One of Chicago’s most famous and often sighted ghosts. Resurrection Mary is a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed girl dressed in a white dress, white dancing shoes and a thin shawl, and sometimes clutching an evening bag. She is named after Resurrection Cemetery where she is supposed to be buried. She appears on the road and sometimes asks for a ride, before vanishing when the car reaches the cemetery.
Sightings of Mary go back as far as 1936. According to legend, Mary was killed in a car accident on a winter night in 1934 after an evening of dancing. She got into an argument with her date at the dance, left the ballroom and began walking home. She was struck by a car and killed. The driver left the scene and was never found. Her parents buried her at Resurrection Cemetery in her white dress and dancing shoes.
Many drivers have offered Mary a lift over the years. In most cases she gets into the car, talks to the driver as though she were a normal girl but promptly vanishes when the car passes the cemetery. In other cases she will ask for a lift to the cemetery and the driver is unaware that she is a ghost until she gets out of the car and disappears through the locked cemetery gates. She has also been see staring through the bars of the gates. Other motorists have reported hitting a girl in a white dress who suddenly ran out in front of their car. Sometimes the car passes through her and on other occasions they have thought that they have hit her and the body vanishes when they call for help.
She has been reported dancing at the old ballroom that she left on the night of her accident until closing time before asking someone for a ride to the cemetery. Those who say that they have danced with Mary describe her as aloof and cold to the touch.
In 1976, a man was driving past the cemetery late at night when he saw a young woman in a white dress standing inside the gates of the cemetery clasping the bars. The man reported to the police that someone was locked inside the cemetery. Officers who investigated found no one inside, however, two of the iron bars of the gate where the girl had been standing where found pried apart and bore what looked like human handprints seared into the metal.
Miss Velma Kelly, pictured above, in rehearsal at the Onyx club.
Arrested in 1924, Miss Kelly was famous for suspected murder and involvement in the case of Veronica Kelly and her late husband, Charlie. Despite large amounts of evidence, including a shotgun with her fingerprints found in her dressing room, she was never convicted for the crime. All charges were dropped against her, and she went on to become one of Chicago’s most successful jazz performers of the 20th century.
TODAY IN THEATRE HISTORY: In 1975, the Kander and Ebb musical Chicago comes to New York City on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre. Director-choreographer Bob Fosse brings to life the story of a chorus girl who gets away with murder, literally. The cast features Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. It will run just two years in its original production, but a 1996 revival will run more than fifteen years.