They’re gone now, but for about thirty years an important part of Chicago ghostlore was the bent gates at Resurrection Cemetery. Two of the gates were bent, as though someone had tried to pry them apart, with scorch marks where the hands would have been. The story went that a man had been driving past and saw a woman holding the gates and screaming. He reported to the police that someone was locked in the cemetery, and they arrived to find no one there…only bent up bars.
The cemetery’s explanation was always that a work truck had backed into the gates, and the scorch marks came from blow-torching them in attempt to bend them back into shape. Resurrection Mary fans scoffed.
A year or so ago, I was signing books at a large annual conference of writers, librarians, and teachers. A woman came up to me and introduced herself as the daughter of the guy who backed into the bars – she even said she’d seen the accident report. While it’s always been said that the cemetery was terribly embarrassed by the bars, and outraged that people would blame a ghost, according to her it was always sort of a running joke to the cemetery maintenance staff. The “ghost bars” were considered particularly hilarious.
Now, this is the part where I must hang my historian head in shame. I didn’t get NEARLY enough information from the woman. I was working at the time, and and in the process of divorcing myself from my old company and unsure whether I’d ever work in the ghost business again. All that can come of this is that I can say that I’ve heard from presumably trustworthy sources that the cemetery never took the “ghost bars” seriously, and were quite secure in their belief that it was all the result of a construction accident.
For a whole lot more information, check out our Resurrection Mary Roundtable podcast episode! We discuss the bars at length.