Bloody Mary Ritual

Main Piece:

Informant: “So I think, from what I remember, if you go into a bathroom and say Bloody Mary three times, and then flicker the lights, Um, then you are supposed to her in the mirror. She is supposed to appear.

Interviewer: “Who is her? Did you ever see her or? Did you remain the bathroom”?

Informant: “She is like inspired from like some brutal queen and you are supposed to see her ghost in the mirror. I think my cousins, who showed me it was older and locked us in the bathroom and they started chanting it, but I was too scared and yelling to notice if anything happened.


The informant is a 19- year-old female from St. Louis, Missouri. However, she now lives in Los Angeles and attends the University of Southern California. She says that her older cousins, also from St. Louis, introduced her to this when she was very young. “Bloody Mary” however is a classic American folk tradition that many children are introduced to at a young age to scare them. Many of the people that I know also have their own versions of the tradition, or similar ones in just from different regions. I believe the name of the legend comes from the historic Queen Mary I of England, who was known for killing many Protestants in the 17th century.


This story was related to me by the informant, my roommate, after I enquired after any folk knowledge that they had.

My Thoughts:

This is a common American folk tradition that many kids experience either in Middle School or at home, typically with older siblings or cousins. Most versions surround a similar idea of chanting “Bloody Mary” three times and then flickering the lights. I think that this is almost a “rite of passage” that many young kids go through in order to prove their bravery to older kids by summoning Bloody Mary in the bathroom and sticking in the bathroom until the tradition is over. As someone who has gone through it themselves, it can be quite terrifying. After having one roommate relate the story in front of all my other roommates from different parts of the country, everyone was aware of a story similar from their region and most had heard about the tradition through older children. I think this story once again speaks to the possibilities of globalization regarding stories that has boomed over recent years.

For another version of this ritual, see

Bloody Mary. Directed by Richard Valentine, Echo Bridge Home Entertainment,