A Tale of Two Bloody Marys

by M-Gillies
Portrait of Queen Mary I and a woman staring into a mirror in a dark room .

Queen Mary I and Mary Worth were both known as Bloody Mary and their legends inspired the vodka and tomato juice drink of the same name.

Here’s what is needed:

1-1/2 ounces of Queen Mary I,
3 ounces of Mary Worth,
1 dash of black arts,
1/2 tsp of folklore,
3 drops of the name Bloody Mary,
And one mirror.

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and what you’ve got is a recipe for the legend of the popular catoptromancy parlor game Bloody Mary.

Perhaps the most recognizable contemporary legend ever told. For years, the tale of Bloody Mary has been used as a tool to evoke the malevolent spirit of its namesake, further inciting unspeakable terror and cementing a legend that has sparked the morbid curiosity of many.

While the legend is rich with embellished creativity and tragic storytelling, there have been many variations of its history, leaving most folklorists to speculate the origins of the myth. Though some people speculate the story comes from a 100 year old legend of a witch known as Mary Worth, its roots can be traced as far back as the fifteenth century.

Known as the daughter of King Henry VIII, the second son of the House of Tudor; Mary I earned the title Bloody Mary after her death in 1553. During her reign as Queen regnant of England, Mary I, a devout Catholic, set in motion the desire to reform England back to Roman Catholic practices and develop one ideological nation. With her implementation, Mary I became responsible for the deaths of English Protestants who, in refusing to convert to Catholicism, were burned at the stake for heresy.

To further put a contemporary spin in the legend, variations of another influence appeared named Mary Worth or Worthington. Said to be a practitioner of the black arts, Mary Worth was said to have been burned at the stake for the heretic crime of witch craft. Adding to the mystery of the folklore, it was said that after she had been burned, local children started disappearing from neighboring villages. While the story is unsupported by true facts, the variations have often differed throughout the years.

Nevertheless, as the urban legend goes, anyone who enters a washroom with the lights off and the door closed while chanting the name Bloody Mary three times to the mirror will evoke the spirit of a mutilated, blood-drenched woman. Upon her appearance, it is said that she will scratch your entire body; gouge your eyes; and even pull you into the mirror.

So the next time the power goes out while you’re using the washroom, ask yourself if you’re willing to risk chanting the incantation Bloody Mary three times.

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