In Defense of Resurrection Mary

Brief History: Chicago urban legend declares that in the late 1930s a man was driving down a dark road. He picks up a young woman, a pretty hitchhiker in a white dress, and as soon as they near Resurrection Cemetery, she disappears. The story has been slightly altered over the decades. Sometimes she’s found at a dance hall since the story is that she was leaving such an establishment when she was kill by a hit-and-run driver. Sometimes she is walking outside of the cemetery gates until a driver, worried that they nearly struck her, stops. Then, she vanishes again. Three theories have come to light of who this poor ghost girl may be: Mary Bregovy who died in a car crash in 1934 or Ona Anna "Marija" Norkus killed in a different car crash in 1927 OR Mary Miskowski who was hit while crossing a road in 1930.

Analysis: Some of the versions of sightings make “Mary” a flirt. She dances and kisses the man who will escort her home. I, personally, find this part of the story less believable than simply driving a ghost home. This feels to me like some kind of pseudo-romaticism machismo where it’s not enough to have seen a ghost, but they had to make out with her as well. Another interesting piece of analysis is when her story has been used in cheesy horror movies. Instead of simply being the girl looking for a ride to her resting place, she’ s vengeful spirit. The story is already a sad one without making her embittered.

Blame it on the Great Depression: Hitchhiker ghosts have been a common staple of industrialized countries since the 1920s, ever since cars went fast enough to cause deaths. The story of dancing all night to forget the sorrows of the bank failures and lack of jobs was another common theme of the time. Dance halls were cheap entertainment for the young who were still trying to hold onto the last of the flapper days. Ghost stories are another cheap entertainment. Could this have been another story starting because the people needed a distraction? Or was the depression of the era enough to keep a woman’s spirit pinned to her last night out?

Last Thoughts: Stop picking up hitchhikers, people! Alive or not, that’s just not smart.