The typical act of Bloody Mary, as she appeared behind the person calling onto her and killed or hurt them, leaving herself standing alone, staring into her forsaken soul.

Bloody Mary is a folk story of a ghost that appears when her name is called three to a hundred times (the most popular number is thirteen) in the darkness with only a candle lit. She can also be known as “Mary Worth”, “Mary Jane”, “Mary Hell”, “Mary White”, etc. The story began to be documented at the start of the 1960’s. It was known to be an adolescent party game, as most appearances have been in collective group experiences.

Etymology Edit

The name Bloody Mary (blʌdi ˈmeri) is most popularly related to a woman, Mary Worth, that died in a car crash and disfigured her face, however, others say she was a witch burned at the stake during the Salem Witch Trials.[1] Others believe she could be referring to Elizabeth Bathory, otherwise known as the "Blood Queen." Bathory was a historical figure known for wanting the blood of young women, she tortured and murdered 600 of girls for their blood. Another idea is that the name could have come from Mary Tudor or Mary I of England, as she had thousands of protestants killed for having different religious beliefs.[2]

Folk History Edit

The exact origin of Bloody Mary is unknown, similar to most folk stories. The earliest written stories of Bloody Mary come from the 1960s-1970s, when Janet Langlois published her essay on the legend. The stories recount adolescent parties, and Bloody Mary being a game played at these parties. The most popular historical figure related to Bloody Mary is Mary Worth who was in a terrible car accident that disfigured her face. Before this accident, she was beautiful and would stare into her bedroom mirror for hours. After the accident, nobody would look at her, and she wasn’t allowed to look at herself in the mirror, as everyone feared she would become insane. When she finally did see her reflection, she began crying and yelling, wanting her old reflection back. She walked into the mirror in hopes to find her old self, she vowed to haunt those that tried to come looking for her in the depths of the mirror.[3]

The Ritual Edit

The basic legend says that if you walk into a dark room, most typically a bathroom, with a candle light and stare at yourself in the mirror, and repeat “Bloody Mary”, Bloody Mary will appear in the room with you… what happens after that is fairly uncertain. There are different versions of this, that say you have to flush the toilet three times, or that you have to spin around in a circle three times, always spotting in the mirror, while chanting “Bloody Mary”. Some who have attempted this say that initially nothing happens, but as soon as you open the door to leave the bathroom, Mary appears and does not let you go. A sharp pain may be felt on your face as she disfigures it. When the lights go on and you look at yourself, you are a victim of an attack, a victim of an encounter with what some call, “the devil”.[4] Many say that it is not Bloody Mary who appears, but rather an evil spirit of any sort. When staring into a mirror in hopes to connect with the world beyond, we can derive to call any spirit regardless of the specific spirit we meant to call. It is the mindset of wanting to achieve supernatural ends that makes this possible.[3] Every Bloody Mary encounter is prone to be different, and we cannot be certain any of it is even true, but is with fear driven curiosity, that new encounters happen on occasion.

Other Historical Influence Edit

The idea of a cursed mirror has been around for a very long time. It has been seen in many other folk stories that date back several years ago. Examples include The Poems of Robert Burns published in 1787. Here, there are superstitions that if you eat an apple, take a candle, go into a dark room, and stare at yourself in a mirror your conjugal companion will be seen in the glass over your shoulder. Other origins of mirror visions are that of “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm published in 1857. The Queen looks into the mirror and asks who the most beautiful woman is, expecting it to be her every time. Eventually, her obsession with the mirror brings out the worst in her, destroying her own beauty. Both of these stories, including many other legends that declare that looking at yourself in the mirror for too long can make the devil appear could be renditions of where the story of Bloody Mary truly comes from.[3]

List of Texts/Media Edit

  1. Candyman. Dir. Bernard Rose. 1992. Film.
    • Created under the premise of the legend of Bloody Mary, with a different personification. The Candyman is known as the ghost of a slave that appears if his name is chanted five time.[5] His ritual is virtually the same as Bloody Mary's, go into a dark room, chant "Candyman!" and the Candyman should appear. This legend is fake, as it was only created for the purpose of the film.
  2. Urban Legend. Dir. Jamie Blanks. 1998. Film.
    • A college student brings himself into a deadly investigation, as he feels many of the deaths occurring are due to urban legends. One of these legends being the legend of Bloody Mary.[6]
  3. Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. Dir. Mary Lambert. 2005. Film.
    • Created after Urban Legends, as a sequel, a group of teenagers preform the ritual of Bloody Mary on prom night. They unleash the evil spirit from the past rendering deadly consequences.[7]

References Edit

  1. "Bloody Mary." Snopes. N.p., 27 Oct. 2005. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
  2. "Bloody Mary Legend." LoveToKnow. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Do You Know What Happens When You Mess with Bloody Mary?" Entertainment. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
  4. "Bloody Mary Legend." Bloody Mary Legend. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.
  5. "Candyman." Scary Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
  6. "Urban Legend." IMDb., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.
  7. "Urban Legends: Bloody Mary." IMDb., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.