The Legend of Bloody Mary

The legend of Bloody Mary has been retold for decades and made into countless books and films. So, when did it begin? Was there ever a real, “Bloody Mary?”

You’ve probably seen such email forwards, comments, or posts as these:

[Collected from the internet]

“Mary Worth was a beautiful young girl who lived a long time ago. One day she had a terrible accident that left her face so disfigured that nobody would look at her. She wasn’t allowed to see her own reflection after the accident. Her family thought she would lose her mind if she did. Before the accident, she spent hours admiring her beauty in her bedroom mirror.

“We huddled around the mirror and starting repeating ‘Mary Worth, Mary Worth, I believe in Mary Worth.’ About the seventh time one of the girls from in front of the mirror started screaming and trying to push her way back away from the mirror. She screamed so loud that my friend’s mom came running into the room. She quickly turned on the lights and found this girl huddled in the corner. She was still screaming. She turned her around to see what the problem and saw these long fingernail scratches running down her right cheek. I will never forget her face as long as I live!”

She’s even became the topic of social media hoaxes, such as this one from Facebook:

[Collected from the internet]

You are now cursed. You must repost this or Bloody Mary will kill you tonight at midnight. This is no joke. So don’t think you can quickly delete it now and get out of it because Bloody Mary will come to you if you do not send this on. She will slit your throat and your wrists and pull your eyeballs out with a fork. And then hang your dead corpse in your bedroom cupboard or put you under your bed. What’s your parents going to do when they find you dead? Won’t be funny then, will it? Don’t think this is a fake and it’s all put on to scare you because your wrong, so very wrong. Want to hear of some of the sad, sad people who lost their lives or have been seriously hurt by this email?

CASE ONE – Anna (Surname Removed): got this email. Rubbish she thought. She deleted it and now, Anna is dead.

CASE TWO – Louise (Surname Removed): She sent this to only 4 people and when she woke up in the morning her wrists had deep lacerations. Luckily there was no pain felt, though she is scarred for life.

CASE THREE – Tommy (Surname Removed): He sent this to just 5 people. Big mistake. The night Thomas was lying in his bed watching T.V. The clock showed ’12:01 am’. The T.V misteriously flickered off and Thomas’s bedroom lamp flashed on and off several times. It went pitch black, Thomas looked to the left of him and there she was, Bloody Mary standing in white rags. Blood everywhere with a knife in her hand then disappeared. The biggest fright of Thomas’s life.

Warning… NEVER look in a mirror and repeat – “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary… I Killed Your Son. Is it the end for you tonight!” You Are Now Cursed!

It is seriously NO JOKE. We don’t want to see another life wasted. Its Your Choice… Wanna Die Tonight? If you send this email to…

NO PEOPLE – You’re going to die.

1-5 PEOPLE – You’re going to either get hurt or get the biggest fright of your life.

5-15 PEOPLE – You will bring your family bad luck and someone close to you will die.

15 OR MORE PEOPLE – You are safe from Bloody Mary



No one knows the origin of “Bloody Mary,” but Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, known for legitimizing the term, “urban legend,” wrote about her in the 1970s. He recorded his version after he’d spoken with a number of Catholic students who discussed, “Mary Whales.”

Traditionally, “Bloody Mary,” was supposed to appear in the mirror to tell your future. She appeared when her name was recited a number of times in front of a mirror. Sometimes you needed a candle, sometimes not. Sometimes you needed to turn the lights out.

In the first issue of The S. Edward’s School Chronicle (published 1873), “Bloody Mary,” is a “bugbear,” or boogeyman, used to frighten nursery children into good behavior.


Even more History

Divination by a reflective surface is ancient, and today is called “scrying.” Ancient Egyptians were known for the practice. It could be the surface of liquid in a special vessel, a metal surface, and eventually a mirror.  Nostradamus looked into a contraption called a “magic mirror,” which was nothing more than a bowl of water.

Young women walked backwards up steps centuries ago, while holding a candle and a mirror. They were supposed to be able to see their future husband’s faces in the mirror once they reached the top. If they saw a skull in the mirror, it was the grim reaper, and that meant they would die before they were married.

Serial killer Andreas Bichel lured young women into his parlor by telling them he had a magical mirror that would show them their future husbands. Bichel was captured and decapitated in 1809.


In the Past

It’s usually assumed the lore originated with Queen Mary I of England, also known as, “Bloody Mary.” It’s uncertain as to whether the moniker comes from her brutal genocide of Protestants, or from her many miscarriages. It’s most likely from slaughter, because she was also called, “The Maker of Martyrs.” Variations of the Bloody Mary legend that mention a son or a baby suggest it’s due to her inability to bring a child to term.

Many times, Bloody Mary will just be a local woman who was deemed “crazy,” or a “witch,” for some reason.







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