Tales From A Weird World


Well, we have a nice turn up for the books today – I am delighted to be able to present you with a one off interview with Bloody Mary herself.  Bloody Mary is known by many names (Mary Worthington, Mary Jane, Mary Whales and Mary White to name but a few) and she has taken time out from her hectic mirror stalking schedule to be here with us today.  Just in case you are not familiar with Bloody Mary’s work, take a few seconds to observe the following:

I’ll give you a moment to come out from behind the sofa.

Nicola Kirk: Bloody Mary, welcome to Weirdworld!

Bloody Mary: Hi, nice to be here, thanks for inviting me.

NK: Wow, where to start!  You seem to be doing very well for yourself these days?

BM: (Laughs shyly) Yes, well, there are a lot of mirrors out there.

NK: For those out there who aren’t aware of who you are, would you like to tell us a little about yourself?:

BM: Sure.  Well, I kind of popped up in the 1970s, at least that’s when the folklorists and urban legend people started to take notice of me.  I’ve built up a rather terrifying reputation for myself over the years, even if I do say so myself. I love Googling myself to see what comes up.  There are endless tales of people being terrified out of their wits after having summoned me and then have me crawl out of their mirrors and trying to kill them – ha!  I’m quite the horror celebrity these days.  But people always seem to have found mirrors fascinating, haven’t they?  People try everything with them –  from divining the future to, well, calling up dead people.  You know, historically, young women would try out a little ritual where they would take a lit candle and walk up stairs backwards with a hand mirror at midnight in the hope that they’d see their future husband in the mirror .

NK: Sounds like something exciting to try.

BM: Well, yes and no – if they looked in the mirror and saw a skull looking back at them then it meant they would die before they got married.

NK: Oh.

BM: Yes.  Although, from my point of view, this sort of ritual can be quite entertaining.  Some girls can’t decide which version of the ‘ritual’ to use.  Should they carry the candle, and eat an apple at the same time, whilst walking backwards and trying to brush their hair?  You know, some people just aren’t born multitaskers and the end results can be really amusing to behold.

NK: How have rituals progressed over the years?  Any bloody sacrifices?

BM: (Sighing) Nothing that exciting.  Sometimes, if they’re brave enough, people try to summon me on their own, in their bathroom with just with a candle, and other times, if they’re drunk enough, people try in groups with a bottle of vodka for backup.  The drunk groups are the best.  There’s always someone who runs into the wall while everyone else runs for the door.  Sometimes I don’t even have to put in an appearance, they spook themselves out before they’ve finished the chanting and run away.  That can be disappointing, especially if I’ve been gearing myself up for a grand entrance.

NK: So, if someone was minded to try and summon you, how would they go about it for the best results?

BM: The most generally accepted way is to stand in front of a mirror in a dimly lit room, candles are a nice touch, and to chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times.  Some people call for Mary Worth or Mary White, I even had someone calling for Mary Whitehouse once – I’m not sure what they were expecting but they looked pretty shocked when I appeared and asked them what they thought about social liberalism.  Sometimes people try calling for the Candyman for a change but I don’t pull off the brutalised black male artist look too well. But a friend of mine, Hanako-San, she has a tough job.  She haunts toilets in Japanese schools.  People are forever banging on third cubicles on third floors and asking if she’s there.  They get horribly frightened when she actually says she’s home – I don’t know why people go looking for us if they’re just going to run away screaming when we answer.  I suppose it could be something to do with the way we sometimes attack them, but sometimes we can be nice.

NK: Hanako- San doesn’t know Moaning Myrtle does she?

BM: Who?

NK: From..uh… Harry Potter – okay, not to to worry, let’s move on.  What’s your average customer like?

BM: Young and female.  I don’t know why, but it’s always girls having slumber parties.  The number of times I’ve turned up to find everyone in a onesie.  It’s like no one makes an effort these days.

NK: What sort of thing can people expect when you appear in their mirror?

BM: Depends what sort of mood I’m in and if they’re interrupting me while I’m doing something important.  I’m not always a bloody faced screaming corpse you know, I do have quite a repertoire.

NK: Funnily enough, I did try to Google reports of people having met you on a good day and I thought I was onto something when the search turned up ‘A friendly welcome and a good Bloody Mary!’ but unfortunately it was just a pub review on Trip Advisor.

BM: (Shrugs) Yes, well, you can’t have everything.  I have to tell you, being summoned all the time by people looking for a bit of a thrill does get a bit tiresome so you can appreciate that I’m not always going to be sunshine and smiles.

NK: Um, not ever by all accounts.  Having read a few experiences left by people on the internet, they’ve reported being screamed at, cursed and apparently you sometimes try to strangle people?

BM: (Holds hands up) Guilty as charged.  Although I did see a piece of viral tat going around on Facebook once that if you didn’t forward a post on to at least fifteen people then I would appear at midnight to slit wrists, throats and pull eyeballs out with a fork.  I mean really…

NK: Bit over the top?

BM: I don’t even own a fork.

NK: Right.  You have become more famous as the years have gone on, haven’t you?

BM: I really have!  I’ve had films made about me and all sorts.  There was Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005), The Legend of Bloody Mary (2008) and I even got in on that Paranormal Activity 3 (2011).

NK: Yes, we featured a clip from that film at the beginning of this interview.

BM: Nothing like a little publicity.

NK: Have you see the doll they’ve made of you?

BM: Seriously?

NK: Bloody Mary Doll

BM: (Recoils in horror) Woah!  That’s… that’s just nasty.  I don’t look like that, do I?  What’s going on with the hair?  I do like her dress though, I think I could make that work.

NK: There are all sorts of back stories attached to your legend, aren’t there?

BM: Oh yes, I’ve got so many possible origins these days, it’s hard to keep up with them all.  The one I like most is that I am Bloody Queen Mary, famous for her violently imposed religious views.  Not that I’m particularly religious but being mistaken for royalty is quite flattering.  Other stories I’ve heard about myself is that I was a particularly vain woman who spent so long looking in mirrors that I came back to haunt them, and anyone who dares to call me up in a mirror will do so at their peril – but I don’t think I’m that vain.  I spend more time looking out of mirrors than into them these days.  One thing I did read (an essay by Alan Dundes called Bloody Mary In The Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety) was that elements of my legend could be linked to the onset of menstruation due to the similarities in feelings between that and how people feel when summoning me.

NK: Yeah, I’m not so sure about that one.  When I hit puberty I don’t recall experiencing mindboggling terror – certainly nothing in the same vein as being murdered by something leaping at me from my bathroom mirror.  Getting your monthlies is a bit different, I think.

BM: I think it’s also something to do with the association with blood and the bathroom, too.  An interesting notion but not one I personally like to be associated with.  I still prefer the ‘mess with me and I’ll rip your face off’ approach to my legend.

NK: And finally, do you have any words of advice for people who are considering summoning you to their mirror?

BM: Yes: bring a change of underpants.

NK: So there we have it, coming to a mirror near you: Bloody Mary!

BM: Thank you!  


©Nicola Kirk 2016 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com






Hello Everyone,

Happy New Year to you all!

I’d like to introduce my latest theatre script, which I hope you will enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it.  Available now from Amazon in paperback and Kindle format:


Scarlett’s dead grandmother is the definition of ‘mean spirited’. After living a life of sin, Satan grants Grandma just a few measly hours to make amends with the people she upset in life, or there will be hell to pay. Quite literally.

But Grandma being Grandma, if she’s going ‘down’ she’s taking Scarlett with her unless her granddaughter does something about it, and quick!



Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  On here, that is.  I am now proud to announce that I have finally finished my latest novel, The Little Book of Dating Disasters and it is now available on Amazon in either book format or on Kindle:

“EVA HARPER IS LOOKING FOR A MAN… But not just any man. Eva’s man must be funny, sensitive and if he could turn out not to be gay, well, that wouldn’t go amiss either. But finding such a man soon starts to feel like a mission impossible, leaving Eva’s private life a Ground Zero for Disastrous Dates. But when Eva meets Ethan Law, she quickly discovers he is everything she could possibly want – except for one small problem. Ethan is a male escort. Can Eva overcome her jealousy before it’s too late and what lengths will she go to to keep her man?”

So go on, give yourself a little lighthearted entertainment over the Christmas break and get yourself a copy.

Here’s to a very happy new year!



What warrants the label of ‘strange’ for you?  Does a noise in your closet in the dead of night fill your mind with images of ghosties and ghoulies and leave you shivering under your covers, or do you fart, turn over and go back to sleep again (yeah, you know who you are)?  Are you the kind of person that drives past a dilapidated building just that little bit faster than normal, checking your rear mirror as you go in case a lost wraith is chasing after you, or do you make a mental note to have a nose around at a later date because, well, you never know what you might find.

When I encounter something that might be a bit out of the ordinary, when I hear a strange noise that I can’t place when I’m alone in the house (and like many people, I have knowing what every noise in my house is down to a fine art) or see something that I’m not sure is ‘the norm’, it feels as if reality takes a step to the side, time slows down and my brain whirrs at a hundred miles an hour as it tries to figure out, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, what just happened there?!’  I’ve always loved the paranormal, and I wonder if what I consider to be strange is the same as what people who don’t give two hoots about the World of Weird consider to be strange, or am I so used to looking out for general cosmic oddness now that I need a bigger hit of it to get the same high?

Wait, am I a weirdness junkie?



I remember reading once that a person visited a stately home and while they were minding their own business, looking at one of the centuries old portraits hanging on the wall, reality suddenly hiccupped and the person in the portrait appeared to move.  Oh, pack it in, I don’t mean the person leapt out of the frame and started chasing them around the grounds, but moved just enough for the viewer to have one of those ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, what just happened there?!’ moments.  Now that is my kind of strange…


So come on, don’t be shy, write and tell me what sort of things you have experienced that have left you thinking ‘uh… not sure that was supposed to happen… did anyone else see that?’

Big or small, we all secretly love a little bit of strangeness.


©Nicola Kirk 2015 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

Colchester Castle Museum – Just Where The Sat Nav Left It…

A few weeks back I promised myself a day out and I found myself trundling down the dual carriageway on the way to Colchester with a view to enlightening myself about all things old and Roman at the Colchester Castle Museum.  Amazingly, I found my way there without getting lost, which is quite something as generally satnavs lie to me.   They do.  I end up driving down a dirt track at the end of some farmer’s field with the satnav screaming at me: “You are lost!  You are lost!”  while I scream back, ‘but you sent me this way!  Oi!  It’s no good you re-routing now, is it?!’

The castle hadn’t opened by the time I’d arrived so I went for a wander down the high street.  Two piano shops and a croque monsieur sandwich later, I went and bought myself a ticket to the castle museum for a very reasonable £7.50 and, for an additional £1, you can have a little Samsung tablet to wonder around with that tells you additional bits and bobs as you go around the displays, including graphics of how the castle’s interior may once have looked hundreds of years ago.   Hold the tablet up at the appointed place, turn around, and a 360º view of the place in its former glory appears on the screen, moving as you move.  Nifty.

Chainmail Shirts Are Soooo Last Century Darling

The museum is torn between ages.  The thick stone walls of the ancient Norman Keep and the lovely modern glass display cases and airy atmosphere inside the museum combine to make it a very unique place.  It’s not your average museum full of untouchable objects, there are parts of the museum where you can dress up as a Roman soldier (apparently this is mainly for the children but hey ho…) and you can handle a chainmail shirt so  you can feel just how incredibly heavy they were and other replica items so you get a real feel for the history of the place.  I heard one father say to his kids: ‘here you go, pick up this shield… heavy, isn’t it?’ I smiled while the kids staggered around under the weight of the replica shield. ‘Now imagine trying to lift a heavy sword at the same time AND wear one of these chainmail shirts.’  And then imagine wearing a helmet you probably can’t see too much through and then maybe some other armour and then having to fight for your life, I thought to myself.  Jeez… and they say a policeman’s lot is not a happy one; it beats the pants off being a Roman soldier.

Fleshing Out History – Sometimes Cake Just Won’t Do It

After a pleasant couple of hours gazing at all things ancient and Roman, I went across the way to a little church with a  wonderfully overgrown graveyard.  It’s almost as if it’s been forgotten about what with the way the ivy has been left to crawl up over the gravestones and the trees keep everything else in perpetual heavy shade, but if you have a look at the sign by the main entrance of the former All Saints church, it’s actually Colchester’s Natural History Museum.  Now this is something I bet the Church never foresaw happening.   The church has been turned into a stage for all things stuffed and feathered with slightly surprised expressions on their faces (excluding the lady on the front desk, she was very nice and smiley).  It was a serene environment to take in some information about the local wildlife and salt marshes.  On the day that I went, there was a lady doing face painting for the kids, and whilst I decided against it, I did see a few kiddies wandering about sporting some pretty cool face paints.   But it does seem that being a church in Colchester is a hazardous pastime – the  ones I came across had been turned into either museums or vintage markets and coffee shops… which is fine by me because it means these fine old buildings are still being kept in use, but I bet the occupants of the tombs under the ancient stone floors wonder what’s going on in their Holiest of Holies.  I did like the polite notice up in the Church Of The Holy Sale Now On though, asking people not to plonk their chairs on top of the underfloor residents.  It’s nice to see a bit of respect still lingers in this day and age of ‘ I Want Everything Now And I Don’t Care Who I Put My Chair On To Get It.’

How To Redecorate A Church, Vintage Style

I love what they’ve done with the place…

I think I might venture back to the lovely old town of Colchester at Christmas because it hasn’t yet succumbed to the giant department stores that sell all the same old things and kick all the other little boutiques which we all love out of business. It has retained its many individual shops with shopkeepers who still smile at you and take a moment to chat.  That’s something I miss, working in London where even the briefest shopping excursion can feel like a soulless chore where you’re just washed along the shopping aisles with the rest of The Masses.


©Nicola Kirk 2014 and www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com

Told You It Was A Long Way!

I know my blog is mainly about the weird and wonderful, and most sisters do find their brothers at least a bit weird but I’m also finding my brother to be… really rather wonderful at the moment (but for goodness sake don’t tell him, I’ve still not entirely forgiven him for telling me I had a child-bearing arse when I was a teenager).

I take my hat off to anyone who goes running.  The thought of running fills me with horror.  I have dreams where I go for a run (seems like a good idea at the time) but for the life of me, I can’t think how to do it, my legs get tangled and I can’t move fast enough to outpace a snail.  As for the thought of going out to run mile after mile, well it just doesn’t compute on any level…  So, for my brother to say he’s going to run the London Marathon (again) on 13th April 2014 to raise money for Asthma UK just blows my mind a bit.  He’s going to drag his butt 26.2 miles around London in aid of charity.  Now that is quite something.  I’ve had experience with asthma when I was a child and was fortunate enough to grow out of it, but Stuart was not so lucky and it’s something that’s plagued him since he was little, but he doesn’t let it hold him back.  Like that Duracell Bunny he just keeps on going and going.

In November he grew the most intriguing facial fluff for Movember when he and his friends raised money for Prostate Cancer Research – for a while he was renamed Wing Commander Morgan-Philps – my goodness all he needed was a stiffer upper lip and a plane and he’d have been well away.  This time, it’s running a marathon to beat asthma, when he suffers from it himself.

So, I have a favour to ask – could you spare a couple of quid to sponsor Stuart in his Run Of Insanity?  Come on, let’s cheer him on!

But here’s a message from the man himself:

“Hello ladies and gents,

I will keep this short and sweet.

I am running the London Marathon again this year in aid of Asthma UK. Asthma is a condition I have suffered with for over 20 years and thought it was right to do something to support the charity that helps others that suffer a lot more than I do.

I appreciate that some of you may have donated last year when I did Movember or have had other people asking so please forgive this request again and anything that is given is very much appreciated.


Asthma UK
Thanks everyone!

File:Tight lacing.jpg


Fortunately no beds were harmed during the fastening of my corset…

“How about… we all wear corsets to the burlesque evening?”  This suggestion came from the same friend who recommended we allow ourselves to be chased by zombies around Mount Fitchet Castle last Hallowe’en. A corset?  Ummm… I glanced down at myself and wondered if I would last an evening without being able to breathe.

Go on… a little voice whispered at the back of my mind.  You know you want to…

“Yeah, sounds good – I’ll ask the others too…”  and the words were out of my mouth and running riot before I could stop them.  And so it was that a couple of weeks later, and after a bit of shopping on Ebay, a mob of us turned up at the Burlesque 2013 Championship in Shepherds Bush in our tightly laced corsets (well, the women did, not the men.  That would be just…uh… actually I’d pay good money to see that) wondering what on earth we’d let ourselves in for.  I already had a vague idea what Burlesque was all about but my other half – well, I think he left suitably enlightened by the end of the evening.  By the time we left, I was hoarse from cheering and shouting and I’d observed numerous ways of escaping a corset in a rush.  Looking around at the rest of the audience that night, I’d felt oddly at ease with all the vintage wearing, highly tattooed ladies and gents.  Guys wearing half Victorian half modern clothing and ladies with their hair piled high and with similar corseted figures to myself.  There was a pleasant air of ‘ooh, look what she’s wearing, isn’t that pretty,’ instead of ‘what’s that bitch fink she look like?’  It was a really superb evening and it got me wondering what had made it that way other than the excellent dance acts and outrageous outfits fluttering around on stage.  I really loved the mix of old and new fashions, the way the unusual was admired rather than sneered at.  Everything was just… accepted.   Not to mention the fact I got to wear a really pretty corset that I felt great in – it just ironed out every line in a most pleasing fashion and it was actually surprisingly comfortable to wear.  I’d been anticipating having to escape to the toilets every half hour so I could relearn how to breathe, but no such breaks were required.

It took me a while to figure out that there is a subculture, if that’s the right word, that I seem to have fallen into without realising it.  I’ve discovered the world of Steampunk.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, I think this might help:

 IMG_9026476003587 (1)

I love this kind of world!  I don’t own a strange pair of goggles, which seem to feature quite heavily in Steampunk, but I’m gaining ground when it comes to corsets and things with cogs on.  I bought one corset that was pretty and pink with white lace around the edges and wondered how on earth Victorian women used to manage to do themselves up of a morning…. Ah… that’s what maids were for.  Or – I eyed the bed where my other half was fast asleep- husbands!  But no, I couldn’t wake him up just so he could shove his knee in my back to do a corset up.

You Want Me To Do WHAT, Darling?  Pull Until My Arms Go Numb?!

Please Tell Me We’re Talking About Your Corset?!

After some experimenting, I discovered the easiest way to lace the corset is so you have one set of laces that do the top half up and then another set to adjust the bottom half, and therefore the laces meet in the middle of your back.  This makes things much easier rather than trying to tie laces at the top, where you need to be double jointed to reach or at the bottom, where you could spend all day trying to get the laces to behave themselves.  I’ve worn a corset to work a few times and I tell you what, it does amazing things for your posture.  You.  Do.  Not.  Slouch.  In.  A.  Corset.  But, tied correctly, you can still breathe and you end up with a really tidy waistline.  Of course, a corset alone does not class as ‘Steampunk’, but with a few tattoos, a love of all things spooky and unusual and an affinity with foggy, gas lit Victorian London, the next time I venture out for the evening I may consider a new look for myself.


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