Julia Buccola Petta "THE ITALIAN BRIDE"
The Italian bride


In 1921, young Julia died in childbirth and was buried at Mt. Camel carrying her baby. When, in 1927, Buccola's mother had recurring visions of Julia begging to be dug up, Julia's casket was opened. To the shock of witnesses, the girl's body, six years in its grave, had remained in flawless condition. Dumb founded admirers hastened to display a photograph of the perfectly preserved corpse on Buccola's tombstone, where it remains today. As a further tribute, a life-sized statue of "The Italian Bride" serves as a beacon to the endless stream of curiosity seekers who come to pay homage to a powerful image, the instantaneous meeting of birth and death. According to some of those visitors, not only Julia's flesh has endured the rigors of the grave. Buccola's spirit also seems to have survived, joining the handful of Women in White featured in Chicago ghost lore. The ghost of this dead mother, clad in the wedding gown she was buried in three-quarters of a century ago, wanders near her resting place, say witnesses. In fact, one story recounts the day a small boy was accidentally left behind in the cemetery by his family. The boy's shaken kin rushed back to the cemetery and spotted the child taking the hand of a white-gowned woman. Upon the family's arrival at the scene, however, the woman vanished.

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