry Ballroom which is now the Willowbrook. People claimed to see her on the road there and even inside the ballroom where young men reportedly asked her dance, then would offer her a ride home. She would give directions for north along Archer Avenue, then vanish as the car reached the gates of the cemetery. More harrowing accounts are those of motorists who have claimed to "run over" a young woman in white as jumped out in front of their car. When they get out, she's gone. It's always the same description, a young woman, light blonde hair, blue eyes and in a white party dress.
No one knows for sure who Mary really was. Some say she was Mary Bregovy, a young woman killed in a car accident in 1934 and buried in Resurrection cemetery. But she does not resemble the specter and her accident took place on Wacker Drive, not Archer Avenue. Still others say she's Mary Miskowski, who was struck and killed in October 1930 on her way to a costume party. More recently, Ursula Bielski, has attributed Mary to Anna Marija Norkus, who died in a car accident in 1927 on her way home from the O Henry Ballroom.
We may never know who Mary really was, but sightings of her persist. I love her and hope to see her every time I drive along Archer Avenue. So far, nothing, but I'll keep you posted.
The Red Lion Pub
As a student at DePaul University, I had an occasion or two to visit the Red Lion pub on Lincoln Avenue. This is purportedly the most haunted tavern in Chicago. Some of odd happenings here include a sensation of dizziness when passing by the stained glass window over the stairway. This is followed by the sense of someone standing there with them. The strong scent of lavender is attributed to the spirit of a young retarded girl who died in the building. Other spirits include a strong presence in the ladies' restroom, a man in cowboy clothing, a man who walks upstairs from the downstairs bar, a bearded man in a black hat and a blond-haired man. I've been to this place a lot and one night I thought I smelled lavender, but it may have been the ale and the discussion working on my brain. I prefer to think that I did have my own haunting.
Bachelor Grove Cemetery
This is undeniably the most haunted place in the Chicago area and probably the Midwest. This little abandoned graveyard off the Midlothian Turnpike, is the sight of glowing balls, a young boy's spirit, a woman who walks in the moonlight carrying her baby, a farmer with a horse and plow, a vanishing farmhouse and phantom cars along the road leading to the cemetery.
This poor little graveyard has been the sight of wanton destruction that includes toppling over grave markers and digging up bodies. Bones were sometimes seen strewn around the cemetery. Signs of occult activity in this place includes carvings on the trees, painted symbols on the graves themselves and on the ground. Deep gouges and other evidence of digging can be seen on the graves as well.
People have attempted to film here as recently as 2007 when Troy Taylor and the crew from the show "Cringe" visited. Their digital footage was inexplicably distorted. No one can get a good reception in here. I've been to this area once and could not make myself go past the "No Trespassing" sign that blocks the way a half mile from the cemetery. One day I am determined to go inside, though.