Let’s talk about the Bloody Mary ghost story, first of the history of the real woman Mary Tudor then of the game, and lastly the cocktail. I hope to share some information that you did not know before. Here goes.
The bloody mary ghost story
Mary Tudor was born to King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon on February 18, 1516, in Greenwich, England at the Palace of Placentia. Knowing who her father was it does not come as a surprise that she did not live the easiest, happiest life. King Henry VIII wanted a male heir, and partly because of that he caused great pain to many when he managed to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled. What a mess he created when he insisted on the end of the marriage. But that is a whole other post or book.
As I was researching the sad history of Mary Tudor I read the article The True Story of Bloody Mary, The Woman Behind the Mirror, written by Krissy Howard and learned that at the age of 17, Mary was no longer allowed to see her mother. Mary also knew that because she was born female that she was not enough for her father and therefore had caused the exile of her own mother. Imagine what that must have been like? Mary’s Daddy then married Anne Boleyn with all his hopes pinned on producing a male heir. Anne Boleyn ends up having a baby girl who was named Elizabeth. Oops, Anne’s days were numbered. Anne wanted to protect her daughter’s future succession and she managed to get Parliament to declare Mary illegitimate. Gee, thanks, Step-mom, you rock. Mary was then outside of the line of succession and was forced to be the lady-in-waiting for her half-sister, Elizabeth. (Biography.com)
Is Bloody Mary real?-Will you try it in the mirror
Now it is important to point out that Catharine of Aragon was from Spain. Spain was a Catholic country. Mary was raised Catholic and wanted to remain a Catholic even after her Daddy split from the Catholic church to get the annulment from Catharine. Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn did not last long as he sent her to the scaffold and had her beheaded for treason in 1536. Henry’s next marriage was to Jane Seymour, who gave him a son named Edward. Jane encouraged Henry to make amends with his two daughters. In order for that to occur Mary had to jump through some hoops of the religious kind. Henry insisted that Mary acknowledged him as the head of the Church of England and agree with the illegality of his marriage to her mother, Catherine of Aragon. Mary did just that but under duress. Mary then re-entered the royal court but her religious beliefs would remain a source of conflict. Prince Edward was a frail child and when his father, King Henry VIII died in early 1547 he succeeded him to the throne. Edward passed away at the age of 15 in 1553.
“After Edward’s death, Mary challenged and successfully deposed the new queen, Lady Jane Grey, the granddaughter of Henry’s younger sister, who was placed on the throne in a secret agreement by Edward and his advisors.” (Biography.com) This made Mary the first queen regnant and one of her first tasks was to reinstate her parents’ marriage. Now, remember that whole Church of England and Catholic division thing? Well, Mary wanted England to be a Catholic country again. This would lead to her nickname, Bloody Mary. Since Mary was 37 when she took the throne she wanted to marry and quickly produce an heir to get her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth knocked down in the line of succession. Mary wanted a Catholic heir and therefore she arranged a marriage for herself to Phillip II of Spain.
Mary continued to repeal the many religious edicts that her father had put in place. Queen Mary imposed a strict heresy law. The law was enforced against 300+ Protestants who were burned at the stake. Mary’s persecutions made her unpopular and earned her the Bloody Mary nickname.
The marriage between Queen Mary and Phillip II was not a fulfilling one. Mary believed that she was with child after two of months of marriage. There was no way to confirm the pregnancy since tests did not exist yet, and doctors were not allowed to examine sitting monarchy. Mary’s body had the symptoms and physical appearance of pregnancy and as was customary she was confined to a darkened bedchamber for what she thought was the last 6 weeks of her pregnancy. Mary thought she would be due to deliver the baby on May 9. That day and the following weeks came and went without a baby being born. Since her teen years, Mary had experienced trouble with her menstrual cycles. They were irregular and she would experience terrible cramping. It is thought that Mary could have had endometrial hyperplasia which is often a precursor to uterine cancer. When Mary was 41 years old she once again thought she was pregnant. This time even Phillip was not convinced. Again there was no baby delivered. Mary wanted an heir so desperately that she likely suffered from pseudocyesis or “phantom pregnancy.” Queen Mary passed away at the age of 42 most likely from uterine or ovarian cancer. Mary had ruled for only 5 years and yet her name is still chanted by children in darkened rooms to this day. So is the Blood Mary ghost story real?
According to wikihow.com, there are 8 steps to playing the Bloody Mary Game. They are:
- Understand the origins of Bloody Mary-. I have done that for you above. The origins are within the story of Queen Mary I of England.
- Gather your supplies-. You will need a candle, some friends that you have convinced to play, a bathroom with a mirror, and a light switch. DO NOT LOCK THE DOOR.
- Three times- After lighting your candle and shutting off the lights, spin around three times.
- Reach out to her- One person needs to touch the mirror with one finger or hand, and all of you will hold hands.
- Run the water in the sink- The sound of the water is said to help call the spirit. In some of the legends, the sound of water running was the last thing Mary heard before she was murdered. Got the chills yet?
- Begin the chant- Say “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary” At least 3 times, and up to 1,000 times. Depending on which version of the story you follow. I have always heard that it was 3 times, but many will say it thirteen times. I had always heard that you say it facing the mirror with your eyes closed.
- Watch the mirror- wikihow.com says to watch the mirror while you chant and eventually something will appear in the mirror. I always heard that you should chant the name with your eyes closed and the lights out and that you open your eyes at the end of the chant to see an image in the mirror.
- Stop when you have had enough- So now that you have worked up the courage to try the game, and perhaps you have experienced a ghostly presence or vision in the mirror, you can stop and catch your breath and calm down. Take a break from the screaming that at least one of your friends has inevitably done in the enclosed area of a bathroom. Great acoustics, am I right? So stop, regain your hearing, and your sanity, and have a great night.
Make sure to let us know how the experience was for you. What did you see? Was it scary or exhilarating? Did the presence feel evil or friendly? The comment section is below.
Now that you have read a history lesson and played the chanting game, and you are of age, you might want a drink. If you want to stay with the theme, I would suggest a Bloody Mary cocktail.
You will need the following ingredients (per cocktail), get your own Bloody Mary kit here.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Cup ice cubes
- Vodka (1.5 oz)
- 3/4 Cup of Spicy Tomato-Vegetable Juice (V8)
- 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash of Tabasco sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2 stuffed green olives
Directions per allrecipes.com for a Classic Bloody Mary
-Salt the rim of a tall glass. Fill the glass with ice.
-In a cocktail mixer full of ice, combine the vodka, vegetable juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco (or other hot pepper sauce), salt and pepper. Shake vigorously and strain it into the salt rimmed glass. Garnish with the celery stalk and the olives (stick the olives with a toothpick). Enjoy.
Please let us know if you have a different recipe for a Bloody Mary. Comments are below.
The Other Half