BUILT: c. 1830
Archer Avenue (also called Archer Road) is located outside of the Chicago, Illinois city limits that runs between Chicago’s Chinatown and Lockport, Illinois. It was named for William Beatty Archer, the first commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. A map of Chicago from around 1830 listed the road that later became Archer Avenue as “The Road to Widow Brown’s”.
Along Archer Avenue is the main gate of Resurrection Cemetery, home to the ghost “Resurrection Mary”. Researchers have made attempts to find out Mary’s real identity by looking through the graves of the cemetery. The most supported identity is that of Mary Bregovy, who died in a car accident in 1934 in the Chicago Loop. Ursula Bielski, a Chicago author, documented in 1999 that the woman’s identity may have been Anna “Marija” Norkus, who died in 1927 in a car accident while returning home from the Oh Henry Ballroom.
Mary Bregovy’s story begins one night out dancing with her boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom. The couple got into an argument, and Mary stormed off. Even despite the coldness of that particular winter night, she preferred walking through the chilly air than to be with her boyfriend.
On her way home down Archer Avenue, she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who fled the scene, never to be found. Mary’s parents were devastated after finding her body on the road. She was buried in Resurrection Cemetery in a beautiful white dancing dress with matching shoes.
In 1939, a man from the south side of Chicago named Jerry Palus met a person who he believed was Resurrection Mary. He met her at the Liberty Grove and Hall at 47th and Mozart (which was not the Oh Henry Ballroom). There, they danced and kissed, and she asked him to drive her home along Archer Avenue. She exited the car in front of Resurrection Cemetery, disappearing right before Palus’ eyes.
Thirty-four years later in 1973, Resurrection Mary appeared at Harlow’s Nightclub, located on Cicero Avenue on the southwest side of Chicago. Later that same year, a cab driver went into Chet’s Melody Lounge, located directly across the street from Resurrection Cemetery, in order to find out more about a young woman who had left without paying for her ride.
Resurrection Mary had sightings in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1989, each of the incident involving cars hitting or nearly hitting her apparition, with all of the appearances being outside of the cemetery. By the time the drivers leave the car, Mary disappears.
In August, 1976, Mary allegedly burned her handprints into the iron fence around the cemetery, though the officials believe that a truck caused the damage rather than a ghost. Columnist Bill Geist wrote an article in the Suburban Trib in a January 31st, 1979 article. In it, he told about a cab driver named Ralph who picked up a young woman he described as “A looker. A blonde…she was young enough to be my daughter – 21 tops”, near a small shopping mall along Archer Avenue.
He said: “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. Vanished! And the car door never opened. May the good Lord strike me dead, it never opened.”
While there have been no famous reports of Resurrection Mary lately, sightings still occur today along the famous Archer Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.
In Popular Culture
- Archer Avenue was featured on Most Terrifying Places in America 3.