Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicago, again!

So, as some of you know, I'm obsessed with a little book series called The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden is a wizard for hire, a private investigator who utilizes magic to help him solve crimes (and sometimes the world). The books are set in Chicago, and streets, parks and buildings are beautifully highlighted. And while I only live a few hours from the Windy City, I have yet to visit it myself. But I've already fallen in love with the oasis in the Midwest. And so, Chicago will be getting multiple posts in American Haunts! It's also large enough and old enough to warrant enough spooky stories to cover multiple pages and websites. So, today we'll visit a few more haunted locations around Chicago. Maybe one day I'll even be able to visit them!

What goes on here?

Nearly every state has the same story- a girl walking alongside a deserted road late in the evening is spotted by a driver. He (it's usually a he) offers her a ride, and she gratefully gets in and gives him vague directions to where she's going. The driver pulls up alongside a cemetery and the girl disappears. Or sometime during the drive she vanishes from the car. Chicago is no different.

She's called Resurrection Mary, and she's been getting into cars since the 1930's. She's always heading to the same destination- you got it, Resurrection Cemetery. Mary seems to have started hitchhiking near the cemetery itself, but has spread to the Willowbrook Ballroom, the last place she was seen alive. There are stories of Mary jumping on the baseboards of cars back in the 30's and 40's, up to men meeting her in the ballroom and giving her a ride "home" from there.

Prairie Ghosts has this to say on the history of our dear Mary: "Most researchers agree that the most accurate version of the story concerns a young girl who was killed while hitchhiking down Archer Avenue in the early 1930’s. Apparently, she had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the O Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary (as she has come to be called) stormed out of the place. Even though it was a cold winter’s night, she thought, she would rather face a cold walk home than another minute with her boorish lover.

She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue. She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a passing automobile. The driver fled the scene and Mary was left there to die.
Her grieving parents buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a white dress and her dancing shoes. Since that time, her spirit has been seen along Archer Avenue, perhaps trying to return to her grave after one last night among the living."

There have been dozens of sightings of Resurrection Mary, but perhaps the most convincing evidence comes from a 1976 report. A man, passing by in his car, spotted a young woman in white at the closed gates of the cemetery. Instead of offering to help her, the man called the police. They came to deal with the problem, but never found the woman in white. Instead, they found something much more interesting. Two of the bars of the gate had been pulled apart from the rest. On them were human-looking hand prints, pressed deeply into the metal!

Officials did their best to get rid of the evidence. They tried to "fix" the bars by blowtorching the fingerprints, but really all that did was draw more onlookers. Eventually they removed the bars in total, and claimed a truck backed into the gates on accident. 

But that's not really fooling anyone, now is it?

Next we visit the Red Lion Pub, located across the street from the theatre where John Dillinger was ambushed and arrested. It would be enough for that to make the pub popular, but there are a few other things going bump in the night in this section of Chicago. 

Since its opening as a pub in the 1980's the Red Lion has become a hotspot for anyone looking for a little creep with their beer. People have reported feeling a dizzy feeling and feel a strange presence when they pass by a plaque memorializing the owner's father. Another presence is that of a woman. She likes to mark her entrance with a strong smell of lavender. There's yet another feeling of a person in the women's restroom, and an apparition of a man in a cowboy hat and boots who walks by the main bar. There are at least two other ghosts seen on the property- a man with a dark beard and hat and a blond man.

The Red Lion Pub has become one of the most famous pubs in Chicago due to its entire family of ghosts. I'd love to hear any stories about it you've got! If you've seen something weird, email me, or post a comment below! 

As usual, links to the info are here:
Resurrection Mary
Red Lion Pub

And pictures you see on the blog are from here:

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