Urban legends can best be described as stories of questionable truth that have been passed down for generations. People believe in them wholeheartedly, even if they’re based on rumors or just plain made up, and part of the reason for that is because they’ve been making the rounds for so long. A nice handful of urban legends are set in or near Chicago or are at least believed to have originated there. Sit back to learn about a few of the most popular ones; whether or not there’s any truth to them is for you to decide.
The University of Illinois Ghost
The English building on the University of Illinois campus, which isn’t far from Chicago, is said to be haunted by a female ghost. However, the story of this spooky ghost begins long before said building was the English building.
At one time, as legend has it, the building housed a gym and a pool, a pool where a girl died. Just how she died changes from one storyteller to the next, with some saying she fell in and drowned and others saying she committed suicide due to an accidental pregnancy. In any case, it’s believed that she makes regular appearances in the English building, especially late at night, and some staff and students claim to have seen her.
No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the story of “Resurrection Mary,” or at least one similar to it. It’s such a popular urban legend that it’s been passed around pretty much everywhere, though it originated in Chicago. The story focuses on the ghost of a woman, Resurrection Mary, who is said to walk up and down the streets in her prom dress, searching for a ride back home. She was first spotted by Chicago drivers in the 1930s, mainly on Archer Avenue, near the Resurrection Cemetery. They claimed this girl would jump onto their cars before vanishing into thin air!
Resurrection Mary is believed to have left her prom date alone when he acted ungentlemanly one evening. Walking home, however, she was struck and killed by a car and is said to still roam the area to this day; in fact, Resurrection Mary sightings are still commonly reported in Chicago!
Homey the Clown
Back in 1991, a slew of Chicago kids supposedly reported that a creepy clown named “Homey” tried to lure them into his van. Some of the stories about things he did, such as chasing them down or attacking them with knives, got kind of crazy, causing the Chicago Police to come out and say that the story is nothing more than an old urban legend. However, if you ask most kids in Chicago, they know the story and believe in it...and scary Homey...wholeheartedly. In any case, it’s a good story for teaching kids about stranger danger!
As you can see, Chicago is no stranger to spooky urban legends. True or not, though, these tales make for great storytelling!