Friday, June 28, 2013

Bloody Mary - Childhood Summoning Rituals

Warning: If you engage in any of the activities described below, you do so at your own risk. Even if you don’t believe there is a paranormal risk, there actually are non-paranormal risks to summoning rituals, as I’ll explain.

The schoolyard scary stories that stand out the most from my childhood, are those that concern Bloody Mary. Hyped on TV shows like ‘Ghost Whisperer’ as a College urban legend and initiation right, before Junior High I’d heard dozens of variations on the Bloody Mary ritual, and had been present at almost as many attempted summonings.


Generally Bloody Mary is summoned by going into the bathroom, closing the door, turning of the lights, and chanting her name (at least 3 times). Some variations require you to turn or close your eyes as you chant her name.

While I’m fine and nothing ever happened to me, beyond seeing the normal optical illusions cause by staring at reflections in the dark, and having other girls shriek in my ears, I still don’t recommend this:
* Staring at your reflection in the dark can actually be bad for your mental health, as prolonged exposure to the distorted image of yourself may cause identity disorders.
* Running in fear often causes injuries, and exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss.

Historically ‘Bloody Mary’ is the nickname give to Queen Mary I, who is best known for persecuting Protestants and experiencing multiple false pregnancies. However she is rarely the featured Mary in the Urban Legends. Sometimes Mary is stated to be a prom queen, sometimes she is a farm girl, and at others she overstressed college student.

Bloody Mary’s demise is attributed to several things, shooting, hanging, car crash, suicide… but never influenza. Yep, thanks wikipedia [1]. Often she was said to be pregnant, or a new mother. One dramatic story involves a pregnant prom queen being shot at the event and falling back onto a mirror shattering it, forever cursing her to haunt the realm of mirrors. Interestingly, mirrors have a long been thought to be capable of trapping the souls of dead, so much so that in some regions people used to cover all the reflective surfaces in their house when someone died to keep their spirit from being trapped.

Some tales explained that Mary’s baby that survived her, and you can supposedly coax her out by saying, “Bloody Mary, I’ve got your baby.” In some stories Mary had a cat, and also, sometimes a horse. You could ask her to show you one or both of them, “Bloody Mary, I want to see your cat”, “And I want to see your horse”, but it was said the cat would scratch you, and horse might trample you.

Mary was also sometimes said to be in league with Candyman (who apparently can be summoned in a similar fashion).

Hearing all these tales, it became pretty obvious that they couldn’t all be true. And the summonings were never very effective, so perhaps Bloody Mary didn’t really even exist at all. But then, how long until she could exist? There’s some that believe spirits can be created through prolonged concentration and belief. If this is true, the next time someone tries to summon Bloody Mary may be their last.

Due to the internet the number of summoning game options for young (and old) experimenters has surged, crossing cultural and geographical boundaries.

Some similar Summoning Rituals include:
* Fortune Game/Crossroads Divination - Asking strangers to tell you your fortune in the middle of the night in hopes they are ghosts or the devil.
* Hide and Seek/One Man Hide and Seek - A ‘game’ of hide and seek with a possessed doll.
* Love Me Game - Summoning an evil spirit to curse someone if it turns out they don’t love you.
* The Midnight Game - The summoning of a dark sprit, just to play hide and seek.
* Pencil Game - The summoning of a ghost to answer questions.
* Three Kings - Summoning beings from other dimensions. This ritual also involves mirrors.
* White Kimono - The summoning of a ghost woman to your dreams.

Full rituals for these can be found on the Scary For Kids website. Alternate translations of some can also be found on the Saya In Underworld Blog. Saya asks that you do not repost her posts, please respect this.

[1] ~ Also, according to wikipedia the ritual originally made no mention of Bloody Mary, but rather was a way for young ladies to find out the face of their future husband, or if they would die unmarried.

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