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  • Dave Mc

Bloody Mary , an origin story

Bloody Mary (not the drink ) is possible one of the better known urban legends out there , but if your not familiar with the spooky game , let me give you a bit of insight .

Its a game,  that if played correctly can summon a evil terrifying ghost of a woman  who will haunt your dreams forever or worse.

To play the creepy game you are required to stand in a dark room , your only source of light coming from a singly lit candle, and  then you gaze into a mirror , and begin to say aloud, her name ,three times ,  'Bloody Mary , Bloody Mary , Bloody Mary .

Then as you peer into the mirror the ghost of Mary is supposed to appear behind you , sometimes appearing as a corpse , a witch, or completely  covered in blood. Some times holding a dead baby.

She will  then either strike you down dead , or let out a soul chilling scream from the other side of the mirror, curse at you,or even lunge out of the mirror to claw away at your eyes , strangle you and drink all of your blood , or be dragged into the mirror where you will spend the rest of your days living on the other side of the glass.

The story is pretty much universal , but there are some differences from different regions  For example in some regions it is said that Mary's name has to be spoken not 3 times but 13. Also the chant is said to have different versions such as.

"I BELIEVE IN MARY WORTH" "KATHY COME OUT " "BLOODY MARY I STOLE YOUR BABY" "BLOODY MARY I KILLED YOUR BABY" Mary has also been known to have many more different names , according to snopes.com  Here are a few. • Bloody bones  • Mary Worthington  • Mary whales  • Mary Johnson • Mary Lou  • Mary Jane  • Sally • Kathy  • Agnes • Black Agnes  • Aggie  • Svarte madame 

As terrifying as this game sounds, it is still a popular game to play especially in teenage circles, you get the impression its with girls mainly ,but of course boys do play as well .

And especially at this time of year , which is Halloween when i wrote this article . I was having a look at some popular urban legends , and this one seems to first on the list most of the time.

And it got me thinking , everything has an origin , which also got me wondering , what is the origin of Bloody Mary ,  And if the ghost of this malevolent entity can be explained by science and the working of the brain , or is there some supernatural force at play .

So lets dive right in and find out some of the possible origin stories that created this urban legend , this disturbing game , or possibly a real being .and  look at some reasons it all could be baloney .

In early versions of the game , the whole reason behind playing was for young girls to get a peek into there future and be given a glimpse of their future husband.

In this version of the  game you were suppose to play in a dark house , like the modern version you would light a candle and peer into a mirror , but this time it would have to be a hand mirror , because this version required you to be looking into the mirror whilst walking up the stairs backwards.

If all went well the player would see the face of there future husband in the glass.

But there was also a chance of seeing a screaming skull or the Grim reaper , which indicated death before you had the chance to meet your husband to be . So where does the Bloody Mary legend come from , is she based on one particular person ,

Well actually there are a few possibilities starting with  a witch called Mary worth.

Now you remember that alternative chant i mentioned earlier? "i Believe in Mary worth"

Well it would seem that a Mary Worth was the name of a witch who lived on the old wagon road ,in Chicago , Illionois during the civil war .

The story goes that Mary would kidnap runaway slaves and keep them in her barn and practice her  satanic rituals on them which always ended in death ,

When the locals eventually learned what Mary was doing they took the law into there own hands , which resulted in the witch being dragged from her farm house  and  burned at the stake , on her own property ,and the corpse was left there for the birds to pick away at what ever was left.

Some time later the the witches farm land  was purchased  by a farmer and his wife  , it is said that the couple built there new home where the witches barn used to be .

One day the the farmer came across a stone when digging out a field , he thought the stone would make a great stepping stone and relocated it else where on his property which seemed to cause absolute mayhem.

They started to experience strange  happenings such as getting locked in the house or barn , items being thrown around there home, 

Realising that they probably removed a grave stone of the witch , the farmer decided to replace the stone , only problem was , he couldn't remember where he had gotten it from in the first place , so the paranormal activity continued until the house was burned to the ground in 1986 due to arson.

Many believe that Mary worth is the origin of bloody Mary.

But there are a few other theories.

Another woman believed to be Mary is Queen Mary the 1st .

Who reined over England in 1953 until her death in 1958.

It was in this time that Mary ruthlessly ,had several hundred Protestants murdered, in an attempt to restore Christianity in England.

It was because of this she was given the name Bloody Mary by the public , especially the protestants .

Also its worth mentioning that queen Mary never had children and suffered many false pregnancies up until the day she died.

Maybe this is the reason some use the chant 

"Mary i have your baby "

Or

 "Mary i killed your baby "


Whilst staring into the mirror .

Because of her ruthless ways and cruel intent Queen Mary is often thought of when they think of the urban legend .

Another theory is that the the Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory who was born in 1560 and murdered at least  650 young women  between 1585 and 1609.

Guinness world records, actually  says that she is the most prolific female murderer ever .

Many of the her victims where young servant girls  and peasants girls who were lured to there doom with a promise of payment , or just abducted .

The girls were mainly , 10 to 14 years old.

When the countess was eventually brought to court for her crimes , grim detail emerged as

to what happened to the hundreds of young girls who were brutally slaughtered .

An incredible  300 witnesses came forward,  and gave some shocking details .

Bathoroy was said to have carried out the following cruelties on the young girls .

Beatings, burning of there flesh , mutilation of the hands , she liked to bite chunks of flesh from there face , arms and legs and other places , she liked submerse them in freezing cold water and pur honey all over them followed by biting ants.

It was also said the the countess was known to bathe in the blood of virgins in a attempt to keep her youth , although the tales of the bathing in blood came long after the trial and there is no evidence of this in the actual court files .

However the bathing in blood might explain the link  with the Bloody Mary legend  and the spirit appearing covered in blood,

Bathoroy was placed in solitary confinement and kept in a set of rooms which where bricked up inside cachtice castle ,with only small slits for ventilation and food . fours years later she died in that bricked up room ,  Another theory is that the origin of the bloody Mary game may not have started centuries ago , but in more modern times, But  this is more of a Urban legend in its self .

This tale begins when a young woman named Mary worth was involved in a awful car crash , leaving her face horribly mutilated. 

Before the crash it is said the young woman was very beautiful and would stare  into her reflection every day.

But after the crash, looking in the mirror became a painful experience for Mary and she eventually started to loose her mind , and one day decided to walk into the mirror and terrorize her victims from the other side .

Its probably safe to say this didn't happen , did it ? Superstition surrounding mirrors  So that's the main suspects for the origin of Bloody Mary ,

Now lets have a look at some of the superstition that surrounds the  mirror its self .

Mirrors have been been connected with superstition now for centuries, and here are just a few of the more popular ones. 

I'm sure you heard heard that breaking a mirror can give you 7 years bad luck , but  did you know some of the following .

• If a mirror breaks of its own will this means you will loose your best friend .

• If a mirror falls from a wall and break this means that someone from the hose hold will die soon.

• If a mirror falls from the wall and does not break, then this is considered good luck .

• It is said that if newlyweds stand in front of a mirror after their wedding day , this ensures that there souls will be united in the afterlife .

• Mirrors must be covered in the home of a recently deceased person , to ensure that the spirit will not become trapped inside the mirror and haunt the family, also family members must not look into the mirrors until their dead family members are laid to rest .

• Its considered bad luck to fall asleep in front of a mirror ,in case evil spirits decide to steal your soul as you sleep.

• If your reflection ever gives you a scare , this is said to be good luck . • And it would seem the old superstition of seeing a future vision  of your husband in the mirror ,have a few different versions , this one involves staring into a mirror with a candle , then slice a apple into 9 pieces , eat 8 of them , then throw the 9th piece into the mirror , an your future husband will appear an catch the apple .

• In china they believe hanging a mirror outside your house  will reflect away evil spirits. And believe me i could go on forever ,mirrors have played a big part in many superstitions through out the years , and many of these superstitions have also bled in to  the movies , lots of movies . • Take vampire movies , vampires don't have a reflection .

• Snow white and the seven dwarfs , the evil queens magic mirror , "mirror mirror on the wall"

. • The candy man movie which was very similar to Bloody Mary 

• And even harry potter had a magic mirror where he saw his dead parents .

And the list goes on and on  So we have covered the superstition side and the urban legends , Now lets try and explain why some people claim that they see unexplained things whilst staring into a mirror in the candlelight .

Staring into a mirror in a dimly lit room can actually cause you to hallucinate ,

Staring for a long period of time in to your own reflection can trick tour eyes into thinking your own face is actually changing also ,

This has actually happened to me a few years ago , i lit a candle in the bath room and stared into my own reflection , at first nothing strange happened.

Then i started to notice that the room began to blur and fade , but i was determined to hold my gaze and proceed to stare into my own eyes , and then it happened , my face changed, The face i was looking at was no longer mine , i was now looking at the face of my father , It shocked me and broke my concentration and all at once my face returned .

It was only when i was researching  this subject that i found out that seeing the face of one of your parents is actually a vision that many experience , as well as  witnessing their face melting, disappearing , turning into an animal ,or simply becoming distorted and unrecognizable.


This may explain why people report seeing dead relatives or spirits or even dare i say Bloody Mary  ,when they peer into the mirror for a long period of time. However this is not considered supernatural , it is believed that this can be put down to the brain misfiring , and causing these illusions , like a kind of self hypnosis . There's actually a term for this optical illusion , and that is called TROXLER'S FADING .

Troxlers fading is the term given to the brain experiencing an optical illusion, affecting visual perception.

This happens when you focus your eyes on one spot for a long period of time ,eventually causing your brain kind of malfunction ,and this causes anything on the outside of your vision to disappear or distort .

If you want to experience this optical illusion with out attempting to summon a mirror spirit ,


you can search on the internet for the lilac chaser illusion .

This is a clever optical illusion, here's how it works .

You stare at  twelve lilac dots ,one  of the dots seem to be moving around the circle ,in the center there is a black cross.

The idea is to focus your eyes on the black cross , eventually the lilac dots should disappear before your eyes .

And the illusion take hold . So ,it looks like the legend of Bloody Mary is probably nothing more than an optical illusion , cause by a perception illusion caused by lack of light and slight self hypnosis .or is it ? Is possible that science is incorrect?

Next time you stare into a mirror be sure not to linger to long , Bloody Mary just might be peering back at you from the other side .


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