“Resurrection Mary,” which appeared on Ian Hunter’s 1996 album The Artful Dodger, recounts the famous Chicago ghost story involving about a vanishing hitchhiker who is periodically sited near the Resurrection Cemetery in southwest suburban Justice. Legend has it that the hitchhiker is the ghost of a young girl killed by an automobile in the late 1920s or early 1930s while trying to get away from her boyfriend.
Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This young woman is dressed somewhat formally in a white party dress and is said to have light blond air and blue eyes. There are other reports that she wears a thin shawl, dancing shoes, carries a small clutch purse, and/or that she is very quiet. When the driver nears the Resurrection Cemetery, the young woman asks to be let out, whereupon she disappears into the cemetery. According to the Chicago Tribune, “full-time ghost hunter” Richard Crowe has collected “three dozen . . . substantiated” reports of Mary from the 1930s to the present.
As for toxicology, the narrator in the song relates that he formerly worked for Mickey Finn, the legendary Chicago bartender who pioneered the use of chloral hydrate as a knockout drop. In addition, given the narrator’s drinking history as described in the first verse, the entire encounter with Resurrection Mary might have been an alcohol-related hallucination.
Watch as the Travel Channel retells the tale of Resurrection Mary:
And for more Chicago ghost stories: