Legend Of Bloody Mary

Will chanting ‘Bloody Mary’ in front of a mirror summon the vengeful presence?

Legend Of Bloody Mary

Sarah Grover, Writer and Editor

        As humans there is one thing that brings us all together — we’re scared of chanting Bloody Mary into a mirror. Of course, many claim they are not scared, but regardless of that, deep within they know how terrified they are. You may have spent sleepovers chanting her name into a mirror. But only few people know where the legend comes from. 



Just think a few years back to your sleepovers and talking about ghosts, haunted legends, and watching horror movies that were absolutely inappropriate for your age. Were you the squeaky voice who asked, “Who is Bloody Mary?” Hopefully not, you would have likely been suckered into this legend, which says that if you hold a lit candle in a darkened room with a mirror and say “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary” into that mirror, you’ll see the rather startling image of Mary’s reflection in the mirror behind you. Different versions of the story offer different stories of the tale, with some imagining Bloody Mary quite literally dripping in blood when she appears behind you. While others telling of her dragging you away if you turn around to look at her in person as well as more shocking tales that talk of violent murders and blood pouring from taps. Sometimes, she’s said to be holding a baby— a dead baby. Other times, her arms are empty and outstretched as the conjurer taunts her: “I stole your baby,” or “I killed your baby.” 


Who IS Bloody Mary?

There are a few different options to who could be seen in those bathroom mirrors.


Candidate No 1: Queen Mary Ⅰ


  Once someone has a nickname, it is hard to shake it off. No one knows that better than Queen Mary I. Or well, history remembers her as— Bloody Mary.


The name didn’t appear out of nowhere. She was known for burning nearly 300 protestants in her attempts to make England more Catholic. Unfortunately, like how she brought so much death into this world, she was unable to bring any life. She had a very believable false pregnancy. In fact, Queen Mary looked pregnant to everyone around her. When it was almost time for expected labor, the doctors were prepared for birth. Though the baby never came, and soon her swollen belly started to recede. It turned out that the Queen was never actually pregnant.

A few months later, Mary was thought to be pregnant. But like the earlier instance, this turned out to be false, again. Although even worse, she died in the middle of it. 

“Besides the fact that she has the name for it, Queen Mary I makes quite a convincing case to be Bloody Mary. Those that believe she’s Bloody Mary say she is searching for her lost children and ready to steal one if she must” (Claire Linic, 2017)


Candidate No 2:  Mary, Queen of Scots


Unlike the other women on this list, Mary Queen of Scots was not believed to cause much bloodshed, it just *seemed* to happen around her. Her unwise marriage with her cousin turned out to be sour when Earl of Darnley stabbed a man 56 times in front of Pregnant Mary. Later, Earl of Darnley died mysteriously. There never really was proof to point the finger towards Mary— who happened to later marry one of the main suspects of Darnley’s murder.


After even more stain to her name, Mary took up her infant son, John (later to become the King of England) and traveled to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I to beg for protection from her rivals. Although, Elizabeth thought that Mary might take over the throne, so Mary was thrown in jail, where she was imprisoned for 19 years. After more conspiracies told to Elizabeth and a few elaborate escape plans on Mary’s part, she was sentenced to death by beheading. Unfortunately, the executioner was unskilled, and took several attempts to kill Mary.


It’s possible that this gruesome death and all the bloodshed that seemed to surround her entire life that has made Queen Mary of Scots a strong candidate for Bloody Mary.


Candidate No 3:  Elizabeth Bathory


Surely her name is not Mary, but she is capable of being in the equation. Actually, nothing should be done that might upset the spirit of Elizabeth Bathory. Also known as the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian royal in the 1500s, and remains the most prolific female serial killer in history. In fact, she is thought to be the inspiration behind the Dracula. She definitely earned it.


  From an early age, she witnessed her father’s officers torture the peasantry that lived near her family’s estate. This story underscores two major aspects that may have influenced Bathory: exposure to incredible violence and her family’s condoning attitude toward it. Accounts render her partiality for inflicting pain on others and claim that she wo­rked with accomplices. One may have been her husband, Ferencz Nadasdy, and others were members of her court.

Nadasdy married Bathory when she was 15. As a soldier, he spent most of his time away from home. There’s suspision that Nadasdy may have taught his wife new torture methods, while other researchers believe he was ignorant of her actions. What’s agreed upon is that Bathory practiced most of her crimes in his absence.

Bathory has been said to kill more that 600 people – mainly for blood – to stay young and beautiful forever. She bathed in the blood of those young girls she tortured and killed. There is no way to get an official count of how many girls died in the Blood Countess’s castle. Elizabeth Bathory had an unsatisfied thirst for killing, and could get away with it because of her vast wealth (even the king owed her money). Hundreds of girls seemed to “disappear” in her castle. There were reports of cannibalism, beatings, stranglings, stabbings (with needles) and even ripping from Elizabeth’s own teeth. 


It would be no wonder that even in death Elizabeth Bathory’s thirst for young blood would continue, making her just as strong a contender as the others.



I believe in Bloody Mary

Tying historical figures to urban legends might seem irresponsible. But legends are usually rooted in a shred of truth. No matter what you believe, one thing is certain— these aren’t the women you want to appear in your bathroom mirror, late at night.


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