Urban Legends: Hauntings or Hoax?
Article By: Kelly Kalb
Merriam-Webster’s definition of urban legend: an often lurid story or anecdote that is based on hearsay and widely circulated as true—called also urban myth.
“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…” I’m sure all of you have heard the urban legend of Bloody Mary. There are so many versions of this story, but no one knows for sure when or where they began. The myth has been told for decades and has multiple confusing elements.
Bloody Mary most often is referred to as a ghost or witch from English folklore. She is supposed to appear when her name is said anywhere from three to one-hundred times in front of a mirror in a dimly lit room. What happens next varies depending on which version you’ve been told. Some believe she appears covered in blood and will rip off your face, scratch your eyes out, cut off your head, drive you insane, or pull you into the mirror. Death is usually the end result.
Some people believe Bloody Mary is about a woman named Mary Worth who is said to be a child
murderer from somewhere in the west. Mary Worth may also be a witch that was burned at the stake or hanged 100 years ago and has returned to seek revenge. Others have heard of Queen Mary I and how she was driven to insanity by the loss of her children by a marked number of miscarriages and false pregnancies. However, Queen Mary I also was known as Bloody Mary in her time due to the torture and beheadings of prisoners that occurred under her rule.
Yet another story has Bloody Mary being a young woman living in a small village in England who was extremely beautiful and gazed at herself for hours in a mirror. A young witch was said to be very jealous of Mary and cast a spell on her disfiguring her terribly. Mary then cast her own spell that would disfigure anyone who called upon her while looking into a mirror.
The legend is frightening no matter which version you’ve heard, but do you have the courage to try? People have been doing it for thousands of years. It’s more commonly known as a divination ritual or scrying. Scrying can best be described as using a reflective surface to foretell the future. The story of Bloody Mary may have originated back in the old time diving ceremony of standing in front of a mirror with a candle in a dark room to see your future husband’s face. Scrying can even be traced back as far as Nostradamus who was known to look into a bowl of water to see the future.
Through the years the amount of urban legends has increased substantially. Some people feel the internet is a breeding ground for such myths.
Kelly Kalb lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, ages 5 and 3. She is a reporter for a local newspaper. She has a love for writing as well as history and ancestral research. Kalb also belongs to a paranormal group, The Pennsylvania Paranormal Association, that she contacted after having experienced unusual activity in her home and later joined the group as their Historical Research Director and full-time investigator. Through her work with The PPA, she has had the opportunity to work with producers on Animal Planet’s The Haunted and even appeared in an episode.