Bloody Mary

Informant Information — GD

  • Nationality: American
  • Age: 57
  • Occupation: Teacher
  • Residence: San Pedro, California
  • Date of Performance/Collection: March 20, 2022
  • Primary Language: English

This informant learned about Bloody Mary in elementary school in the late 1960s. Most of her friends from school also attended the same church and Bible study group, so they felt like they were a part of a very tightly-knit religious community. She shared this information with me in an in-person interview. 


Can you tell me the story of how you first experienced Bloody Mary?  


When I was in fourth or fifth grade, my group of girlfriends and I learned about the Bloody Mary game from some older girls. Our school bathrooms were really dark– they didn’t have any lights except for windows near the ceiling so they were really creepy. 

In the game, you had to lock yourself in the bathroom alone and stand in front of the mirror. You were supposed to close your eyes, say “Bloody Mary” three times, and then open your eyes. When you opened your eyes, you were supposed to be able to see a ghostly woman in a ballgown with black eyes and crying tears of blood. 

If you were a true Christian and believed in God, she wasn’t supposed to be able to touch you because you were too holy. If you only believed a little bit, she supposedly scratched you and left three bloody lines on your face. And if you didn’t believe in God at all or if you were evil, she was supposed to bring you into the mirror with her. 


Did you ever play the game? 


My friend went first, and she said that she saw Bloody Mary. I went after her but didn’t see anything in the mirror. I wasn’t sure what I did wrong so I lied about it and never admitted that I hadn’t actually seen her. 


This adaptation of Bloody Mary is very interesting to me as it reveals the large role of religious belief in the informant’s folk group. In this story, being exposed as a non-believer results in removal from the community as they are dragged into the mirror and disappear with Bloody Mary. Those of wavering faith are physically marked, seemingly teaching the person a lesson and informing others that the individual needs to be brought back into the community.