The Italian Bride of Mount Carmel
There are a few tales of ghostly women in white associated with Chicago area cemeteries. One of those stories that still resonates with those interested in Chicago ghost lore resides in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, IL. On a moonlit night it is said a young bride all in white can be seen wandering among the tombstones near the North side entrance to the cemetery. It just so happens that resting just inside the north gates is one of Chicago’s most fascinating stories, The Italian Bride.
Pictured above is the grave of Julia Buccola Petta who died in childbirth in 1921. She was buried in her wedding dress and her infant in her arms. Shortly after she was laid to rest, Julia’s mother, Filomena, began having horrible nightmares that her daughter had been buried alive and wanted to be exhumed. The dreams haunted Filomena for 6 years. In 1927 she was finally able to convince the powers that be to let her unearth her daughter’s tomb. When they opened the casket Julia's body was perfectly preserved, looking the same as it did the day she was buried six years before. No explanation has ever really been pin pointed to be the cause of why Julia's body did not decay at all. The infant that lay with her had decomposed in a normal fashion but Julia had not. The statue above her grave was erected and includes porcelains of Julia on her wedding day and one of the photograph that was taken when they opened her coffin after the exhumation, looking exactly the same as the day they buried her.
Photos and Story by
Wendy Moxley Roe in 2015