A ghost called Resurrection Mary haunts the city of Chicago.

Mary’s ghost was sited by the cemetery

Mary has been sited at a local dance hall

CASE DETAILS

In January of 1979, a Chicago cab driver stopped to pick up a female passenger at the front gates of Resurrection Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 150,000 souls.  But before he could let her in, the mysterious woman disappeared.  The cab driver had just met Chicago’s most famous ghost, Resurrection Mary.

Richard Crowe was a local historian and folklorist at the time of the sighting:

“I think that of all the ghost stories worth believing in, Resurrection Mary is the one with the best documentation.  The witnesses that I’ve found are remarkably level-headed.  And they’re primarily blue collar, middle-class types who have steady jobs and who have no other major claims to psychic encounters in their lives.”

Jerry Palus gave Mary’s ghost a ride home

As the story goes, the first person to ever encounter Resurrection Mary was Jerry Palus.  The year was 1939.  The place…a Chicago dance hall where Jerry was a regular.

Jerry was captivated by a young blonde woman and immediately asked her to dance.  He learned little about her, except that her name was Mary and she lived on the south side of town.  He danced with the young woman all night. When it was time to leave, Jerry offered Mary a ride home.

Before his death in 1992, Jerry was interviewed about his encounter with Resurrection Mary.  He described the events of that evening:

“As we walked along to the street she says well you might as well take me down to Archer Road.  And I said what for?  I said you live up here where you told me.   And she says no I want to go out to Archer Road.”

Jerry stopped in front of Resurrection Cemetery and let Mary out of the car.  It was at that moment that she vanished before his eyes. Jerry admitted he was perplexed, but certainly willing to forgive one unexplained disappearance. 

Actual article about Mary Bregovy’s death

Still wanting to know more about the mysterious woman, the very next day Jerry drove to the house where Mary had said she lived.  Jerry found the house with little trouble.  The woman who answered the door was Mary’s mother.  When Jerry asked if he could see her daughter, the woman told him that Mary had been dead for five years.

According to Richard Crowe, it then dawned on Jerry that Mary was no ordinary woman:

“It’s then, Jerry said, that he understood why the woman he was dancing with that night was ice cold to the touch. He had worked in a funeral home for a while and it was the touch of a corpse.”

Years later, Richard Crowe learned the ghost was believed to be the restless spirit of a young woman named Mary Bregovy.  Mary Bregovy had been killed in a traffic accident in 1934, a month before her 21st birthday.  She was laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in her favorite white gown.

Over the years, Resurrection Mary has been seen time and time again, at dance clubs, in taxis, and walking outside the cemetery, looking for someone to take her home.

In 1980, Clare Rudnicki was driving along the front of Resurrection Cemetery, when she too spotted Mary:

“I really didn’t think there was any ghost.  You hear these stories and these old ghost tales but it’s never happened to me.  But now I must say I think I’m changing my mind.
I was just looking out the window as we were going down the street.  And on the right hand-side of the road there was a girl walking.  She was bright, very bright, like illuminating.  She was just walking very slowly.  I remember thinking oh my god it’s Resurrection Mary.  And I can feel my stomach starting to turn.  I was very frightened, I have to admit.  It did scare me.”

Clare’s husband, Mark Rudnicki, was also in the car:

“We all went past it, turned around and came back and by the time we’d gotten back to where we’d originally seen her it had gone.  Vanished.” 

In October of 1989, Janet Kalal and a friend were out for an evening drive.  After about an hour, they found themselves at Resurrection Cemetery.  It was then, Janet recalled, that a pale young woman stepped in front of the car:

“There was no impact, there was no… bump to say that you know I had hit something.  But I know she ran out… and I hit her.  She was all in white and her hair and the dress were… flowing back.  It was like a stream backwards, you know away from her.  And I just saw this profile of a young woman.”

Does the ghost of Mary Bregovy really haunt Chicago? Or is Resurrection Mary just an urban myth?  In any case, should you find yourself driving in the city late one night and happen to spot a pale young woman in a flowing white gown, you might think twice about offering her a ride.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Robert Stack and in season three with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

46 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I’d date that girl, no matter she’s a ghost. Totally no luck with living ones..

    Reply

    • Andrew

      Me too. She seems like a kind, affectionate spirit.

      Reply

      • Maria

        The waman is lost she need to know she’s dead that’s all that is wrong whit her she need help after so many years can someone go to her. Amidium and taolk to her and send her free pleas.

        Reply

  2. Leigh

    Regardless of what it is that makes up the life of a ‘ghost’, it seems like wandering around lost and lonely for all time would be a very despondent, depressing, frightening, confusing, heartbreaking way to spend eternity. I wouldn’t wish that barren existence on my worst enemy. Maybe that constitutes the punishment of hell for some individuals.

    Reply

  3. Mary

    I am Mary… you may not know when I’m coming, but I’m there. You drive on my street and I will see you. Good luck!!!

    Reply

  4. Anonymous

    I forgot to mention in my last post that in The Bible, God often talks about the “Peacefulness” & “Restlessness” of Human Souls. Those that believe in Him tend to have “peace” in their soul, while those who don’t believe in Him &/or resist Him seem to be “restless”.

    Reply

  5. Black Bieber

    Resurrection Mary’s spirit during that 50 year period (1939 – 1989) seemed to be at some type of “unrest”, as ghosts who (are witnessed by living beings) wander around very often seem to have some “unfinished business” that they obviously can’t finish but wish they could finish. Although it seems unlikely due to the her spirit’s “restlessness”, hopefully, Mary Bergovy (born 1912 – died 1934) believed in God. Also, although this program stated that Mary died “a month before her 21st Birthday”, if her info from Ancestry.com is correct, then she was already 21 years old & would’ve turned 22 years old a month later when she died.

    Reply

  6. carlos

    I bought a vhs copy of ghosts of chicago with richard crowe,the jerry palus interview was on it and was only 5 minutes long with not enough info,my question is how true was the palus account? was the girl`s name really mary or did palus think it was?what was the real palus story ?and how much was embellished by the unsolved mystery show?did palus really visit the address the next day?my problem is that all researchers believe all the accounts without questioning if it`s fake.

    Reply

  7. Otis

    That’s right Martyn. But that Mary doesn’t match the description of other accounts of the hitchhiking Mary. Those that seen the hitchhiking Mary seen pictures of (Gerry’s) Mary and they said that’s not her. Is it possible that there is more than one Resurection Mary? I saw the Gerry Palus interview on TV but I can’t recall if it was mentioned that others in the dance hall seen Gerry with her. Does anyone know? I’m not trying to be a skeptic. Just wondering.

    Reply

  8. Martyn Wigmore

    I don’t think there is any mystery as to resurrection Mary’s identity. Resurrection Mary gave Gerry Palus her address, and her parents confirmed that Mary had lived there up to five years ago, then she died.

    Reply

  9. Otis

    Much research has been done on this. It is still confusing what deceased person is the actual ghost named Mary. The sightings of her wondering around the Justice area describe her as having blonde hair and blue eyes but Jerry Palus describes her and the picture he seen of her where she lived, as different. Brown hair. Some researchers believe it is actually Anna Norkus who danced at the ballroom (now known as Willowbrook Ballroom) and was unfortunately killed in a car wreck on Harlem Ave. on her way home. The story of a woman getting into an argument with her date at the ballroom and then walked away on Archer Ave and getting struck/killed by a hit and run driver is false. No record of such incident. I recommend reading about Anna Norkus. Think you’ll find it very interesting. She supposedly was buried at, and later moved in Resurrection Cemetary and her grave is unmarked. A contact of mine claims to know the unmarked grave sight and I plan to go see it with him soon.

    Reply

    • Maggie

      I used to think it was Anna too, but Anna died when she was only 12. Girls back then in that area usually dated / married around age 16-25. Anna had short blonde hair, was petite and slim. She had a sister, Sophie, who had longer hair, same color with a similar build who was 16 at the time Anna died, also injured in the same wreck. I’m wondering if it was Sophie who was the ghost.

      Reply

  10. Antsnmypants

    Whenever friends or I would drive by, which was pretty often, we would always try to catch a glimpse of her. Never did, but good legend.

    Reply

  11. natalie

    im really scared of ghosts should i really be also i watch this show its awesime i watch it on escap
    e

    Reply

  12. Bernard Short

    I remember this case here because when Unsolved Mysteries had interviewed this big fella with the glasses he said that the young woman that Jerry once danced with was ice cold to the touch but in reality he worked at a Funeral Home for a while & has touched many corpses fresh outta the freezer but I remember the reinactment scene when a car loaded with 4 passengers were then driving down Archer Ave. along the front of Ressurection Cemetery back in Chicago & had seen a ghostly glow on the right hand side of the street which turned up to be a young woman who had died in a traffic accident back in 1934 but this case file is very spooky to those who’d watched it back then.

    Reply

  13. kim

    My family is buried there my dad grandmother n etc I beleave it is all true… Also it is a beautiful cemetery

    Reply

  14. Teresa

    Back in 1988 my sister & I were driving home from cousins house out south. We were driving along & we seen a woman running down the highway. I had to stop the car because she was right in the center of our lane. She was hitting my car and came around to my window screaming for help. She was covered in blood. She had long hair and it appeared to be light brown and she had a white gown or long blouse on covered in blood. We were so afraid of what was chasing her & decided to drive to nearby tollbooth & report to state troopers. Then we got back on road to home & when we got home my mom called state police to see if they found anyone. They said they did not find anyone and no report of accidents. This was crazy! For many years we’ve talked about this & to this day we really don’t know what happened. This was real!! We both seen this woman & heard her screams…. It was horribly real!! I would love to know who and what happened?? This was on a highway near Worth Illinois back in 1988.

    Reply

  15. Anonymous

    Yep. Lydia’s Bridge is right up the road from me in Jamestown NC. Never have seen her but a real similar story.

    Reply

  16. Ken

    On DESTINATION AMERICA channel they have a program called MYSTERIES and MONSTERS in AMERICA. They had a segment on LYDIA the ghostly hitch=hiker. It is almost the same story accept its in a different state and she hangs out by the bridge where she died, its worth a look.

    Reply

  17. ParanormalBob

    As a paranormal investigator from the Chicago area, I can tell you that this spirit has been encountered by multiple witnesses spanning over fifty years. The full story (including the multiple sightings) can be found in many Chicago paranormal books. Although I have never personally witnessed this spirit in action, it is one of the oldest and most well-documented sightings in the United States.

    Reply

    • nicole

      I thought resurrection Mary had short blonde hair? The other Mary Who was killed in the loop with a couple of her friends she had brown hair. Which one of the mary is seen walking down Archer Avenue the blonde? And has she ever went to her mother and father’s house or had somebody drop her off there?

      Reply

  18. Mulder

    One of the spookiest and well done segments they ever produced. Doubt in the veracity of the incident. But its awesome.

    Reply

  19. xxHyper_Gamingxx

    i have a feeling that this is all phony

    Reply

  20. Combat Arms CA

    THIS IS REAL MY DAD WENT THERE

    Reply

  21. BRUH

    im not seeing why that was so hard

    Reply

  22. Bernard Short

    That story is pretty spooky there because I remember watching that story several years ago back on Lifetime because the man back in the late 1930’s claimed that he had danced with this young woman because her hands were like ice to the touch but right after the dance he’d then offer her a ride home but instead he was ordered to stop along this cemetery then as she gotten outta the car & as the man watched this young woman had vanished before his very eyes which was kinda spooky there but this story is very great.

    Reply

  23. Will

    She is really buried in that cemetery. As far as the ghost I’m not sure but I’ve seen her tombstone.

    Reply

  24. Anonymous

    Oh it’s so real trust me on that one

    Reply

  25. Anonymous

    Not real

    Reply

  26. marie

    I know some ones dad who has seen her.

    Reply

  27. Jessica

    I have been there. The cemetary has no record of Mary Bregovy

    Reply

    • mirandajade

      Well if Mary died in 1934 then her death certificate my have been lost or because of how old the certificate is it might of aged and got thrown out because it is or was unreadable

      Reply

      • Dave

        I Saw her in 1982, it was a foggy rainy night. I saw a real plain face girl walking like she was determined. I never did see her feet, that came to me 10 years latter. I just thought that that poor girl was going to ruin that beautiful antique light blue dress to me but there was a glow like to it. I believe it was white. Being 18 years old at that time I found it weird that I was worried about her dress..I hit my brakes and they screeched and I spun the car around and When I looked for her she was gone. There was no place for her to go to, but she was gone. To this day I still can’t believe that I was worried about her ruining that antique dress. I have never worried about a girls dress before or since. I did worry about getting laid a lot back then. LOL The report ON unsolved mysteries didn’t do the story justice. I saw what I saw and I know what I know.

        Reply

    • Dorothy Wingenfeld

      Search for “mary Bregovy” at Ancestry.com
      Bregovy, Mary 19720716
      b. Apr. 7, 1912 d. Mar. 10, 1934 Resurrection Catholic Cem…
      Justice
      Cook County
      Illinois, USA
      Bregovy, Mary 32105701
      b. 1888 d. Feb. 3, 1922 Resurrection Catholic Cem…
      Justice
      Cook Count

      Reply

    • Jon segotti

      Are u for real?

      Reply

  28. Anonymous

    ya listen to that person

    Reply

  29. Drew

    Why doesn’t any one set up cameras around archer ave to see if u can catch the ghost of Mary on camera? Thank you

    Reply

    • Frank Kuzmanic

      Richard crowe was a personal friend of mine for over 20 years. My parents,grandparents and aunts and uncles are buried in resurrection. Richard had a picture of the front gate pulled apart by 2 hands with burn marks where the 4 fingers were. I pèrsonally thought it was done with a torch and car jack. Richard believed it real. Im 64 now and grew up in Oak Lawn. I was in batchellor grove cemetery the first time in 1958. My parents best friend lived in the closest house. The son did steal a headstone and had it under his bed . Richard had never been there until i took him. He took a picture across old oak park ane where i was told a man named BAtchellor lived. There were huge 10 foot iron gates that were chained but we squeezed through. Richard took a picture of the foundation where the original house stood. It had burned down. I called hey rich, take a look at this. He took a picture and when he had it developed, his name Rich was written in ectoplasm.

      Reply