Clarissa Johal: Frightening Friday-Bloody Mary

Friday, February 21, 2014

Frightening Friday-Bloody Mary

*Photo courtesy of  dpawatts
Has anyone tried this game when they were a kid? I never did, but my daughters tell me that it's all the rage.

Here's the premise:
You start with a lit candle in a dark bathroom. Holding the candle, you close your eyes and spin around three times saying, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary." When you open your eyes, you look into the mirror and the spirit of Bloody Mary will be there to greet you. She is usually covered in blood, will either slit your throat, pull you into the mirror for eternity, strangle you, or otherwise cause a very violent death.

Well, that's fun.

So why "Bloody Mary?" Variations of the game are "Mary Worth," "Mary Worthington" and "Hell Mary."

The folklore seems to be a blend of a divination ritual combined with a couple of historical (or made up) figures. Why? Because folklore is a complex thing; a blend of oral history, legends, stories and fairy tales.

The ritual is similar to one during Victorian times which was said to foretell the futures of young, unmarried women. In a darkened house, the woman would walk up a flight of stairs backwards, while holding a candle and a hand mirror. As they gazed into the mirror, they would be able to see the face of their future husband. There was, however, a small chance they would see the Grim Reaper, boding an early demise. But alas, it was the price to pay when dabbling in divination and the occult.

As far as to whom "Bloody Mary" refers to, there are many claims. Mary I, Queen of England was commonly known as "Bloody Mary." She earned the nickname by violently executing and burning people at the stake for heresy throughout her reign. Mary I of England was known as "Bloody Mary" because of the number of Protestants put to death during her reign. Another woman said to be the conjured spirit in the mirror, is Countess Elizabeth B├íthory de Ecsed. Elizabeth is labelled the most prolific female serial killer in history; remembered as the "Blood Countess." It was said she tortured and murdered hundreds of girls, bathing in their blood to make herself more beautiful. 

Another variation of this ritual uses the name Mary Worth, a witch that supposedly lived over 100 years ago. She was executed for dabbling in the black arts and her spirit seeks revenge. Yet another variation uses the name Mary Worthington. This Mary supposedly preyed upon and murdered many children in and around her small town. In some accounts, she was caught and tortured to death by the townspeople. In others, she was purposely disfigured before being executed. However, there is no historical evidence to back up the stories of a Mary Worth or Mary Worthington.

These days, Bloody Mary boils down to no more than folklore and a slumber party game. But try and tell your teens that and they will ignore you. It's more fun to be scared, after all. you want to try it out? Go on, I double-dog dare you.

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