Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bloody Mary: A Timeless Urban Legend

The urban legend of Bloody Mary is a rather simple and straightforward urban legend with many different versions that have surfaced over the years. The most common is to go into a bathroom close the door and turn off the lights and light a single candle. While looking into the mirror you chant “I believe in Blood Mary” 3 times and Bloody Mary will appear to you and do one of the following things:

- Scratch your entire body.

- Gouge your eyes out and leave you to die.

- Grab you and bring you into the mirror to live with her for eternity.

- Show herself in the mirror.

- Be driven insane or scared to death from the sight of her.

As I see it this is one of the most talked about and  common of any urban legend of all time. As it is one of the older urban legends over the years there have been many different versions and some confusion of its origination. From what I have read there are 3 different women in history that all get twisted together when this urban legend is told. Mary Tudor (Queen Mary I)and Mary Worth are two names and their parts in history, one being the Queen of England and the other a witch burned at the stake during the witch trials.

Queen Mary I who reigned during the Tudor period has been mistaken as “Bloody Mary.” It is easy to understand the mistaken identity because Mary Tudor was a rather gruesome ruler burning and executing people for heresy to the point that the streets reeked from the burnt corpses and decaying bodies. A different version of the legend talks of a baby, such as “Bloody Mary I stole your baby”. Mary Tudor suffered from multiple phantom pregnancies with no record of ever giving birth leading to the conclusion of her infertility. This legend states that Bloody Mary had a child, so Mary Tudor is not the women that this urban legend is based on, however, there are many similarities to the woman I believe it to be based on.

Mary Worth who was a witch that dabbled in the black arts and was later burned at the stake for crimes of witch craft is the most likely origin of the urban legend of “Blood Mary.” It is believed that Mary Worth did not have any children but this does not rule her out as the origin of this urban legend. It may not have been proven but local children started to go missing and the townsfolk searched but found no clue to their whereabouts. Mary was later tried as a witch, found guilty and sentenced to burn at the stake. Before she died, as the flames devoured her flesh, she curse the town and it’s people.  The curse was one of revenge to anyone who dared say they believe in her 3 times.

I am unable to find any evidence to back up this next possible origin but I remember reading this story and it stands out of a very close runner up to the real origin of this urban legend. I do not have any names but it happened a few hundred years ago, back in the era of witch hunts and trials. A commoner had an affair with the mayor of her town but when the woman began to show all the signs of being pregnant the mayor ignored her and even shunned her. Until the day of the child’s birth he denied her and the child. The resemblance between the mayor and the little girl was undeniable. To save face the mayor made the decision to force the little girl and her mother out of the town. The town’s people in an unforgivable act of cruelty chased her out of town with rocks and whips. This wasn’t enough for the mayor as he ordered her killed and in a depraved twist had her watch her own death in a mirror. With her last breathe she cursed the town and all its town folk saying she would have her revenge if anyone dared to say her name 3 times while looking into a mirror. This story appears to have the most possibility of being the real origin of this urban legend however with no facts to back it up its hard to say if it could have happened or if it is just a well written short story.

The last possible mix up is with Elizabeth Bathory who was a real person who did a lot of truly horrifying and sadistic things including bathing in the blood of virgins but her name is not Mary but the bloody part could make sense but I do not believe there is any link between Elizabeth Bathory and the Bloody Mary urban legend.


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