The legend claims that the evil woman can be summoned by chanting "Bloody Mary" into a mirror anywhere from three to one-hundred times in a darkened room lit only by a candle.
However, while singularly chanting "Bloody Mary" has been the most popular choice, there are other various different sets of requirements, depending on the version known:
According to the urban legend of Bloody Mary, there could be horrible consequences for summoning her. Some of the consequences are:
The history of the chanting game is based on mixed up legends and history that over the years have become the main basis for the story surrounding the urban legend.
The most common story told is that Mary Worth was a witch that lived over 100 years ago who dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed.
The other story is more modern – a local woman was involved in a fatal car accident, and her face was horribly scarred before she died. She reappears in the mirror when summoned with that same horrific face.
It is largely believed that the origins of the names "Mary Worth" and "Bloody Mary" came from a slight mix up of characters from history. Mary I, Queen of England, or Mary Tudor, who reigned during the Tudor period was also commonly known as "Bloody Mary"
Her nickname of "Bloody Mary" became attached to her when she violently executed and burnt people at the stake for heresy throughout her 5-year reign as Queen of England.
She also was unable to have children and suffered two phantom pregnancies, this is why it is speculated that the variation involving chanting "I stole your baby" became tangled up with the legend.
There is another suggestion that the name "Mary Worth" was derived from a victim of the Salem Witch trials.
Another possible origin is the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, or Countess Dracula as she has been called. She was a Hungarian royal who was rumored to have killed young girls and bathed in their blood to preserve her youthful beauty. Of course her name was not Mary but somehow the stories of this cruel woman have been inserted into the legend.
The Japanese have their own version, called Kuchisake Onna or The Slit Mouth Woman.
It's possible these "mirror witch" games have their roots in oldtime divining rituals involving unmarried girls and future husbands. There are a number of variations of these divinations, some involving chanting a rhyme in a darkened room on a special night and then quickly looking in the mirror to catch a glimpse of the bridegroom-to-be.
The concept of mirrors as portals between this world and the realm of spirits shows up in other beliefs, namely those surrounding funerals. It was common practice to cover mirrors in a house where a death had occurred until the body was taken for burial. (Back in the days before funeral homes, corpses were washed by the deceased's relatives, dressed in their funeral finery, and laid out in coffins in the front parlor. Consequently, the dead would be in the house for days.) It was believed if the dear departed caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror, his ghost would remain in the house because the mirror would trap his spirit.
Author: Corvina Raven
Published On: July 28, 2012