How could I not do a ghost story on Halloween? I have to admit; it was really hard deciding on which stories to tell. I wanted a couple of stories that would send goosebumps up your arms, because that’s what a good Halloween ghost story should do. So, I decided that I would tell you two new stories that I just heard that definitely sent goosebumps up my arms.
Both stories were told on Saturday when I was invited to speak at the Dixon Public Library. I love going there and telling stories, because the people who come are always so willing to share stories of their own.
But before I share the story, let me tell you a little bit about the most famous ghost in Chicago, Resurrection Mary. Mary was a young woman in the early 1930s who got into an argument with her boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom on Archer Avenue in Justice, Illinois. She left the ballroom and began walking home through the cold, winter night. Unfortunately, on the way home, she was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
She was buried in Resurrection Cemetery in a white dress, and ever since has been seen walking along Cermak Avenue. Sometimes she’s hitchhiking and quite a few cab drivers have reportedly picked her up on one end of the cemetery only to have their passenger disappear before the other end.
The person at the library who told the story told us that she was at Resurrection Cemetery for the funeral of her husband’s maternal grandfather. Her son went along to the funeral and she decided to tease him a little bit about Resurrection Mary. But she didn’t give him any details. She actually told him that the girl was buried in her prom dress. At the end of the funeral, as they walked to their car, her son asked, “Who was the lady in the white dress?”
“What lady in a white dress?” she asked. “Everyone at the funeral was at the church first and we were all wearing black.”
“No, she was wearing a white dress,” he insisted.
“Where?” she asked, looking around at the guests that were now getting into their cars.
He shook his head, deadly serious. “She joined us once the service at the grave site started,” he said. “She stood in the back and then, suddenly, she wasn’t there anymore.”
Hmmmm, maybe she had to go catch a cab…
Now we’ve moved from Resurrection Cemetery and are back in the basement of the Dixon Library. I told a couple more stories, and then opened it up to the room. A woman in the back of the room raised her hand. She had a story to share. It was a dark and stormy night; don’t you love ghost stories that start that way?
But, it really was a dark and stormy night and this woman was taking her two teen-aged children home from a late night of work for all of them. She was driving cautiously because of the water pooling on the road. She pulled up to the intersection of Chamberlain and Brinton in Dixon and waited for a moment before proceeding. While she was waiting, she happened to look out her side window and saw a woman dressed in dark, Victorian clothing standing out in the rain. She remarked about it to her children, and they both looked too. When she drove forward, she looked in her rear view mirror, but the woman was gone. Everyone in the car had seen the old-fashioned woman and no one could figure out where she had gone.
The woman finished her story and I was about to share another one of my ghost stories, when another woman in the second raised her hand. She had a perplexed look on her face and when I called on her, she turned to look to the back of the room. “I’ve seen her,” she said to the first woman. “I’ve seen that lady at that intersection.”
The first woman initially misunderstood and shook her head. “I’ve never told this story to anyone,” she said. “You couldn’t know this story.”
The second woman was adamant. “No, I’ve never heard your story before,” she said. “I’ve seen her too. The woman dressed in Victorian clothing at that intersection. She was there and then she was gone.”
“So it’s real,” the first woman whispered.
There was a long moment of silence.
“Yes,” the second replied softly. “I guess so.”
A visitor from the past? Or a window to another time? Or simply a ghost?