A post from one of my readers inspired me to look into the legend of Bloody Mary. And no, I’m not talking about Queen Mary Tudor of England, the daughter of the lovable King Henry VIII, who earned her nickname by persecuting the Protestants.

This is a different Mary with a different sinister legacy. I’ll let Mike tell us about her:

I’d like to recount a scary story I heard as a child and maybe get some input from you or your readers. This story floated around the schoolyard many years ago and involves a ghost named Mary. Mary was a young girl who was bludgeoned to death by her mother in a fit of insanity. The story goes that if a person is brave enough they can conjure up the ghost of Mary by going into their own bathroom, turning out the light, and with their eyes closed, turning 3 times counterclockwise in front of bathroom mirror while saying out loud, “Mary, Bloody Mary; Mary, Bloody Mary; Mary, Bloody Mary” and when they stopped and looked in the mirror they would see Mary standing behind them. I actually tried it and the only thing I saw was STARS – because I got dizzy and fell backwards hitting my head on a towel bar. Anyhow I’m fairly certain that this type of story has circulated all over. Does anyone else have a story that is similar? Love to hear it. Which begs the question – If this story is well known is there some fact in the origin?

NC and I decided to give the legend a try. My bathroom seemed ideal because it’s large and it’s easy to block out the light. In my reading, I found that it’s best to light a small candle in the room, since you do need some light. And for some reasons ghosts find candles enticing. I suppose they’re like moths in that respect.

We chanted Bloody Mary and turned in a circle three times. Neither of us banged our heads and saw stars (sorry Mike), nor did we see Mary. Afterwards, a friend told me you’re supposed to turn around thirteen times, not three. I’m sure that was the problem. I did, however, get a good scream out of NC when I dropped the cigarette lighter in the bathtub.

I’ve heard many tales over the years claiming that if you stand close to the mirror, with nothing more than a candle lighting the room, and gaze into your eyes for several minutes, you’ll be able to see what you will look like when you grow old.

NC and I tried that as well. And yes, it’s a bit creepy. I don’t know if it’s a trick of the eyes or a glimpse at your own soul, but give that one a try. NC said that what she saw was pure evil. An old English saying states “if you look in a looking glass too long you are sure to see the devil.” I think that’s what NC saw as she gazed at herself. Or perhaps she merely saw her own soul, because there’s definitely some evil in there.

Like Mike, I’d love to hear from anyone with more knowledge on the subject or with your own experiences with this or other legends.