Saturday, August 1, 2009

Resurrection Mary

I thought I'd do something ghost-related, as I'm always distracted by other unknowns.

Everyone’s heard it. The legendary vanishing hitchhiker ghost. You simply say “Resurrection Mary” and most people picture a lonely woman dressed for a fancy dance on a roadside, getting a ride from a concerned citizen who finds out she wasn’t real when she vanishes from the car or on her way into the cemetery.

This story originated in Chicago, occurring near the “Resurrection Cemetery” (which in itself is a pretty scary name). From the 1930s until present day, there have been dozens of reports of this woman asking for a ride, being dropped off at the cemetery only to vanish from the backseat in mid sentence.

The legend goes that Mary was attending a dance whereupon she argued with her boyfriend, left on foot, and was hit by a drunk driver on the roadway.

Attempts to discern the identity of Resurrection Mary have yielded a few possibilities, but there is no way to confirm if this event actually occurred, if her name was Mary, and even if she was buried in that particular cemetery.

Urban legends are interesting things. They grow and gain popularity and over time appear to be fact. There have been some good witnesses to this phenomenon, but still no answers as to why and how. Should a spirit exist with that much ability to materialize and interact for prolonged periods, I’d certainly like to know her secret and why her “friends” in the other world can’t do such a splendid job when I’ve sat six hours on my kiester waiting for one audio recording or one photographic anomaly while on a ghost hunt.

What’s especially endearing about Resurrection Mary to everyone who hears the tale is the innocence lost. This beautiful young woman with her life ahead of her, run down too young on a romantic night filled with hope and promise and wandering aimlessly in the afterworld. For us people with big hearts, the concept of anyone alone on a roadway at night is frightening, especially a woman in formal gown and looking quite lost. The need to give assistance and provide a safe ride is a universal desire, but when one realizes they’ve just helped a truly lost soul (figuratively and literally), it’s quite humbling. She’s one of those characters that tugs at our hearts and our concerns and leaves us thinking about our own lives and what we have been blessed with every day that we outlived Mary.

There will always be a place for Resurrection Mary in the hallowed halls of ghostdom, living in an eternal loop of symbolism, urban legend, and mystery.


  1. oh, autumn, i've always been fascinated with this story! just because i can see & feel how it happened! i've always wanted to go over to chicago & drive around & see if i felt (or saw!) anything!
    btw, my verification word is agonprom...kind of relates to this, i think!

  2. Libby;
    Cool! Yeah, I love this story. There's one of these in just about every state!

  3. that's like there's a crybaby bridge in every state too!

  4. i remember this story from an Unsolved Mysteries episode. i wonder if there have been any sightings of Mary lately.

  5. What's interesting about this legend is that it combines elements from two other pretty universal legends: The Lady in White, and The Vanishing Hitchhiker.