I first heard the story at one of the Duke's Halloween parties. That would make it when I was in college, in the late 'sixties.
The way the Duke told it, this guy he knew had been driving north on Milwaukee Avenue near Lawrence, by the Holiday Ballroom. Suddenly a young woman in a white dress jumped in front of the car. The guy screeched to a halt, the woman got in the car, and asked for a ride.
Now the driver figured he was getting lucky, so he agreed. The woman told him to head up Milwaukee toward Niles. Other than that, she didn't say much.
Getting into Niles, they passed the main entrance to St. Adalbert's Cemetery. "Stop the car!" the woman shouted. The driver stopped the car. When he turned to look at the woman, she had vanished.
Sound familiar? Substitute Archer Avenue, the Willow Brook Ballroom, and Resurrection Cemetery. Now you have Chicago's most famous ghost story, the tale of Resurrection Mary.
At the time I hadn't heard anything about Resurrection Mary. Neither had any of my friends. We only knew that this was a great story.
As the years went by, I became better acquainted with Chicago folklore. Then I realized that the Duke had picked up the Resurrection Mary story somewhere, and simply adapted it to his own purposes. That was a habit of his.