For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have decided that I would take a look at a famous urban legend. I actually mentioned this legend last week in my mirror magic post, as she is believed to be summoned through gazing into a mirror. Of course, I am referring to Bloody Mary! For an appropriate White Rose of Avalon twist, I will be looking at how she may be a dark or evil Faery being, instead of the ghost, demon, or witch many people assume she is. This is a theory that came to me rather suddenly, and I just had to share it as a Femme Fatale Friday post!
Firstly, I do want to acknowledge one of the origins of the nickname “Bloody Mary.” This is the name that was historically given to Mary Tudor, Mary I of England, who ruled the country for five years after the death of her younger brother Edward VI. After her death, her younger sister Elizabeth I would rule England for 45 years. Bloody Mary became her nickname because she had a penchant for burning protestants as heretics during her reign, making for a lot of bloodshed in honor of the Catholic Church. Her story is a sad one, of loss and rejection many times over, and I had to make sure this particular origin for the nickname was included in this post. All that being said, I do not personally believe that Mary Tudor has anything to do with the Bloody Mary of the infamous urban legend.
Many people have postulated any number of Marys being the true origin of this fabled figure. But, if my theory is correct, she may not have one true origin within this world because she was always a being of the Otherworld! Mary was likely never the actual first name of the figure, who likely took on the moniker after the name became so commonplace, allowing her to slip into the public consciousness more easily. She may have even been inspired by the nickname given to Mary Tudor, as there is a chance that the urban legend Bloody Mary (if my theory of her being a dark faery is correct) was in fact a Faery Queen in her own right!
The most often recounted tale of Bloody Mary states that she can be summoned by one going into a bathroom and reciting her name a set number of times whilst gazing into the mirror. As I have discussed mirrors are portals into other realms, including the realms of Fae. Sometimes her name is recited simply three times and then the person who has “played Bloody Mary” may get a flash of her reflection in the mirror if they succeeded in summoning her. Other versions state that she is summoned by turning off the lights in the bathroom, holding a glass of water (which will turn blood red before she appears in the mirror), turning around three times in front of the mirror, and saying her name thirteen times. This latter version has many folkloric and Faery undertones. The number three (featured in both versions) reminds us of triple Goddesses and of the Welsh triads. The number thirteen is a Goddess number that further relates this endeavor to the moon. The glass of water reminds us of other portals to Faery, which are found in liminal spaces including beneath lakes! I cannot help but see this as possible proof of my theory, as it makes more sense than the more common urban legend belief that she could be the ghost of any woman who died in front of a mirror and had her soul trapped within. Not that having one’s soul trapped in a mirror does not have old folkloric origins, as it is something that was believed could happen to the recently deceased into the Victorian period (hence the covering of mirrors in a home when someone had recently died). However, when I look at mirrors as portals into Faery, I cannot help but think that the idea of a powerful Faery woman being able to come out of the mirror when she is summoned makes so much sense!
I hope that you have enjoyed this post. What do you think of this theory? Could Bloody Mary really be a powerful Faery woman? Or is she a witch, demon, or ghost in your opinion? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a really beautiful and creepy version of Bloody Mary. I found the image on https://www.pinterest.com/pin/515240013602891972/
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- The Crystal Witch by Shawn Robbins and Leanna Greenaway
- A New Dictionary of Fairies by Morgan Daimler