Disclaimer: This is a ghost story. It’s not meant to be particularly scary but if the subject is going to keep you up, please go to the story thumbnail-ed with the cat Kleenex holder where the tissue comes out of its butthole. That one is not about ghosts.
Kevin is strait-laced and, while you may assume that’s a dig from us at Anxiety Addicts, it’s really not. He’s just a good guy. He looks you in the eye when you’re talking, gives a great handshake, and donates a huge amount of his time doing wonderful things for kids. He’s not a big drinker, happily folds his family’s laundry, and was so meticulous about citing his 100-page college thesis, his footnotes totaled 120 pages. He also makes an incredible tomato sauce and won’t give his wife of 20 years the recipe because of a promise he made to his grandmother on her deathbed. That’s Kevin. So when Kevin tells this story, it packs a punch.
Kevin’s a born and raised Chicagoan with a deep love for his hometown (Da Bears,) and stayed for college and grad school. He knows the city like a toddler knows Baby Shark. Twelve years ago, he and his brother were leaving their cousin’s wedding a mile South of the city. The wedding was held at an ancient ballroom that clearly had some history, but Kevin hadn’t looked too deeply into it. He and his brother stayed late to see off the newlyweds and help the grandparents into their cars (of course.) By the time they left, it was close to midnight.
It was pouring out. The pavement looked iridescent underneath the reflection of the headlights and the water pummeling the roof made it difficult to hear the radio. Kevin, always the careful driver, made sure to be exactly five miles an hour under the speed limit, an obsession that his brother teased him about relentlessly.
“It’s rain,” Kevin’s brother so helpfully pointed out, “This is Chicago. You know how-to drive-in weather,”
But the speedometer didn’t move. Kevin’s brother rolled his eyes and suggested a bar in the city that was open late and would definitely have something fun going on. Kevin agreed and turned the Honda Northeast onto Archer Boulevard. The brothers chatted about the wedding and their Sunday football plans the next day.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Kevin slammed on the brakes and a piercing chill shot through his entire body. He stared straight ahead. Nothing was on the road, but he couldn’t shake the fire-like heat he felt in his veins. Confused, which was a foreign emotion for Kevin, he stole a look at his brother whose eyes couldn’t have gotten much wider. Neither he nor his brother said anything and went on with their night, never mentioning the drive.
Years later, they toasted a beer at the same bar after their Grandpa Jerry’s funeral.
“Hey,” Kevin’s brother turned to him. It had been a sad and emotional night and he was three beers deep which had been a soft spot for him since college.
“You remember Melinda’s wedding, South of the city? Like, what, five years ago?”
Kevin swirled his beer, his first. “Yeah, of course, why?”
His bother took a drink, squinted at the giant flatscreen broadcasting the Bulls game.
“We were driving by the park, back into the city. You hit the brakes, you remember that?
Suddenly Kevin felt the hair on his neck prickle.
Kevin’s brother furrowed his brow, “Why did you do that?”
“I dunno, I thought I saw something.”
"Yeah, I thought I did too.”
The brothers stared into the foam of their beers, uncharacteristically quiet.
“Um, what did you think you saw?” Kevin’s brother's eyes looked slightly watery. Kevin cleared his throat.
“Dude, kinda crazy, I thought I saw a girl in a wedding dress run across the street.”
Kevin’s brother choked on absolutely nothing. He got quiet, “Yeah, I saw that too.”
“Weird, man.” Kevin pulled out his phone and quickly Googled a bunch of words. His sharp inhale could have sucked the air out of the entire bar. He dropped the device on the table and his bother picked it up and scanned the Wikipedia entry, his eyes darting back and forth across the screen. He read a segment out loud,
“Resurrection Mary. Since the 1930s, several men driving northeast along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reported picking up a young female hitchhiker. This woman is dressed somewhat formally in a white party dress…”
Kevin’s brother threw the phone at him as if it were on fire or caused Herpes.
“Dude… I saw that. And I don’t believe in ghosts. And neither do you.”
Kevin gingerly took back his phone and read a little more.
“The story goes that Mary had spent the evening dancing with a boyfriend at the Oh Henry Ballroom. At some point, they got into an argument and Mary stormed out. She left the ballroom and started walking up Archer Avenue.
She had not gotten very far when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, who fled the scene leaving Mary to die. Her parents found her and were grief-stricken at the sight of her dead body. They buried her in Resurrection Cemetery, wearing a beautiful white dancing dress and matching dancing shoes. The hit-and-run driver was never found.”
Kevin put down his phone, All the color drained quickly from his face,
“I guess I believe in them now.”
Please email me any personal ghost stories. Especially if you are like Kevin.