Superstions – Irvine, California

“If you look in the mirror in a dark room, you’ll see a really scary face.  If you look in the mirror at midnight, you’ll go to ‘mirror land,’ which is a really scary place that’s all mirrors, so basically you just see yourself everywhere and there’s absolutely no way out.”

Marilyn told me that she learned of these superstitions from a classmate when she was in the second grade.  She said that at such a young and impressionable age, the superstitions became ingrained in her beliefs and she continued to fear them well into middle school.  Now, she said, she still gets “the jitters” when she thinks about the superstitions and will not willingly attempt to test them out.  She confided that she was afraid that the mirror superstitions really affected her and that they will have a lasting effect on her for the rest of her life.  These specific mirror superstitions also bring to mind other mirror superstitions such as the ideas that breaking a mirror will bring seven years of bad luck or that spinning around in front of a mirror three times in a dark room while chanting “Bloody Mary” will inevitably bring the demonic female ghost to life.  When I asked Marilyn what she thought of these other mirror superstitions, she said that while they also made her uneasy, they were never as frightening to her as the ones she had picked up from her young classmate probably because she learned her classmate’s superstitions before anything others.  In this sense, age plays a critical role in shaping beliefs and identity.  For Marilyn, it helps her to define who she is today.