The bloody Mary legend is an old, old legend, that you probably heard way back in primary school and that your younger siblings and family members have probably heard too. Based on many many urban legends and folklore that many believe was based upon the true story of the witch Mary Worth, the Bloody Mary story may seem somewhat innocent until you learn quite how gruesome and violent the tale is. It has it all – witches, kidnappings, burning a witch at the stake and magic. Take a ride with us through the spooky world of Mary Worth and learn just why and where the legend came from – and why you still might not want to say “Bloody Mary” three times in a mirror.

The Legend

Just think back to your childhood sleepovers and talking about ghosts, spooky stories and watching horror movies that are completely inappropriate for your age. Were you that piping voice who said, “Who is Bloody Mary?” Hopefully not, because you likely would have been suckered into this bit of the legend, which says that if you hold a lit candle in a darkened room with a mirror (any darkened room will do, although it’s usually a bathroom) and say, “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary” into that mirror, you’ll be greeted with the rather startling image of Mary’s reflection in the mirror behind you. Different re-tellings of the story offer different versions of the tale, with some imagining Bloody Mary quite literally dripping in blood when she appears behind you, others telling of her dragging you away if you turn around to look at her in person as well as more macabre tales that talk of violent murders and blood pouring from taps.

Mary Worth

Is Bloody Mary real? Some people think so, based on the story of witch Mary Worth. It’s fair to say that the Bloody Mary history is long, and, well, extremely bloodied (ba-dum-tsh). Many people already believed that Mary was a witch, simply because she lived in the forest, in an extremely small cabin, and was known around the local village for selling tinctures and herbal remedies. Locals were very wary of her and didn’t want to get too close, fearful that she’d curse them or their or animals and those who chose to use her remedies were sometimes even shunned by the very religious for partaking in “wicca”.

Soon, small girls started to go missing. The people in the village looked everywhere that they could think of for them, but they just could not think of where she could be. A few brave folk even ventured toward Bloody Mary’s cabin to search for the girls there, and although the witch denied all knowledge of the girls’ disappearances, the families were suspicious. Her usually elderly and haggard appearance had drastically changed and she was starting to appear more feminine and youthful. The villagers were suspicious, but there was little they could do.

The Miller's Daughter

The Bloody Mary story continues with the miller’s daughter. One night, the poor girl was captivated by a mysterious noise that only she could hear, whilst her mum was sitting up in bed treating a very bad toothache using – as luck would have it – with a herbal tincture that she’d bought from Mary. The miller’s wife was very frightened, and shouted for her husband to come and help and follow her daughter. They were shouting at her daughter for her to come back but to no avail, as it was almost as though she was following an unspoken and unseeing force. Getting the help of a few townsfolk, the town farmer noticed that there was a light at the edge of the woods. When they got closer, they noticed again that Mary Worth was standing in a clearing, next to a huge oak tree. She was holding a wand, pointing it towards the miller’s home, and was almost glowing with an unnatural light – and the miller’s daughter was headed straight toward that light.

When people ask “What is Bloody Mary?” it’s quite hard to answer, particularly as witches don’t typically have wands, or glow with an unnatural light, but it’s fair to say that most people imagine her as a witch or some other type of supernatural being. Once the farmers and the miller’s father noticed just what Mary Worth was doing, they set upon her with pitchforks and guns and when she realised that everyone from the village knew what she was, she broke the spell and made for the forest.

So how did Bloody Mary die? Well, she wasn’t quick enough for the farmer. Quickly loading his gun with silver bullets in the event that Mary ever decided to turn her attention towards his daughter, he fired a shot and caught her in the hip. She was caught, kicking, thrashing and screaming and tied to a stake and a bonfire was promptly built so that this supposed witch could be gone for good. As she was burning, she set a curse upon the villagers and told them that if they ever dared to utter her name in a mirror, she would be back for them – her spirit would return to wherever they summoned her from to exact her revenge.

Unfortunately for the villagers with missing children, when they got back home to the village and returned to Mary’s house and did a proper search, they found what they were looking for – rows and rows of unmarked graves. It seemed that she’d been using the blood of their children to make herself more youthful!

The Bloody Mary Curse

The Bloody Mary legend doesn’t quite end there, however. The most common version of the legend states that if you chant her name three times into a mirror, you’ll summon the Bloody Mary ghost – and unfortunately for you, she’ll take your soul for her own, ripping yours to shreds in the process. She’ll leave your soul to burn, just like she was left to burn by the villagers and to top it all off, you’ll be subjected to an eternity trapped in the mirror. Now, are you still asking “is Bloody Mary real?” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the one to test out this particular legend…

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