Resurrection Mary is one of Chicago‘s most famous ghosts.
And, having been featured on paranormal shows like Unsolved Mysteries, In Search Of, and Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers, she might just be the most famous Vanishing Hitchhiker in the world.
Jerry Palus is said to have been, perhaps, the first person to have met the ghost who’d become known as Resurrection Mary face to face back in 1939.
At the Liberty Grove and Hall, a ballroom near 47th and Mozart, Palus saw a beautiful, young, blonde woman without a dance partner and decided to take a chance on asking her to dance. They spent the evening together, dancing and talking until the ballroom closed.
Jerry offered her a ride home but she didn’t ask to go to the address on Damen Avenue where she’d told him she lived earlier in the evening. Instead, she asked him to drive out Archer Avenue.
And, as they approached Resurrection Cemetery, she asked him to pull over.
According to Palus, Mary told him that that’s where she had to get out and, where she was going, he couldn’t follow. And, then, she crossed the street and vanished as she approached the cemetery gates.
For decades, people fascinated with the story have been trying to answer the question: Who was she?
Over the years, a number of “candidates” have been put forth. And, in researching the history of the legend and the community it came from, we found one of our own: Mary Kovac.
She grew up in the same immigrant community on Damen Avenue as two other young women commonly associated with the Resurrection Mary legend, going to school and church with both Mary Mizkowski and Mary Bregovy.
She fit the same descriptions that were given of Mary Mizkowski.
And, her cause of death fits that of the “third girl” that Richard T. Crowe often referred to and, because of that, we think that he may have actually identified this Mary himself.
On this episode, we present the story of Mary Kovac who, we believe, may have been the young woman whose ghost Jerry Palus met at the Liberty Grove and Hall in 1939: The original Resurrection Mary.
Photo: Mary Kovac, circa 1930.
(Reuse or reproduction of any part of this photo without express written permission from Epitaph is prohibited.)
Our Other Podcasts in this Series
- Resurrection Mary, Part 1: Mary Miskowski (Patreon Exclusive)
- Resurrection Mary, Part 2: Mary Bregovy
- Resurrection Mary, Part 3: Anna Marija Norkus (Patreon Exclusive)
- Chicago’s Street Guide to the Supernatural: A Guide to Haunted and Legendary Places in and near the Windy City by Richard T. Crowe
Other Suggested Podcasts on This Story
- Ep 102: Resurrection Mary Part 1 by Astonishing Legends
- Ep 103: Resurrection Mary Part 2 by Astonishing Legends
- Ep 104: Resurrection Mary Part 3 by Astonishing Legends
- Ep 105: Resurrection Mary Part 4 by Astonishing Legends
- Resurrection Mary Roundtable by Chicago Unbelievable
Audio Excerpt Credits
Audio from interviews with Richard T. Crowe appears with the written permission of his family and his estate. Audio from interviews with Jerry Palus appears with the written permission of his family and his estate. Epitaph makes no claims of ownership to this audio.