At the stroke of midnight, I went into the bathroom and closed the door. The only light in the room came from a dim electronic candle.
I placed it beneath the mirror and began to whisper, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary..."
The reflective property of surfaces, such as water and mirrors, have propagated supernatural beliefs that reflections have the ability to show hidden information, alternate worlds, or the souls of the viewer. These beliefs created superstitions against breaking mirrors and using them as catalysts to invoke spirits.
I searched the web for urban legends about mirrors but the only notable stories I found were Bloody Mary and an offshoot called Blue Baby Blue.
I tried one variation of Bloody Mary where I chanted thirteen times in a successive manner. In another ritual, I chanted while spinning and raising my voice with each rotation. The only thing I invoked was my mum, who stormed downstairs and asked what I was doing.
I tried two variations of Blue Baby Blue that was distinct from its parent ritual. In one version, I had to fog the mirror with my breath and stare until a bloody face appeared. For another, I had to cradle an imaginary baby and swing until my arms were sore. Needless to say, my efforts were fruitless.
The most common misconception about Bloody Mary is the namesake. Many people attribute the spirit's name to Mary I of England.
She wasn't a vengeful spirit, but a monarch renown for ordering the execution of Protestants en-masse in the 16th century.
I had more success replicating another experiment that involved mirrors. In 2010, Giovanni Caputo - an Italian psychologist - published an article in Perception about the effects of staring at your own reflection in a dimly lit room. Within a 10 minute period, participants reported seeing visual distortions. Caputo believes that this phenomenon is caused by the brain's facial recognition system repeatedly processing the same information and its tendency to seek patterns within visual information.
It's also possible to experience this phenomenon by staring at another person. The hosts of Good Mythical Morning, an online morning talk show, Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln "Link" Neal III replicate the experiment for themselves with much hilarity.
For my personal attempt at this optical illusion, I stared at a compact mirror while sitting in front of a nightlight. During the next 10 minutes, my complexion started to change. My face began to look more haggard and the shadows lining my features became more pronounced. Also, my lazy eye kept darting from left to right; this was odd because my left eye usually doesn't travel while I'm wearing glasses.
This test of courage wasn't very exciting but at least that's another item off my bucket list. If I had more resources, I might have tried The Three Kings Ritual, which is creepy enough to give me second thoughts.
Photo Credit: William Au
Video Credit: Good Mythical Morning
William Au is a student in the Professional Writing program with a love for storytelling that spans every medium of expression. His free time is spent sleeping, partaking of new experiences, and indulging in books and films. He helps run the Video Game Club at Algonquin College and collects children's books