19 September 2008, JellyBean @ 5:04 am

Mary Worth lived in the town of Idlewood, near Salem in the 17th Century. A local minister’s wife noticed that the unmarried Mary was starting to look more rounded. She accused Mary of being pregnant and this being a sin in those days, prompted the local constabulary to investigate.

It was found that indeed Mary was pregnant but when she was questioned, she denied ever sleeping with a man. The town fathers got angry and demanded to know the name of the father. Mary refused. The town fathers were left with little choice but to accuse her of being a witch and being pregnant with the devil’s child.

Eager for a confession, the townspeople brutally beat her – not caring for either mother or the unborn child. Still Mary refused to speak the name or deny the charges. Eventually the townsfolk decided that Mary must die, but before she was put to death they would try one more thing: each citizen of the town would cut her on the face. Either she would then give up the name, or the father would hesitate before carrying out the deed.

To add to the torture, the Magistrate ordered that a big mirror was to be set up in front of her, so that she could see the results of her erroneous ways. The minister’s wife was the first in line. With a flourish she cut Mary’s cheek with a small, sharp knife. One by one the rest of the townsfolk lined up to mete out the punishment.

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All the while Mary prayed for a quick death. When that did not happen she would gaze into the mirror, begging that whatever lay within would come and take her soul. Cut after cut left her face a bloody mess and the pain was excrutiating.

Finally, unable to take the torture any longer, Mary forced herself to stand and she screamed out to the townsfolk:

“I curse you all for the evil you have done to me and my unborn child. Beware for your children when they gaze into a mirror and remember the name of Mary Worth!”

She stumbled forward towards the mirror and fell down dead – her bloody handprints smeared down the surface of the mirror. The townsfolk then took her body, tied it up, burnt it at the stake until it was ash and then threw it to the four winds.

From that day forward, parents would worry about the curse, for whenever their children would get together alone, they would remember the name of Bloody Mary and feel the need to call on her spirit by gazing into a mirror and saying the words “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,Bloody Mary”. Mary would then appear to take a blood revenge on the summoner.

To this very day when children gaze into a mirror, they feel an unearthly urge to speak the name of Bloody Mary!

Did Mary Worth ever exist?

The Bloody Mary legend in some form exists in many cultures around the world. Some talk about a woman named Mary Worth, who was horribly disfigured in a car crash, others about Mary Worth who killed her own children and then went insane. Still others say that it is linked to Queen Mary Tudor of England or Mary Queen of Scots.

There are a wide range of rituals used to summon the spirit, but the most common theme is the use of a mirror. Mirrors have always been seen as portals to the spirit world. These days in some cultures, when a person has died, the mirrors in the house are covered up until the body has been taken away for burial. It is believed that if the dead persons ghost looks in the mirror, they would be trapped in it forever.

Some of the variations of Bloody Mary are:

Blowing the candle out and calling out to summon her in the dark.

Calling out “I killed your baby Mary Worth” into the mirror.

Calling out “I stole your baby Bloody Mary” into the mirror.

Calling out “I believe in Mary Worth” into the mirror.

Turning around a number of times in front of the mirror while calling her name.

Other variations of her name are: Mary Worthington, Mary Whales, Hell Mary but the most common seems to be Bloody Mary.

Even the results of conducting the ritual vary somewhat:

Your eyes are clawed out by invisible fingers

Your face is slashed

Your body is clawed and you are left bloody, but alive

You die before midnight

An apparition of Mary appears in the mirror

You vanish into the mirror to spend eternity with Mary

You are dragged down to hell

There is no firm evidence that a woman named Mary Worth ever existed, but one has to wonder how many of the legends have latched onto this particular family name (or variants). Perhaps we will never know where or how the legend started, but one thing is certain; when we look into a mirror we often get that urge to say “Bloody Mary” just to see whether the legend is true or not!

Here are some stories which help to perpetuate the legend of Bloody Mary:

Matty writes:

This is a very touchy subject for me. The whole Bloody Mary thing is true, for I truthfully know it is. This took place in a small town called Newport, MI, just north of Monroe. On June 22, 1999, in the Monroe Evening Newspaper, there’s an article about my best friend, Mike. We were only thirteen at the time, you know the age of curiosity and the first time hearing the legend of Bloody Mary. It was around ten or eleven at night, when the moon is covered by trees, so there’s very little light. We both wanted to try it out, but to this day, I am glad I never went in with him. He went into the bathroom by himself because we thought it wouldn’t work if we both tried it at the same time.

The legend we heard was that you had to light six candles, write 666 on the mirror with anything red (we used lipstick,) and say “Bloody Mary” six times. My friend did these things because we wrote the stuff and lit the candles before we shut the door. I heard him say “Bloody Mary.” Nothing happened for ten minutes, he didn’t make any noise and I could still see the lights from the candles under the bathroom door. I didn’t think much of it and went downstairs to get something to drink. When I came back, I was a little worried because I could see no candlelight and the bathroom door was locked. I pounded on the door until his dad asked what I was doing.

His dad believed that we accidentally locked the door, so he got his lock-pick set. When he got the lock undone, the door was stuck when we pushed on it. After about fifteen minutes of pushing, there was a thump and when the door opened, my friend was kneeling on the ground and his head was in the sink. My friend died doing this stupid legend. Please, don’t any of you make the same mistake.

Lauren writes:

My friend and I were in an experimental mood, so we decided to try the “Bloody Mary” version that I heard most often. We stopped at a gas station that had an outdoor restroom and asked if we could use it. We went into it, turned off the lights, splashed water onto the mirror, and spinned around, we said “Bloody Mary” 3 times. Then my friend turned and flushed the toilet, while I stared into the mirror. From what I could see of my reflection in the dark, it started turning into a bright red blob. In amazement, I kept staring. Then my friend started screaming, and we ran out the door in fright. When I could see her face, it was all bloody, like how I saw myself in the mirror. When we cleaned her off, she had small fingernail-type scratches all over her face.

Do you have any stories you heard about as a kid? Post them eitehr here or in the forum and tell us about them!

Mythologyweb: The Face in the Mirror

Castle of Spirits: The Legend of Bloody Mary

Halloween Web: Bloody Mary Stories Submitted by Readers

Snopes: Bloody Mary

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