Taken from ‘Urban Legends Uncovered – Reloaded’ by Mark Barber  AVAILABLE SOON ON KINDLE

Name: Bloody Mary
Code: HR4705
Origin: Unknown
Status: False

The Legend . . .

A group of girls are having a sleepover, and sometime during the night they decide to take it in turns to tell each other ghost stories. By the time the storytelling reaches Anne’s turn, all the girls are already feeling freaked out. After thinking hard, Anne decides to tell a story that her aunty used to tell her. The name of the story is Bloody Mary and it goes something like this:

Over one hundred years ago, a woman by the name of Mary Worth was lynched from her family home by an angry mob accusing her of witchcraft. She was tortured and then burned at the stake, an event which was witnessed by the whole village. As the burning flames engulfed her, she screamed out a curse damning the whole village.
It is said that the vengeful spirit of Mary Worth can be summoned by looking directly into a mirror after it is dark and with no lights on. After saying ‘Bloody Mary’ five times, her face will appear in the mirror and… well, no one knows.

After Anne has told her story, the girls are shocked into silence. After a short period they start giggling nervously and dare one another to go into the bathroom, turn out the lights, look into the mirror and say ‘Bloody Mary’ five times. Anne takes up the challenge and tells the girls that it was just a story and that she doesn’t believe in Mary Worth anyway.

Anne enters the bathroom, and the girls hear her say ‘Bloody Mary’ five times. After the fifth time there is deadly silence, and the girls start knocking on the bathroom door asking Anne if she’s all right. After a few minutes the door slowly opens and Anne appears in the doorway. She is visibly shaking and has gone as white as a ghost. She is clenching her fists so hard that she has drawn blood in the palms of her hand.

Anne has never been able to tell the girls or anyone else what actually happened in that bathroom.

The Investigation . . .

A story to spice up any sleepover, don’t you agree? An absolutely classic horror tale that has all the ingredients for a UL, with garnish sprinkled on top. The tale actually incorporates a story within a story, making it seem very real, and very disturbing. No doubt almost everyone reading this has been involved in a sleepover of some kind and can relate to the story. Who hasn’t told scary stories, trying to spook each other once the lights have gone out?
The story that Anne told was different, though. Like playing with a Ouija board, innocent fun can turn dangerous. So why did Anne tempt fate by going into the bathroom and summoning the ghost of Mary Worth? It’s the thrill of the dare, the excitement of facing the unknown.
The name of the spirit that is summoned varies from version to version; the following are the most popular:

Bloody Mary
Mary Worth
Hell Mary
Mary Worthington
Mary Whales
Mary Johnson
Mary Lou
Mary Jane
Kathy
Sally
Agnes
Bloody Bones
Svarte Madame
La Llorna
The Devil

The number of times that the name is chanted into the mirror also varies. One variation is that you begin by chanting the name in a whisper and raise your voice gradually after each chant. After the thirteenth chant Mary Worth appears in the mirror and slashes your face. Normally the chant is ‘Bloody Mary’, but it can also be, ‘I believe in Mary Worth’ or ‘Kathy, come out!’

And Finally . . .

The origins of this UL cannot be easily traced, although throughout the history of mythology mirrors have often been seen as a gateway to other dimensions. In the past, mirrors have traditionally been covered up after there has been a death in the house. This is so the spirit of the deceased cannot glimpse itself in a mirror, condemning it to haunt our world forever.

Another interesting cultural link to this UL is that in times past young girls used to carry out a similar ritual. After reciting a particular rhyme, an unmarried girl would look into a mirror to see the image of her future husband.

A further version of Bloody Mary has the spirit of Mary Worth walking along roadsides looking for her murdered children. If a car picks her up, she disappears before reaching her destination. This version bears a very strong similarity to The Vanishing Hitch-hiker and is probably linked in some way.

This is an excerpt from the book ‘Urban Legends Uncovered – Reloaded’ by Mark Barber

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