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Superstitions and Urban Legends travel through the schools and from one child to another as much today as they did in years past. Are these harmless stories that have been retold over years or are they really leading children and young adults into a world of the unknown? The answers to this question maybe both. Most children, my own generations included grew up hearing these stories, but seldom did anyone in my circle of friends attempt any of the tales. Today it appears that children are braver and more willing to take the risk. One of these tales is the story of Bloody Mary. There are many different versions of this tale, but the one I will tell you is the way I heard it.

Go into a bathroom with no windows (you want to make sure it is dark) stand in front of the mirror and turn to your right and spin three times. Then turn to left and spin three times. Turn back so that you are in front of the mirror and say Bloody Mary three times. At this point she is said to appear in the mirror in front of you. I have heard she appears with claw like hands or a knife and that she will try to reach through the mirror and hurt the person that called her. The ending to this tale was that she remained in the mirror until someone else called her.

Is this a harmless story? It all depends on how you look at it. The number three is a special number in some religions so this number may not have been picked at random. Bloody Mary is apparently linked back to a real person, most likely being *Mary Tudor, the half sister of Queen Elizabeth the I of England. If this is the case then by calling her are you actually calling up her spirit and entering into contact with dead? Or is it the body's reaction to being spun around in circles that tricks the eyes into seeing the image that the mind already knows it should see?

What we end up with is children (usually teenage girls at sleep overs) going into bathrooms across the country testing this tale. Is it a harmless? Perhaps, but could there be more to it than just an urban legend?

Being that I myself have not tried this tale I don't have a complete answer for you but I will tell you the same thing I tell my own children. You most likely should not play with things that you do not fully understand. There could be fall out from playing with these things for years to come. If the image is real or your mind is making it up really doesn't matter to a child. The fear it provokes in them will be real. I have known people that to this day still refuse to have a dark bathroom or many mirrors in their home. The cause they will tell you stems from this tale. For some people simply knowing the story is enough to frighten them, not to mention what would happen if they actually tried it out.

The point I am trying to make here is this, we will always have stories like this one and children will try them out, but just be warned that regardless of the story being true or false the reaction you may have to these stories are very real and may in some cases last well into adulthood.

*Mary Tudor

Mary's first act was to repeal the Protestant legislation of her brother, Edward VI, hurling England into a phase of severe religious persecution. Her major goal was the re-establishment of Catholicism in England, a goal to which she was totally committed. Persecution came more from a desire for purity in faith than from vengeance, yet the fact remains that nearly 300 people (including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer and many of the most prominent members of society) were burned at the stake for heresy, earning Mary the nickname, "Bloody Mary."

http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon44.html