There are several variations of the Bloody Mary legends, but the most popular centers on a young woman who was brutally massacred while standing in front of a mirror. Her vengeful soul was trapped within the mirror, and when people says her name three times, she appears bloodied before them.
The earliest Blood Mary legend was recorded in the 1970s. There have been numerous movies and stories written about the legend, as well as essays dedicated to the tales by folklorists Linda Degh and Janet Langlois.
Historians have tried to tie in the Bloody Mary legends to major events and people throughout history. For example, some stories refer to Elizabeth Bathory as the original Bloody Mary. She was a queen who was convicted of torturing, raping, and slaughtering over 600 young women to bathe in their blood. Bathory was a narcissist who loved looking in the mirror. When Bathory died, it is said that her evil spirit transferred into her favorite mirror.
Young girls often play the game of Bloody Mary after telling their own variations of the story at slumber parties. The legends and the games have become symbolic rites of passage and ways for teens to prove their fearlessness against the unknown.