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Behind The Real Story Of Bloody Mary

Mary Tudor
Mary Tudor

Bloody Mary is a Folklore that originated in Europe, but her legend has spread across the sea. As with any myths and folklore, there must be an origin, a figure that inspired such myths. When it comes to the topic of Bloody Mary, some say she is inspired by Queen Mary I, the first Queen of England.

Some also argue that the legend was modeled after a Hungarian Noblewoman, an evil witch who caused the murder of an innocent young woman to stay young forever. Or Mary Worth, a woman who killed slaves who escaped to South America through the Underground Railroad. Interestingly enough, ‘Bloody Mary’ is also an alcoholic drink made from Vodka and Tomato that is believed to cure hangovers.

Many believe that the drink got its name from Queen Mary I due to her status as a Protestant killer, and the tomato juice’s red color signifies the protestants’ blood. Drinks or Myths, the legends of Bloody Mary are spread across the west, and we are here to debunk its origin.

The rituals of summoning Bloody Mary

According to the myth, one must use a dim-lit or candle-lit room for this trick to work, someplace where light does not enter much. The preferred time is obviously at night. One must stand in front of the mirror and chant the name ‘Bloody Mary’ thirteen times. Allegedly Bloody Mary appears in front of the mirror if one does this ritual with exact precision and accuracy.

The ghost may be friendly or evil (it depends on your luck!). It has a very gore appearance with blood all over its face. The myth states that the apparition may harm the person involved in the ritual. Historically the ritual was done by young women to find their future husbands. These young women are encouraged to walk up a flight of stairs.

They walk backward, holding a candle in one hand and a hand mirror in the other hand. This ritual is done at night when it is dark on the outside as well as on the inside of the house. As they walk, they are supposed to catch a glimpse of their future husband’s face in the mirror. If, however, they find a skull in the mirror, it implies that they are going to die before they would have the chance to marry. 

A still from Bloody Mary (Film)

A still from Bloody Mary (Film)

The Woman Behind the Myth of Bloody Mary

There are many speculations as to who was the woman behind the origin of this myth. Most historians point their speculations toward Mary Tudor, The Queen of England. The ascension of her power was equally thrilling and bloody as a character in Game of Thrones. Mary Tudor was the daughter of King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. 

Mary’s Father, Henry VIII, was a historically important figure as he single-handedly split the association of the Roman Catholic church from the English Monarchy. And the reason for this was that the church did not allow him to divorce his then-wife Catherine of Aragon. In his pursuit to sire a male heir, he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.

This turn of events made the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII illegitimate, and hence the title of Mary changed from ‘Princess’ to ‘Lady.’ Though she refused to accept this, she certainly could not stop her father from wife-hunting. This is the same man who diminished the decade-long power of the Catholic Church in England so he could marry and sire an Heir.

King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

The Rebellion of Queen Mary I

Despite her father’s reforms, she still stuck with her faith in the Catholic Church, While her father continued to marry and then kill off his wives when they did not produce him an heir. In pursuit of this, he did succeed. His third marriage with Jane Seymour gave him Edward VI. Jane died shortly after giving birth to their son. 

Edward VI reigned only for a short period of six years. Before his death, he passed down the throne to his Protestant Cousin, Lady Jane Gray. Mary the first seized this opportunity and took the throne from Lady Jane Gray by executing her.

Protestants being killed, credits: GETTY

Protestants being killed, credits: GETTY

She got the throne which was rightfully hers, and to redeem all her father’s mistakes, she brought Catholic Church back to England. In 1555 she introduced a new law called heretico comburendo which punished heretics by burning them at the stake.

Her reasoning behind this was that few executions would prompt the protestant to come back to Catholic Church. But she underestimated the vigor of the protestants. They stood by their faith which ended up causing the life of more than 300 Protestants. Her Savagory of killing the Protestants gave her the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’

Queen Mary I and Her Tragic Pregnancy

The apparition of Bloody Mary in the mirror is often described as a figure covered in blood with a child in her hand. This might be due to the abortion she suffered during her marriage. As a monarch, her first priority was to sire an heir so she could secure her throne. Two months after her marriage to Philip, she announced she was pregnant, she showed all symptoms of pregnancy, but she did not deliver a baby.

Rumors of her giving birth to a lump of flesh spread across the court. Mary I, with her rebellious nature and cunning reign, passed at the age of 42 without a child. The throne was then passed to her half-sister Elizabeth who brought back the Protestantism that she tried her best to keep away.

Queen Mary I and Philip II

Queen Mary I and Philip II

The legend says that you’ll anger the ghost if you chant ‘I’ll Kill your Baby’ or “I stole your Baby.” The reason for this is because of the pregnancy history of Queen Mary I.

Elizabeth Báthory, the Hungarian witch

Elizabeth Bathory is a Hungarian Noblewoman who allegedly killed girls and young women. Rumors are that she tortured them by sewing their lips together, then beating them with clubs and burning them with hot irons.

She took their blood and bathed on this to retain her youthful appearance. For such a grotesque act, she deserves the name ‘Bloody Mary,’ But some say that it was nothing but a rumor spread by the King as he had owed her late husband some debts. 

Mary, the unfortunate child 

Back in 1800, when the high death rate was plaguing humanity due to lack of health care, the people invented a method of burying people with a hole in their coffin and strings attached to the hole with a bell at the end, in hopes that if they were buried alive by mistake, then they would ring the bell. Medical science was not well advanced in the 1800s, and burying people alive by mistake was a possibility.

Bloody Mary Credit a-lanna,

Bloody Mary Credit a-lanna,

When a little child named Mary died, she was buried in a similar manner, and her parents waited for the sound of the bell. When her parents were away, the neighbor who had animosity with her parents came and covered the coffin with mud. After a few moments after the incident, Mary woke up and rang the bell, but no one heard her.

She tried to open her coffin with her bare hand, causing her nails to bleed, and she died there in the coffin with no one to help. When her parents got back, they understood that their child was awake, but they couldn’t help. Some say this is the bloody mary in the legends. There may be a thousand stories behind the myth, but the urban legend of Bloody Mary continues to live through generations.  

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