Self Expression Magazine

31 Days of Halloween – Day 6: Bloody Mary

Posted on the 07 October 2012 by Bunnysunday @missbunnysunday

31 Days of Halloween – Day 6: Bloody Mary

One of 9-year-old Me’s favorite pastimes was chanting “Bloody Mary” into the bathroom mirror and waiting for a ghost to appear. I think this is pretty standard behavior for preteen girls. Bloody Mary is a female rite of passage, like menstruation or loving Jared Leto. Unless you’ve chanted her name into a bathroom mirror while holding a flashlight under your chin, I might say that you, madam, are not yet a woman.

Better get yourself to a mirror. Fast.

Bloody Mary is one of those stories that has roots in history, gets passed down as folklore and then reaches the cult status of an urban legend.

Not familiar with this story? Here’s a quick summary:

Who is Bloody Mary?

She may have evolved from the mythologies of brutal women in history, like Elizabeth Bathory or Mary I of England. Depending on the person telling the story, Mary is a witch who was hanged in Salem, a college student who died in a car accident, a woman who died in childbirth and is looking for her baby, a bride left at the altar who committed suicide or any variation on these themes. She is sometimes called Mary Worth, Hell Mary or Mary Worthington.

How do I get in touch with her?

Legend has it, if you go into a dark bathroom and chant “Bloody Mary” into the mirror, her ghost will appear in the reflection. Variations include chanting her name 3 or 13 times or chanting “Mary Worth I have your baby” or spinning around in circles while you chant. Some say, you should wait until midnight or until Halloween. Some say you should illuminate the bathroom with a single candle or a flashlight held under your chin.

What happens if Bloody Mary appears?

Nobody seems to know for sure. Often, an older sibling’s friend’s second cousin saw the apparition and died/screamed and ran/got her face scratched/went insane/disappeared into the mirror.

What’s the mirror about?

Mirrors are seen as portals for spirits in many cultures. There are several superstitions involving mirrors, like receiving bad luck if you break one or covering mirrors so the recently deceased don’t get trapped. Mirror scrying has been practiced since ancient times and is often used to contact the dead. Mirrors feature prominently in fairy tales, like Snow White. In the Victorian era, girls practiced mirror divination to find out who they would marry. More recently, mid-century suburban homes were built with windowless bathrooms featuring large mirrored vanities, making it easy for bored teens to practice the ritual in the middle of the day.

What, Unholy Halloween Guru, do you think?

The story I grew up with came straight out of Alan Schwartz’s More Scary Stories anthology. In the version I practiced, you go into a completely dark bathroom and chant “Bloody Mary” three times while staring at your reflection in the mirror. When you chant her name the third time, Mary’s ghost replaces your reflection and she reaches out and scratches you. For the record, it never worked so you might want to try a different version.

If this legend is so popular, why have I never heard of it?

Perhaps, you’re not looking in the right places. The legend of Bloody Mary has been featured in episodes of The X-Files and Supernatural and in the movies Candyman, Urban Legend and Paranormal Activity 3. A quick Google search will take you down the rabbit hole.


Watch out for mirror witches!


31 Days of Halloween – Day 6: Bloody Mary

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