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For other uses, see Bloody Mary.
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.
One of the more common ways participants attempt to make her appear is to stand before a mirror (usually in the dark) and repeat her name 3 times, though there are many variations including chanting more than 3 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 baby.” In these variants, Bloody Mary often believed to be the spirit of a young mother whose baby was stolen from her, making her mad in grief, eventually committing 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 their face off, scratching their eyes out, cutting their head off, driving them insane, bringing them into the mirror with her or scratching their neck, causing serious injury or death. 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 12:08a.m., 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.
Bloody Mary Worth is typically described as a child-murderer who lived in the local city where the legend has taken root years ago, somewhere in the west. There is often a specific local graveyard ortombstone that becomes attached to the legend and a destination for legend trips.
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. 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. 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.