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.
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?
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: (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!