"Bloody Mary," chanted several times while holding a candle and peering into a mirror, summons the ghost of Mary Worth, according to several urban legends. The spells cast to summon her similarly promise the appearance of a vengeful, bloody ghost bent on revenge. In the 1700s, says one urban legend, the unwed Mary Worth refused to name her baby's father, so a mob murdered the baby and slashed Mary's face while forcing her to look into a mirror.
Another urban legend casts Mary Bloodsworth as a witch accused of kidnapping young girls through enchantment. When neighbors discovered that she was expecting a child, a crime of that time, she claimed it was an immaculate conception. Townsfolk pronounced it Satan's child and sentenced the baby to die upon its birth. The mothers of the missing young girls slashed Mary's face with shards of glass.
In Boston, Massachusetts, a blank tombstone marks the grave of Mary Bloodsworth, historically recorded as a witch who was hanged on Christmas day of 1741. Mary I, the queen of England during the Tudor period, was called Bloody Mary as a result of tortuous executions of "heretics." Urban legend says she killed virgins and bathed in their blood to remain young.
An urban legend set in modern times holds that Mary died in an automobile accident that mutilated her face. Depending on the urban legend, if the spell makes Bloody Mary appear, she mutilates, drives insane or kills the one who summons her. Or, she draws the chanter into the mirror to stay with her forever.