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Chicago Almanac - Ghosts

Chicago Almanac - Ghosts
Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago Almanac

Mary Alice Quinn

Mary Alice Quinn was 14 when she died in 1935. Shortly before her death, Mary Alice supposedly told her parents she would someday help suffering people and promised to "shower roses on the world." People have credited her with miracle cures, and some say they have smelled the scent of roses in her bedroom in Calumet City. Others claim to smell roses -- even in the dead of winter -- at her gravesite in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 W. 111th St., Worth.

The Two Altar Boys at Holy Family Church

It is said two altar boys, brothers who drowned together in 1874, haunt the aisles of Holy Family Church at 1080 W. Roosevelt. In his autobiography, Father Arnold Damen, the church's founder, reported he was awakened by the boys one night in 1890. He said they were wearing cassocks and holding candles and led him to a dying woman, their mother -- and then they disappeared. Two statues of the boys were carved, one for each side of the altar. Some worshipers used to swear that the wooden eyes followed them.

Bachelor's Grove in Midlothian

Along the road leading to this Midlothian cemetery, it is said, there is a ghost house -- though you can't always see it -- sometimes on one side of the road, sometimes on the other.

A pale blue light has been spotted flickering across tombstones and through the marsh surrounding this abandoned churchyard, and some people also say they've seen a farmhouse, complete with a front porch, railings, a swing and an indoor light.

Calvary Cemetery

The ghost of a drowning young man, folks say, now and again pops up near Calvary Cemetery, on the lakefront in Evanston.

As the story goes, the young man is spotted drowning in Lake Michigan, struggling and yelling for help. He then crawls out of the lake, across Sheridan Road and into the cemetery.

Drumbeats in the Night at Robinson Woods

Robinson Woods, a county forest preserve at Lawrence Avenue and River Road, holds the family graves of Alexander Robinson, an Indian chief of mixed blood.

The cemetery plot is part of the land granted Robinson through the treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829, but when one of Robinson's ancestors, a welfare recipient named Herbert Boettcher, died in 1973, the forest preserve district refused to allow him to be buried there, allegedly for "sanitary reasons."

Ever since then, it is said, drumbeats have been sounding from the graves in the woods. Some say they have even recorded the drumbeats.

The Flapper

Dressed in Roaring '20s attire, a woman with jet-black hair has been sighted occasionally on Des Plaines Avenue near Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park.

Men supposedly have picked her up and taken her dancing, just like Resurrection Mary. The men also seem to get treated like Mary's dates -- they drop the flapper off at Waldheim's old caretaker's cottage and she vanishes.

Fort Sheridan

Ghost sightings at Fort Sheridan include "a lady in orange" who showed up at a brunch at the community club; an old stockade with the sounds of a conversation in German; footsteps in a locked area; a man in a white robe appearing in a photo of Christmas lights in the 1970s (some call it a double exposure); a phantom blacksmith; a ghostly soldier; a phantom radiator-tapping custodian; and a woman in a library window.

Resurrection Mary

They say she was buried in her dancing shoes, but nobody is sure who she is or was. Blonde and beautiful, she is said to appear now and again on Archer road near Resurrection cemetery, 7200 S. Archer Road.

She hitchhikes a ride to the nearby Willowbrook Ballroom and Restaurant in Willow Springs, dances the night away with a young man, and leaves with him. But as they pass the cemetery, she screams, jumps out of the car, runs through the tombstones and disappears.

"Resurrection Mary," folks say, was a young Polish woman killed in a car crash in 1931 after leaving a dance at the Willowbrook. It's said there are three Marys fitting her description, all killed in car crashes, buried at Resurrection.

St. James, Sag Bridge Cemetery

Even in daytime, St. James, Sag Bridge Cemetery in southwest Cook County can make you feel uncomfortable. It is the oldest cemetery (1837) in the country, and many of those buried beneath the faded white tombstones died while digging the Illinois and Michigan Canal in the 1830s and 1840s. It's also said to be near an Indian burial ground.

A priest, it is rumored, once saw the ground rise and fall as if it were breathing, and a county policeman, it is said, once chased several figures in monk-like hooded robes until they vanished.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

The garage is gone, but the memory lingers. On Feb. 14, 1929, seven men were gunned down, reputedly by Al Capone's boys. The killing garage at 2122 N. Clark has been replaced by a senior citizens' project, but a few trees on a grassy spot in the middle of the lot is mark the killing spot. Dogs, it is said, move away from these trees, sometimes whining, and some residents have reported hearing crying and moaning late at night.