Want to Play Bloody Mary?

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Written By Madeline Guerra

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Do you remember, Bloody Mary?

The game we all used to talk about playing as children,  has been around for a long time. However, it only became well known and established in the United States in the 1970s, for unknown reasons. 

But it didn’t take long for this legend to sweep America off of her feet. Soon, people were seeing Mary in numerous tv-shows such as the cult classic The X-Files, and more recent shows like Supernatural and Charmed. 

The legend of Bloody Mary is one that gives me chills just thinking about it, but my fear soon became all the more justified when I learned of the dark history behind this game.

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How to Play

Much like any other game, there are rules that must be followed to ensure success. Now, there are multiple different ways that you can play this game but the most common way goes as follows:

  1. If you want to summon Bloody Mary, the best place to perform the ritual is in your bathroom. With most bathrooms not having windows, it makes it easier to block out the light. 
  2. Gather the proper materials. In order for it to work, you must have some way of generating a lasting flame. Usually, a candle is the easiest option, and you will also require a mirror.
  3. Once night falls, bring all of your supplies to the bathroom and make sure that no one else is in there with you. Block out all possible sources of light, and light your candle in front of the mirror.
  4. Look up and make eye contact with your own reflection in the mirror. Slowly, begin chanting Bloody Mary thirteen times, slowly getting louder each time.
  5. After you finish, look up at the mirror again, but make sure you are not standing within arm’s length of the mirror, unless you want Mary to grab you. 
  6. If you survive, quickly extinguish the flame and leave the room, making sure to never use that mirror again. 

But what if you didn’t see anything? There are also other variations of the rules. Here are a few more options you can try:

  1. Instead of playing anytime at night, try starting the game at exactly midnight.
  2. Try chanting her name three or seven times.
  3. Run the sink water while chanting.  
  4. Spin in place each time you say her name.
  5. Instead of just chanting her name, repeat the phrase “Bloody Mary I stole your baby”, or “I believe in Mary Worth”. 

Now, if you have any concern for your soul, there are a few things you can try that may help dispel Mary’s spirit and save you. Here are some tips to survive your encounter with Bloody Mary: 

  1. As soon as you finish the ritual, try smudging the room, which is a native american practice of cleansing a room by burning sage. 
  2. Flick vinegar into the corners of the room. 
  3. Draw a cross with soap on the mirror for three nights in a row after you play the game.
  4. Important! NEVER,  break the mirror. This will set her free.

History Behind the Game

When it comes to rituals, the legend of Bloody Mary was not the first one that involved mirrors. In fact, mirrors have played a larger part in history than we thought. 

Years ago, during the 1800s, Europe was already crawling with their own superstitions involving mirrors.

For example, there was a way for someone to supposedly see the face of the person they were destined to marry. 

All they would have to do was wait until nightfall, and then walk up a staircase and past a mirror at midnight. When they passed the mirror, they would see one of two things.

Either their future spouse’s face, or a skull. If you were unfortunate enough to see the skull, it meant that you would die before you got to marry.

Who was Bloody Mary?

Now, there are many different versions of the Bloody Mary legend, and here are the most common few. 

The first one derives from the alternate chant mentioned earlier, the story of Mary Worth. She was a woman who lived during colonial times when suspicion of witchcraft was rampant.

Mary lived in a cabin just outside of her village where she was known for selling herbal remedies. 

Even though she sold stuff that was supposed to heal, that didn’t stop the townspeople from fearing her and calling her a witch. Eventually, little girls in the town started to go missing, and everyone suspected Mary, even though she claimed to have no knowledge of what was happening. 

What was even more suspicious was that she was slowly starting to look younger than her old haggard appearance. 

Things all came to a climax one night though when the miller’s daughter woke up hearing a strange noise that no one else could hear, but she found herself being drawn to its source. 

Her mother, incapacitated at the moment, shouted for her husband to follow their daughter because she was heading into the forest. 

After a crowd of other farmers joined the father who was chasing his daughter, they noticed Mary in the distance, standing next to an oak tree with a want in her hand. The wand was producing a strange glowing light, and it was pointed towards the miller’s home. 

Once she noticed the crowd that was now running after her with pitchforks, Mary began to flee back to her cabin. But it was too late. The farmer shot Mary in the hip with a silver bullet. 

Once they surrounded the now wounded Mary, they dragged her away, and burned her at the stake. Right before she perished, it is said that she cursed the village, saying if they ever spoke her name in front of a mirror ever again, she would return for her revenge. 

After her death, the mourning villagers raided her cabin, where they found rows of unmarked graves, full of the missing children. 

Now, the suspicious return of her youth finally made sense. The blood of the children she kidnapped, were keeping her young and beautiful.

Another version of who Bloody Mary was comes from a story that takes place a couple centuries later, right after the civil war. Let’s learn about Mary Whales. 

In this version, Mary Whales was not only a beautiful young woman, she was also very kind, and she was born to Old Man Whales and his wife, Virginia. 

However, he hated his daughter because when she was born, Virginia died due to childbirth complications, and for that, he blamed Mary. 

One night, he came home especially drunk and angry, and he burst into her room, stabbing her to death in her bed. Her screams were drowned out by the cries of the animals in their farm next door. 

When he left her body, she was covered in blood, and her head was nearly severed from her body. The next day, he picked her up and buried her body in the basement. 

Soon after her death, he learned that just because she was dead, that didn’t mean that she was gone. For multiple nights, she would appear in front of him, shouting father, and attacking him, causing him to flee to his barn. 

One time while he was shaving, she even appeared in the mirror and slapped him. After a short while with no incidents, Old Man Whales assumed that her spirit was done with him, but he was wrong.

After appearing in their house again and trying to attack him, this time she followed him to the barn when he fled the house. When he turned around, there she was. Staring at him, and pointing at a noose next to him. 

With that, Mary exacted her revenge. She was able to end the life of the man who took hers.

Both of these stories have no historical context at all, but there was a woman nicknamed Bloody Mary. She was Mary Tudor, or better known as, Queen Mary the First of England, who reigned from 1553 to 1558. 

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Mary was an illegitimate child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Mary had a very difficult life. She was plagued with horrible menstrual pain and irregularity her entire life, and was treated like an outcast. 

Once she was finally able to seize the throne at the age of 37, she knew that she had to marry fast and produce an heir to secure her power. 

So, she married Philip of Spain, who was much younger than her at the time of matrimony. With her efforts and prayers, Mary was delighted to find out not long after that she was pregnant. 

Sadly, when the time came for her to deliver, nothing ever happened. She never bore a child, and eventually even her baby bump started to shrink. Mary thought that God was punishing her, when in reality, she suffered from pseudocyesis, or phantom pregnancy.

She wanted to be pregnant so badly, that her brain tricked her body and she developed all of the signs and symptoms that every other pregnant woman presents, except for a fetus. 

So how did she get the nickname Bloody Mary? Well, not only were her horrible menstrual problems a contributing factor, the more common reason is because she brought forward the Marian Persecutions. 

This was when hundreds of people were accused of being protestants and then burned at the stake, since Mary was trying to restore Catholicism as the primary religion of England. With all of this death on her hand, she ended up with the nickname Bloody Mary.

Real Bloody Mary Encounters

Just like with other famous legends, Bloody Mary has her own set of alleged encounters. While searching all over the web for stories, we found a few that will give you nightmares. 

The first one that stood out was the story of Lauren and her friend. In her words, they were feeling experimental one night while they were out on the road. When they stopped at a gas station with an outdoor restroom, they decided to try summoning Bloody Mary. 

The cool night air burned in their lungs as they entered the dark, damp restroom. It was clearly empty, yet they couldn’t shake the feeling that they were not alone. The putrid smell of mildew hit them surprisingly fast, yet they were undeterred, their mission clear in their mind. 

Lauren turned off the lights and they both approached the mirror. After splashing it with water, they started to spin around a repeat Bloody Mary three times. 

After they finished, Lauren’s friend went to flush a toilet while Lauren continued to stare into the mirror, only to realize that what little she could see of her reflection was slowly turning red. 

When her friend started screaming, they both ran outside the bathroom, fearful for their lives. 

Once they had light again, her friend finally noticed why Lauren’s reflection was turning red. Much to their horror, they realized it was because her face was actually covered in blood due to tiny, deep, fingernail scratches all over her face.

Another story that gave us chills was Marisa’s story. According to her, she just finished watching an episode of the famous show Ghost Whisperer, and it was actually about the legend of Bloody Mary. Feeling inspired by it, Marisa decided that she wanted to try and scare her friend. 

In an effort to achieve this, she looked into her living room mirror, spun around three times and chanted Bloody Mary. Nothing happened, unsurprisingly, so she went to the bathroom to try again. 

Even though her friend warned her not to, we closed the door, shut off the lights, and repeated the chant yet again. 

Looking into the mirror this time, she again saw nothing. When she was about to turn the light on, when something in the mirror stopped her. Looking closer, Marisa saw a black and white woman staring at her, with her mouth wide open. 

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Expecting a scream from the woman, Marisa stood still waiting, but nothing happened. Then, the apparition lifted her arms towards Marisa, but she noticed something. Her hands were covered with bright red blood, because her fingernails had been torn off. 

Her heart now pounding faster than it had ever been, Marisa felt hands grab her from behind. Screaming, she turned on the light and ran out of the bathroom. It turns out not only did she scare her friend, but she ended up terrifying herself.

Interesting and Bloody Facts

With everything we learned so far, we still don’t know how she appears. There are many different ideas about what Bloody Mary truly looks like, such as she either takes on the appearance of how she died, as a corpse. 

Or she appears like a haggard witch, ready to steal the souls of her unlucky victims. With all of the different concepts out there, there is one constant that is always described in her appearance.

She is always covered in blood, always. Whether it be on her face or hands, blood is unsurprisingly the one constant in Bloody Mary. 

What happens to you when you play the game also varies based on who you ask, based on the earlier stories submitted by people on the internet. Some claim she tries to grab you or strangle you, some say she screams and curses you or tries to steal your soul.

Lastly, others claim that she either wants to drink your blood or scratch your eyes out. No matter what the consequence for playing the game is, I think everyone can agree that none of them are pleasant. 

When it comes to this legend, why are we so captivated by it? Why do some many adolescents find it fun to play the game even when they know the most likely outcome?

There are many possible reasons, but perhaps the most logical one is that it fulfills our human desire for excitement or the thrill or being scared. 

No matter the reason, there are some things that you just don’t mess with. Or else you may find yourself in front of a mirror, in the dark, and a door that just won’t open. 

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