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Chicago's top paranormal author announces the Resurrection Mary & Hauntings of Archer Avenue tour
by Edward Shanahan
Chicago's top paranormal author, Ms. Ursula Bielski announced that she will host the special tour she created a few years back and was the original one to be called the Resurrection Mary& the Hauntings of Archer Avenue tour and it will take place on Saturday December 12th.2009
Few roads in the world rival the super-haunted reputation of Chicago's Archer Avenue, home to some of the city's most legendary ghost stories, including the most famous Vanishing Hitchhiker on earth, Resurrection Mary. This road was constructed by poor Irish immigrants --builders of the controversial and ill-funded Illinois & Michigan Canal-- who laid down the road over an ancient Indian trail known for its spiritual powers. The slave like conditions of their labor, their deaths from hunger, thirst, disease and violence: all live on in the deep folklore of this storied region.
Now you can join with Ursula Bielski for a very special trip down this fabled road, when you will travel from its beginnings in haunted Chinatown to its darkest burial ground: the mournful churchyard of St. James at Sag Bridge. Along the way you will get to see Kaiser Hall in old Bridgeport, where the Devil himself once came to dance.
You will see the home of Mary Bregovy - believed by some to be the source of the Resurrection Mary legend. She will tell the tales of the abandoned Union Stockyards, where Mary worked in the factories of Packingtown, and pass the funeral home which prepared her body for burial. Late into the evening, you will view the Willowbrook Ballroom, famed stomping ground of Chicago's most famous ghost, and other locations.
Edward Shanahan will be joining Ursula once it arrives on the suburban S.W.Side. Shanahan has lived his whole life within 5 minutes of the S.W. Sides most haunted suburban locations, some that are not even visited by other paranormal tours.
During the night he also plans on providing readings to determine if individuals are an old or new soul, telekinesis demonstrations and his knowledge about the paranormal activities and area that he has lived in all his life.
Edward L. Shanahan
Spiritual Observer - Psychic Reader - Paranormalist - Chicago land area.
Edward Shanahan is a Psychic Reader, does Conscious Channeling and has been called a Spiritual Observer. He has been written about in four
paranormal books. Sunday nights he co-hosts the Internet radio show 'The Unexplained World'. He does Psychic Reading and Séance Parties in the
Chicago land area and also is involved in group tours of paranormallocations.
Many cities around the world have a multitude of ghost tours going on at anyone time. So as Chicago is a very haunted city there is only one ghost tour that one should ever take and of course that is the best the city has to offer. The state of Illinois is a very haunted state as we all know but the most and best hauntings are always show cased by the best tour in town The Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tour!
I must honestly say that in taking this tour I was more then delighted and entertained. Ursula Bielski in my book hosts the very best the windy city has to offer.
Many believe locals believe that if you want the truth about who this ghost is and what the paranormal activity is all about then Ursula Bielski is the best there is in explaining the haunting. On Bielski's The Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours you will certainly hear all about the many appearances of the ghost of Resurrection Mary. And after all she is the most sought after reported as real ghost in the state of Illinois.
Resurrection Mary is a famous ghost story and is considered by many to be the original hitchhiker ghost story. It takes place around the Chicago area in Justice, Illinois. Many travelers down Archer Avenue -- a street which runs through the city of Chicago -- and its South Suburbs, have reported seeing a young blonde girl walking by, some who have seen her have claimed to even have given her a ride. The girl is said to be very quiet once picked up and disappears once the driver passes the gates of Resurrection Cemetery in Justice Illinois.
The very first, first-person account came from Jerry Palus, a south-side man who recently died. He picked up a girl at the Liberty Grove and Hall near 47th and Mozart and danced with her the entire evening. The only strange thing is that she was very cold to the touch. Later she asked for a ride home which was somewhere in the Bridgeport area of Chicago but decided she'd like to go for a ride past the large Catholic cemetery along Archer Avenue, Resurrection. As they began to approach the main gates, she began to act very strangely. She told Jerry to pull the car off the road and, for some reason, she had to run toward the cemetery and that Jerry could not follow. Before he knew what was happening, she darted from the car, ran towards the main gates but disappeared before reaching those gates in plain view of Jerry. He then began to put all of this together and surmised that he had been with a ghost that evening. On a later visit to the home of Mary, he was greeted by a woman who told him that her daughter had been dead for sometime. He even saw a picture of her sitting on a table and was convinced that she was the same girl he had been with. However, that was impossible!
Resurrection Cemetery is located at 7600 S. Archer Ave. in Justice, Illinois.
Resurrection Mary Legend
One of the many legends of Resurrection Mary is that she was a young Polish girl, perhaps named Mary Bregovy. Even though Bregovy was killed in an auto accident in 1934, it is unlikely that she was returning home from the Oh Henry Ballroom/Willowbrook Ballroom, as some have claimed. The accident in which she was killed took place on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The car that she was riding in collided with an elevated train support and she was thrown through the windshield. This is a far cry from being killed by a hit-and-run driver on Archer Avenue.
Others have claimed that Mary was actually the ghost of a young woman named Mary Miskowski, who was killed crossing the street one night in October 1930 on her way to a costume party.
Reprinted from the Suburban Trib, January 31, 1979 and written by Bill Geist:
"It was Thursday night - would have been two weeks ago - and I was lost, basically," says Ralph , a cab driver.
"I'd dropped this big spender way the hell down in Palos Heights or Hills or someplace like that and was trying to make my way back to the tollway. I'd just turned on to Archer, down there where it's still a lonely road, especially at midnight.
"And there she was. She was standing there with no coat on by the entrance to this little shopping center. No coat! And it was one of those real cold ones, too.
"She didn't put out her thumb or nothing like that. She just looked at my cab. Of course, I stopped. I figured maybe she had car trouble or something.
"She hopped right in the front seat. She had on this fancy kind of white dress, like she'd just been to a wedding or something, and those new kind of disco-type shoes, with the straps and that.
"She was a looker. A blond. I didn't have ideas or like that; she was young enough to be my daughter - 21 tops.
"I asked her where she was going and she said she had to get home. I asked her what was wrong, if she'd had car trouble or what but she really didn't answer me. She was fuzzy. Maybe she'd had a couple of drinks or something or was just tired. I don't know.
"Oh, the only thing she did say really was 'The snow came early this year' or 'The snows came early this year' or like that. Other than that she just nodded when I asked sometimes if we were supposed to just keep going up Archer. She was just looking out the window at the snow and the trees and that. Her mind was a million miles away.
Maybe she smoked something or something. Who knows?
"A couple miles up Archer there, she jumped with a start like a horse and said 'Here! Here!' I hit the brakes.
"I looked around and didn't see no kind of house. 'Where?' I said. And then she sticks out her arm and points across the road to my left and says 'There!'
"And that's when it happened.
"I looked to my left, like this, at this little shack. And when I turned she was gone.
"And the car door never opened. May the good Lord strike me dead, it never opened."
I hope Ralph is reading this, because I've learned since talking with him that there's a simple explanation for what happened.
He was understandably upset - and not just about being stiffed for the fare - both when he told me the story over the phone and when he repeated it in person.
He wouldn't tell me his last name. He wouldn't give me his telephone number or let me see the car he was going to leave in. "You might trace my phone or my plates and put my name in the paper and make me look like a maniac or an idiot," he said. "No way. I'll call you."
He says he is not an idiot or a maniac, but rather "a typical 52-year-old working guy, a veteran, father, Little League baseball coach, churchgoer, the whole shot."
This simple explanation, Ralph is that you picked up the Chicago area's preeminent ghost: Resurrection Mary. All you have to do to accept this explanation and start resting easy is to start believing in ghosts - something you seem reluctant to do.
I hadn't heard of her either when we talked. But Resurrection Mary is a legend and has been one - particularly in the Polish neighborhoods on the Southwest side and southwest suburbs of Chicago - for about 40 years. There have been numerous reported encounters with her in that time.
The ballroom was closed Friday, January 12, and for about two weeks thereafter, owing to the blizzard. But Thursday the 11th it was open until midnight, an estimated ten minutes before Ralph says he picked up his gowned hitchhiker three blocks north.
It was a special night in the ballroom: a single night, for those without escorts to come and dance the waltz and the foxtrot just the way they did here for 40 years.
Other theories suggest that Resurrection Mary is the ghost of a twelve-year-old Polish girl named Anna Norkus, who called herself Marija (Mary) in devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. "Marija" loved dancing and persuaded her father to take her to the Oh Henry Ballroom/Willowbrook Ballroom as a birthday present. However, they were both in a car accident on the way home, an accident which killed "Marija." This leads some to claim that Resurrection Mary is really Anna "Marija" Norkus. However, Resurrection Mary's dance partners are the first to vigorously note that their spectral date was closer to eighteen or twenty than to twelve or thirteen years old. Other researchers have turned up stories of girls named Mary who died on or near Archer Avenue, but none of them precede the first sightings in the 1930s.
The entrance to Resurrection Cemetery is recessed from the road. These gates were closed when a person driving by afterdark reported seeing a young woman trapped inside, clutching the bars. Hand prints found on the bars the next day were attributed to Resurrection Mary.That building you see straight ahead is NOT a mausoleum. It is the cemetery offices and is where the rest rooms and other conveniences are located. NEVER ask about "Resurrection Mary" in the office. No they want nothing to do with the "legend" and will not answer any questions about it.
Resurrection Mary (Trailer) - starring Kevin G. Schmidt
Starring Kevin G. Schmidt, Sally Kirkland and introducing Pamela Jean as Mary.
"On a trip down Archer Avenue, you never know who you might run into, or fall in love with."
Reports of Mary have been going on for years but seem to have stopped around the early 1980s when Archer Avenue underwent severe construction. The original road that Mary is said to have walked down has since been raised and changed and believers suggest that this may have stopped the walking of her spirit. Despite this reports still show up occasionally from people seen the apparition walking from time to time. She has also reportedly burned her handprints into the gate at the cemetery. These prints apparently could not be painted over until the fence was removed.
She is always encountered as, and perceived to be a real living person - in fact she is categorized as a "Vanishing Hitchhiker Ghost."
Several people have reported picking up this pretty lone hitchhiker and taking her to or from the ballroom. As their car passes Resurrection Cemetery, she usually vanishes into thin air before the startled driver's very eyes.
Resurrection Mary is described as appearing to be a real, living person, pale and blonde with rosy cheeks, speaking very little, and wearing a delicate white 1920's style ball gown. Sometimes they say a chill seems to emanate from her body.
Resurrection Mary's story may have inspired similar legends in other cities. One such story, written in 1965 by fifteen-year-old Cathie Harmon for a Memphis, Tennessee newspaper, was picked up by psychologist-songwriter Milton Addington, who used it as the basis for Dickey Lee's song Laurie (Strange Things Happen In This World).
It's a classic ghost story. A young man spends an evening dancing with a girl he has just met. He offers to drive her home, but she insists on getting out of the car when they pass the cemetery gates. She runs off towards the cemetery and disappears. In many versions of the story, the boy discovers the true nature of his dancing partner when he tracks down the girl's parents who tell him their daughter died several years before. But though the story has many variations, they have their origin in the real-life encounter of Jarry Palus who, in 1936, met Chicago's most famous ghost -- Resurrection Mary.
The first documented sighting of Resurrection Mary was in 1936 when the aforementioned Jerry Palus danced with a young woman at the Liberty Grove Hall in Chicago (now demolished). He offered to drive her home, and Mary directed him to Archer Avenue. When they reached the gates of Resurrection Cemetery, Mary said she had to leave him and warned him he could not follow her. She ran from the car, vanishing as she reached the cemetery gates. Later, in 1939, late-night motorists driving along Archer Ave. complained to police that a woman had tried to jump onto the running boards of their cars.
This stretch of Archer Avenue is part of Resurrection Mary's territory. Mary, the hitchhiking ghost, is picked up by drivers and disappears as they drive past Resurrection Cemetery.
The greatest and most well-documented Resurrection Mary sighting occurred in 1976 when a police sergeant from the Justice Police Department received a late-night phone call from someone claiming a blonde woman in a white dress had been locked inside Resurrection Cemetery and was wandering around just inside the gates. Convinced it was a hoax, the police sergeant arrived at the cemetery only to discover that two of the bronze bars of the cemetery gate had been pried apart. The bars were scarred by scorch marks that bore the unmistakable impression of finger and palm prints. The phenomenon received widespread attention. A year later cemetery employees removed the two bars, sending them away to be blow-torched and straightened. The bars were replaced, but a single depression still remains which many believe is a lingering thumbprint.
On October 10, 1979 there was a massive blackout in and along Archer Avenue but only in Justice. Commonwealth Edison and the police were riding around in the cemetery shining their light in the mausoleum because it was determined that the blackout was centered in the mausoleum in the middle of the night.
Believers say the best time to catch a glimpse of Mary is in the early morning hours, preferably on a full moon night. It also doesn't hurt if you're a man because almost all of the documented sightings of Resurrection Mary have been by men. She may try to hitch a ride, or you might see her walking along the side of the road near the cemetery fence. But no matter who she once was or what form her appearance, she still remains Chicago's most well-known and best-loved ghost.
The Willowbrook Ballroom was formerly known as the O'HenryBallroom. Legend has it that Mary and her friends were dancing here on the cold January night she died in a tragic auto accident. A few years after her death, Mary was reported to dance with young men at the O'Henry. She'd request a ride home and disappear from the vehicle while passing Resurrection Cemetery.
Resurrection Mary Sources
Bielski, Ursula. Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 1998.
Crowe, Richard T. Chicago's Street Guide to the Supernatural. Oak Park, IL: Carolando Press, 2000.
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