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Spooky Legends Pt. 4: Bloody Mary

Warning: Article not recommended for those 13 or under.

Bloody Mary. We’ve all heard of the term, whether it was late at a sleepover, beside a bonfire at a summer camp, or from your older siblings trying to scare you. The myth of Bloody Mary, and many variations of it, has circulated around the world for years on end, making it a staple among young teens in particular. But where does this story originate from and why is it so popular in modern culture?

Mary from “Bloody Mary” is said to be a witch who was killed a century ago for engaging in the black arts. Other versions of the tale expres her to be a woman of modern times who was involved in a car accident in which she severely injured her face. Often, people confuse the mirror myth with Mary I of England, who was dubbed as “Bloody Mary” as she had a number of Protestants put to death during her reign as Queen. Another alternative of the legend is that the British Queen killed young girls so that she could be youthful in her appearance; this version is not true as there is no connection between her and the mirror witch, it is a fable made up due to her shared nickname.

“Bloody Mary” can be summoned by saying her name thirteen times into a dimly lit mirror. There are many other ways to do summon her that have evolved over time, the most popular one being saying her three times into a mirror exactly at midnight. When she arrives, it said that she may attack her summoner, or possibly take them into the mirror with her. These practices passed through generations and began with research on the topic written by Jane Langlois in 1978. She wrote about the “game” and its origins. The spirit from the story also has multiple names used around the world, with the most common one being Bloody Mary, such as Bloody Bones, Helly Mary, Mary Worth, and many more.

While many may not believe this, there is actually some scientific data relating to Bloody Mary. Researchers found that staring into a mirror in dim light does result in your brain seeing distorted images. Findings within neuroscience reveal that humans have a fascination with other faces, being able to identify a face form in different objects such as the clouds, an appliance, on your plate of food. This explains why it makes sense that your brain tries to find a face when you are expecting to see one in a mirror. While the legend of the infamous Bloody Mary is still unproven, it is interesting to see how your own brain will attempt to scare itself in such situations!


Mikkelson, David. “Is the Bloody Mary Story True?”, 28 Apr. 2001,

pace.165. “‘Bloody Mary’: From the Bathroom to the Laboratory.” The Psychology of Extraordinary Beliefs, 17 Apr. 2019,

"The Bloody Mary", Clara Bell, Pinterest,

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