October is known to be a spooky month, but how often does something spooky actually occur? When I was younger, I used to test the old tale of “Bloody Mary” around the month of October. The tradition of this tale is to enter a bathroom at night with the lights dimmed, then turning around three times while saying “Bloody Mary” with each turn. Stories say that by doing this, you will see Bloody Mary’s reflection behind you in the mirror, which could even result in potential death.
While my younger self can testify to having seen Bloody Mary in the mirror, I haven’t tried the tale since. So, is the tale false? Most likely. Many studies indicate that inanimate objects do have the tendency to appear when starring into dimly lit mirrors, which can be attributed to either Troxler’s Fading or self-hypnosis. This is similar to the images you may have seen either in psychology classes or online telling you to stare at an image for an extended period of time, while trying to minimize the number of times you blink. What you may notice is that the image may not only appear to be moving, but when you look away at a wall, the image may appear there as well. Try out the image for yourself below:
If the tale of “Bloody Mary” is fake, then how did it originate? Many studies suggest that it could have originated from various Mary’s in the past who have either killed others or have had multiple miscarriages. However, many point to the high probability of the story coming from the reign of Mary I of England. And although there has not been any definite answer to how the tale began, many also question why children feel so compelled to chant the verse if they know the potential consequences.
What do you think: Did you ever chant “Bloody Mary”? Do you have a story of a scary occurrence from someone chanting the phrase? Why do children love testing this tale so much?