Urban legends are always passed around, maybe as a way to scare children or prevent certain sins. Some people truly believe these things and the story’s intended purpose is accomplished, some people don’t and therefore the story’s purpose isn’t accomplished, and some people believe a different version and pass that down, making it something else entirely.
Today we will discuss the urban legend of a divination ritual known as “Bloody Mary” or “Hell Mary” in other forms. The ritual is a deviant another ritual involving a young woman walking backwards up a flight of stairs in a darkened house, holding a candle in one hand and a hand mirror in the other (no specific hand). Doing this while gazing in the mirror would allow the woman to get a glance at their future husband’s face.
Sometimes though, the person could end up seeing a skull or the grim reaper, meaning there would be death before marriage.
The Bloody Mary ritual varies in many ways though, sharing many differences but also sharing many similarities. This ritual involves any individual or person in a dim or candle lit room chanting her name 13 times into a mirror. After this, “Mary” is supposed to appear in many forms, such as a corpse, witch, or ghost, any of which can be said to be covered in blood. The being can then be friendly or evil, usually evil, the being will then scream at the person, curse them, steal their soul, drink their blood, strangle them, or scratch their eyes out (in some iterations their face can be scratched off or they can be murdered).
There has been one account and written case of this, a girl’s roommate attempted this ritual. The results weren’t anything close to what was accounted for as the girl just ran out, terrified, with her hands covered in blood. Although this could be due to her (Bloody Mary) screaming or cursing her, which is a mentioned effect, there were no sounds said to be heard.
An explanation for the effects of what happens after the chant can be explained rationally though. When sitting in the dark the mind can begin to hallucinate, this also applies to looking in the mirror in a dimly lit room, which the ritual involves. Pairing this with the chant can cause the mind to drift off and also pairing it with the belief that something will happen could cause one of these hallucinations, which will cause your brain to distort your own reflection into something else, which is known as “strange-face illusion”.
But this wasn’t enough, I had to try it myself. So, I lit the candle, cut off the light, closed the door and looked in the mirror and repeated the chant. “Bloody Mary” I chanted, but in the end the only thing that happened was my eyes beginning to trip and me thinking I lost my nose, but it did feel as if there was a presence.
So, with the lack of evidence and the rational explanation outweighing the case, this urban legend is disproven and just a myth.
Curtis Roberts Jr. – Holy Trinity High School – DMSF
https://snopes.com and search bloody mary, first article.