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Bloody Mary (folklore): Wikis


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Bloody Mary is a ghost or witch featured in Western folklore. She is said to appear in a mirror when her name is called three times (or sometimes more, depending upon the version of the story), often as part of a game at slumber parties. Other very similar tales use different names for the character including Mary Worth, Mary Worthington, and Hell Mary among others.[1]



In folklore and children's street culture, "Bloody Mary" is a game in which a ghost is said to appear in a mirror when summoned. One of the more common ways participants attempt to make her appear is to stand before a mirror in the dark (most commonly in a bathroom) and repeat her name three times, though there are many variations. Some include chanting a hundred times, chanting at midnight, spinning around, rubbing one's eyes, running the water, or chanting her name thirteen times with a lit candle. In some versions of the legend, the summoner must say, "Bloody Mary, I killed your son!" or "Bloody mary, I killed your baby." In these variants, Bloody Mary is often believed to be the spirit of a mother (often a widow) who murdered her children, or a young mother whose baby was stolen from her, which made her go mad in grief and she eventually committed suicide. In stories where Mary is supposed to have been wrongly accused of killing her children, the querent might say "I believe in Mary Worth." This is similar to another game involving the summoning of the Bell Witch in a mirror at midnight. The game is often a test of courage, and bravery as it is said that if Bloody Mary is summoned, she would proceed to kill the summoner in an extremely violent way, such as ripping his or her face off, scratching his or her eyes out, cutting their head off, driving the person insane or bringing the person into the mirror with her. Some think if she doesn't kill the one who had summoned her then she will haunt them for the rest of their life. Other versions tell that if one chants her name thirteen times at midnight into a mirror she will appear and the summoner can talk to a deceased person until 12:01, when Bloody Mary and the dead person asked to speak to will vanish. Still other variations say that the querent must not look directly at Bloody Mary, but at her image in the mirror; she will then reveal the querent's future, particularly concerning marriage and children.[2]

Divination rituals such as the one depicted on this early 20th century Halloween greeting card, where a woman stares into a mirror in a darkened room to catch a glimpse of the face of her future husband, while a witch lurks in the shadows, may be one origin of the Bloody Mary legend.

Bloody Mary Worth is typically described as a child-murderer who lived in the local city where the legend has taken root years ago. There is often a specific local graveyard or tombstone that becomes attached to the legend.

On the other hand, various people have surmised that the lore about taunting Bloody Mary about her baby may relate her tenuously to folklore about Queen Mary I, also known as "Bloody Mary", whose life was marked by a number of miscarriages or false pregnancies.[1][3] Speculation exists that the miscarriages were deliberately induced. As a result, some retellings of the tale make Bloody Mary the queen driven to madness by the loss of her children.[4] It is likely, however, that Queen Mary only provided her nickname to the Bloody Mary of folklore. She is also confused in some tellings of the story with Mary, Queen of Scots.

The mirror ritual by which Bloody Mary is summoned may also relate to a form of divination involving mirrors and darkness that was once performed on Halloween. While as with any sort of folklore the details may vary, this particular tale encouraged young women to walk up a flight of stairs backwards, holding a candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were supposed to be able to catch a view of their future husband's face. There was, however, a chance that they would see the skull-face of the Grim Reaper instead; this meant that they were destined to die before they married.[5]

In Brazilian folklore, she's known as "a loira do banheiro" ("the blonde in the toilet"). To invoke her, one must flush the toilet three times while cursing. She will then rise from inside the toilet and presumably kill the invoker.[6]

Cultural references

The legend of Bloody Mary has served as inspiration for a number of movies and television shows dealing with the supernatural.[1] In Clive Barker's Candyman films, the Candyman is summoned in a similar way. In 2008, for its annual "Halloween Horror Nights" events, Universal Studios Florida developed a new variation of the legend.[7] In their version, "Mary" was a doctor who studied fear by exposing her patients to the thing they feared the most.[7] During the experiments, Mary would sit behind a one-way mirror; the patients would shout her name three times when they wanted the experiment to end.[7] She was also parodied in South Park and replaced by Biggie Smalls. Also another appearance in the first season of the paranormal TV series Supernatural, in the episode called 'Bloody Mary'. The legend was also featured in the third season of TV series The Ghost Whisperer, in the episode called 'Don't Try This at Home'.[8] The upcoming Supernatural Thriller film


  1. ^ a b c Urban Legends Reference Pages: Bloody Mary
  2. ^ See generally, Bill Ellis, Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture (University of Kentucky, 2004). ISBN 0-8131-2289-9
  3. ^ Bloody Mary, Mary Worth and other variants of a modern legend - MythologyWeb
  4. ^ Obiwan's UFO-Free Paranormal Page > Ghosts and Hauntings FAQ > Urban Legends > Bloody Mary
  5. ^ Ellis, op. cit.; see also Ronald Hutton, Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, (Oxford, 2001). ISBN 0-19-285448-8
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Dewayne Bevil (2008-09-25). "Universal crafts Bloody Mary bio for Halloween Horror Nights". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  8. ^ [1], Internet Movie Database listing of The Ghost Whisperer Season 3 Episode 2, "Don't Try This At Home".

External links

Simple English

Bloody Mary is a kind of ghost of a dead woman in Western folklore. This ghost is said to appear in a mirror after calling its name three times or more, depending on the version of the story. Like the Ouija board, this game is played by adolescents in parties or small meetings just to have fun. The ghost's name can vary according to the tales said by the people. Some similar names are: Mary Worth, Mary Worthington and Hell Mary, among others.[1]


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