Forewarning: I often make bad jokes and puns.
AKA: Mary Worth, Scary Mary, Mary Jane, Hell Mary
Origin: More than likely the US (around 1970s)
Everyone familiar with the legend has done it or knows someone who’s played the game. But for those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s a rather mysterious myth.
The stories go that once there was a young woman by the name of Mary. And somehow she winded up dead and vengeful. Why did she die? Well there’s the suicide version in which she slit her wrists or hung herself. The “beautiful young girl murdered by her father or husband” version. The “conceited Mary Worth had a horrible accident that left her face disfigured and never looked in a mirror again” version. The “angry witch who is jealous of youthful girls” version.
And, my personal favorite, Bloody Mary Tudor, the first born child of Henry the 8th who burnt Protestants at the stake. Legend goes she was very sensitive about her looks and would use young girls’ blood to keep up her appearance (This, however, seems to resemble the legend of Elizabeth Bathory much more) Another one pins the Mary Queen of Scots as the Bloody Mary, who was executed by order of Mary Tudor’s younger sister, Elizabeth I when she took over in order to ensure herself as sole heir to the English Throne.
Either way, she’s dead and pissed off.
Ask any local teenage child and they’ll tell just how to summon Bloody Mary. From place to place the ritual varies a bit, but the main things are that you have to go into the washroom at midnight (or 3 am) and lock the door behind you, turn off all the lights and use a candle.
You face the mirror and recite, "Bloody Mary!", "I believe in Mary Worth", or “Hell Mary” 3 to 7 times or as long as you need to before you see something. Sometimes you need to spin around.
Most claim to see a light or a shadowy a figure. Some stories go that girls run out of the bathroom screaming and terrified, their faces scratched and bloody. Some claim to see a bloodied woman or even the devil. More famous stories say the ones who tried it screamed and disappeared, others say the girls were found died.
How did it get started?
Honestly, I doubt anyone has an answer to that. The Bloody Mary ritual sounds a lot like old rituals girls used to play, but instead of summoning an angry spirit they did it to find out who they were going to marry. Also, an old English saying goes something like, “stare at a mirror too long and you are sure to see a demon/devil.” So perhaps it evolved from that.
It seems like it is just human nature to love to scare ourselves and sometimes, our imaginations can create illusions about what we want to see. And just maybe, we really do see something in that mirror.
How about you guys? Have you tried summoning Mary?