The True Story of Bloody Mary

Most of us know the story of Bloody Mary, the horrid woman who you can summon by standing in a dark room with only a candle and repeating her name three times, “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary.”

People claim that she will appear, in ghastly form, presumably dripping blood from her eyes, mouth and even fingertips. She will then either kill you, eat you, or drag you to hell.

Bloody Mary Image
What Bloody Mary could look like.

Bloody Mary is pretty much a ritual at sleepovers and part of a teen girl’s party-game repertoire. I played the game myself, back in the day. Only, back then, we didn’t call the ghost/witch/demon “Bloody Mary.” We called her “Mary Worth.”

In our version of the game, we’d chant, “I believe in Mary Worth, I believe in Mary Worth, I believe in Mary Worth.”

Like the Blood Mary game, we did this in front of the mirror with the lights off. We didn’t have a candle because it wasn’t allowed. (Flames and a giggly girl-party is a situation just asking for trouble.)

Perhaps the lack of candle use is why I’m still here and not dead or in hell, although sometimes I wonder. ha ha

Now, one of the things I love about ghost stories (besides getting scared), is that most of the time, the story has some historical significance. We learn a lot about things from bygone times. Like teaching kids in school by putting their lessons to music or games, ghost stories are kind of an interesting way to learn about history and maybe even politics.

My point is, this game came from somewhere and I went and checked it out.

The Legend of Mary Worth

According to the story, Mary Worth was a witch who lived on a road along which slaves fleeing the South would travel. Similar to Madame LeLaurie, Mary Worth had dark intentions. She would lure the slaves to her home where she would trap them and keep them in her barn. There, she would perform dark and dreadful acts upon them. The present-day connection between mirrors and chanting is now lost, but suffice it to say, I would not want to meet or be in the vicinity of this dreadful witch/woman.

The Original Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary - Queen Mary I
Courtesy of Hans Eworth Public Domain

This person was the daughter of Henry VIII, notorious for his cruel and impulsive ways. Well, this Mary became Queen Mary I of England and also Queen of Ireland. She was Queen of England for nearly five years after her father died, but not before she led a deadly crusade against the Protestants. Her dad, King Henry VIII, was Protestant, yet Mary was Catholic. She was so enthusiastic in her faith, that she revived a law that mandated that people’s faith follow the religion in power and since she was Catholic, Protestantism was doomed.

Mary and her armies pursued and executed hundreds of Protestants who refused to convert to Catholicism. Because of her thirst for religious conquest, she became known – and feared – as Bloody Mary.

Now which of these ladies is the real Bloody Mary? In my opinion, it’s not worth arguing, because the truth is – either or both of them are worth avoiding at all costs.

So the next time YOU’RE at a party and someone wants to turn the light off, you might want to go for a walk.

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