USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘mirrors’
Game
Legends
Narrative

Mirror Man

After I told a friend that I was collecting folklore for one of my classes, he was intrigued so I asked him if he had any folklore he’d like to contribute. I briefly explained the different kinds of folklore he could tell me. He said he wanted to think of something that is specific to his hometown, and the following came to mind, though he prefaced his account to mention that he wasn’t sure or not if this practice was just specific to his hometown.

“I’m not sure how local it is, but I’ve heard many people tell it, it’s called ‘Mirror Man.’ So, what Mirror Man is, it’s similar to Bloody Mary and in…at a sleepover or something one of the kids would go into a bathroom or something, alone, at midnight or 3am or something, lock the door, and look in the mirror in the dark and think of something you want, and you have to stand still and stare at your reflection for long enough to see your reflection move, and that means your wish has been granted and then you have to move. But, if you continue to stare after it’s [the reflection] moved, something bad will happen to you, like being sucked into another dimension by your reflection or something. But, then, some people will try to stay as long as possible after the reflection has moved to see what happens so it’s not just a wish granting thing but a bravery, dare thing.”

Afterward, he told me that he often did this at sleepovers when he was younger, and told me a few personal anecdotes surrounding his experiences, but requested I did not include them.

Folk Beliefs
Legends
Life cycle
Narrative
Signs

Ability to See Ghosts

A fellow student in this class and I met to exchange folklore. We are both very aware of the guidelines of the project, so there was no explaining necessary. Neither of us had any preference for certain category of folklore, so we agreed to share whatever we wanted. She chose the following story. BD is the informant, PH is myself

BD: My name is Beanna, I am 19, I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. What other questions are there?

PH: Nationality

BD: I’m Filipino but I’m also American, my family is third generation

So when my mom was a senior in high school her dad passed away and then she…was the only one there when he actually passed away and ever since then she says that she can see ghosts or like not see ghosts but she experiences ghostly things..so…like seven years ago my grandmother on my dad’s side passed away, and again, like, my mom was not the only one there but, after that we were cleaning up my grandmother’s house and my mom said that she saw my grandmother in the …mirror? Like the main mirror of the house and like every time she passes it she sees like a white flash…and I’m not really sure if that white flash is also supposed to be my grandmother? It’s kind of freaky…and, yeah, things like that happen. Like whenever someone passes away and my mom knows about it, all of a sudden, she gets, like, mirror sightings ‘cause I don’t think it helps that in our house in our main hallway we have this very large mirror and like our neighbor’s…mom passed away …two years ago? And my mom kept insisting for like three weeks after that she kept seeing flashes in the mirror… Yeah.

PH: Wow. So, do you believe that she is, like, seeing those things and seeing ghosts?

BD: Not really, no. (Laughs) It’s also kind of like a Filipino superstition thing because her mom also thinks that she can see ghosts which is really weird because, like, my mom thinks it stems from her being present when her dad died, but my mom’s mom was not there, so why would she be able to see ghosts by that same logic, sort of?

Folk Beliefs

Wordless Bloody Mary

“I learned this from my mom, it’s like a superstition, I think. If you’re ever in the dark, don’t look at the mirror, and I have no clue why, because she never said what would happen, just that i should “never, ever look in the mirror in the dark, because something bad will happen.” I guess it’s a ghost superstition similar to Bloody Mary, but you don’t have to say anything. Ever since then—even though I don’t believe in it—I still don’t look into the mirror when it’s dark, just in case.”


 

Analysis:

This belief is incredibly similar to the “Bloody Mary” superstition, as the informant noted. Despite not believing in the superstition, the informant still tries to not look into mirrors, which shows how deeply the belief has pervaded culture, especially within her own family.

The Guardian covers a few of the variations on the Bloody Mary beliefs in the article below.

https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/jul/06/top-10-urban-legends-myths-james-dawson

Magic
Protection

Removing Evil Spirits from a Beauty Salon

Nationality: American / Bosnia-Herzegovina

Primary Language: English

Other Language(s): Serbian

Age: 54

Residence: New York City, USA

Performance Date: April 10, 2017 (via Skype)

 

 

Sania is a 54- year old women born and raised in Bosnia-Herzegovina and emigrated to the United States over 34 years ago.  She is the owner of a beauty salon in New York City.

 

Many more people are realizing (and I have come strongly to believe) that energy, good and bad can affect everything in life, from health to work. A few years ago, my salon was having trouble with my website, e-commerce, phone lines, and we couldn’t figure it out. One particular day, my website crashed, for no reason, and the back up company said they had never seen this before, and lost their file as well. I told a friend who is also a famous photographer, and he brought in some energy healers.  They basically walk around the salon to check out every corner, mirrors, etc.  They then took my energy to be at the same sequence as me.. and little did they know there was an acquaintance who basically tried to steal my identity. They cleansed the mirrors, cleansed the windows (I was directly facing the church, which wasn’t good).. and used sage and diamonds and other jewels to cleanse the place. They told me my website would be running within a few hours.. sure enough that night my daughter called so excited because the pages of my website went up. By morning everything was running. Phone lines running well, etc. Now they come every few months to make sure things are ok. The last visit, they noticed one of the mirrors had something bothersome and they placed a card over the mirror (from a distance), and then my LOCKED French Doors flew open.  This never happens even if they were somewhat open! They said people look into this mirror when entering, and people carry all kinds of energy. It can be intentional or accidental. But good to use sage, at the very least for cleansing. These women are scholars from Brown, and I believe Harvard. I have become a believer, and they helped many people I have referred them to.

 

 

 

Thoughts about the piece:

This informant is a sophisticated American business owner that relates her success to her respect for old traditions. A similar Native American practice is described here: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17875/a-sage-smudging-ritual-to-cleanse-your-aura-clear-your-space.html

 

 

 

 

general

Mirrors

Mirror Ghost

If you sleep with your head/face toward the mirror then the ghost in the mirror will come out and chop off your head. I heard this from my parents when I was in elementary school and I got my first room. I asked them by the bedframe was facing away from the mirror and not toward it and they told me this story.

The Analysis:

This was a ghost story that his parents told him to spook my friend as a child. He mentioned, however, that many of his friends also shared similar stories that were told by their respective parents as a child. The ghost would not always come out from a mirror but maybe spring out from under the bed, from the closet, or a window. It appears that parents use ghosts and scary stories as a means of keeping their children tucked into bed throughout the night, and leaving them to stay still and not clamber around the room.

[geolocation]