I Want To Belieeeeeeeeve

I have no idea how we got on the subject of Bloody Mary -- the ghosty sleepover dare, not the drink -- but somehow, we did. A little vodka may have been involved, but I am definitely sure that tomato juice and celery were not. 

Jason and I both grew up in very, very religious households, and because of this, had both achieved adulthood without ever -- EVER -- attempting the Bloody Mary game. We believed that just by THINKING about Satan or evil things, one was technically inviting demonic influence, or even full-on possession. That shit was real, man, in an incredibly literal sense, and the idea of actively baiting a ghost/demon/evil spirit like that was a genuinely terrifying prospect that neither of us would ever mess with. 

I have a vague memory of standing in a darkened bathroom after first hearing the story from my friends...and THINKING about maybe giving it a try, and the very second the idea popped into my head, a car drove down the street and a glimmer of the headlights flashed in the mirror and I freaked out and ran back to my room, hid under the covers and prayed for forgiveness and protection from my sinful wandering brain. 

That was farther than Jason ever got, however, and he admitted that he still couldn't bring himself to do it. Despite long since abandoning the fire-and-brimstone religion of our childhoods, and happily indulging in a steady TV/movie habit of supernatural horror -- we LOVE all that Paranormal Activity/American Horror Story/True Blood/Walking Dead garbage SO VERY HARD -- the Bloody Mary game was still something that genuinely freaked him out, because what if?

So obviously, because I am a complete asshole, I got the idea that we needed to confront that fear head on. Right then, right there. We were gonna walk into the nearest bathroom, hold hands and summon up that damned urban legend and finally put this ridiculous shared part of our childhoods completely behind us. Once and for all. Together. MOVE ON FROM FEAR. GROW WITH LOVE. ALSO I THINK THIS WILL BE SUPER FUN AND LATER YOU CAN BRAID MY HAIR.

At first -- and second, third, fourth, and so on -- Jason flat-out refused. No way. No way! He couldn't. He wouldn't. I made offers and promises and some very dirty bargains, but in the end I finally managed to convince him to follow me into the bathroom via a very persuasive argument of come on come on come on come on come on come on come on come on (breathes) come on come on come on etc. 

We stood in front the mirror with the lights off. "BLOODY MARY, BLOODY MARY, BLOODY MARY!" I called out confidently; Jason slightly less so. I waited a few seconds and then switched on the light. Nothing happened. We'd done it! Two thirty-something parents of three had gone and played a made-up game most people stop being scared of sometime in middle school, and we survived it without a single jump scare or coincidentally-timed lightbulb flicker.

Afterwards, I was gleeful and amped up -- I felt invincible, free, reckless and daring. Like the first time I voted for a Democrat, or dropped a casual f-bomb into a conversation. Jason was...well, he was headed towards the liquor cabinet for another drink.

I followed him, giggling stupidly and trying to think of any other similar games we could play. Let's have a seance! Order a ouija board! Is The Exorcist on Netflix? Blair Witch? Candyman? ZOMG ADRENALINE OF THE FORBIDDEN.

Jason opened the cabinet. And then screamed and jumped backwards.

I remember screaming too, but I don't remember hitting the floor. But there I was, cowering behind the dining table and flat on my stomach with my arms covering my head, while Jason laughed and laughed and laughed...until he was on the floor too, because bitch, you TOTALLY had that one coming. 



Hahaha! You two are so cute!


OMG! I am a 40-something mom of two and I have never and will never play the bloody Mary game. My five year old somehow heard about it and was in the bathroom doing it and I screamed and ran away while telling the husband to MAKE HER STOP! MAKE HER STOP BEFORE SOME BAD SHIT HAPPENS! She laughed the evil, uncomplicated laugh of a child who has been raised with neither fire nor brimstone, naive in her belief that it's just a game and she won't see a blood-dripping horror in the mirror. I'm still not so sure.

And you totally had it coming! ;)


Haha, go Jason! Love it.
I still can't do that/think about that without getting a nervous stomach, and I'm 31, so no worries. I'm sure there are a lot of other adults out there who would hide under the dining room table, too. ;)

Life of a Doctor's Wife

This is so totally what marriage is about. Love it. You two are amazing.


This is funny. I am 31 and I am terrified of Bloody Mary to this day. I can't hardly even look in the mirror in the bathroom at night because of it. Seriously. Every night I think about it if I end up in the bathroom. I love scary things, but am too afraid to watch them. I wanted to watch American Horror Story, but it was too close to my bedtime. I will watch the Paranormal Activity movies, but during the day when I think I have enough time to possibly forget before bedtime.


Hahaha!!! That is awesome. You had me all the way to the very last line - thanks! I was always too afraid to play that game too.


I'm with Jason on this one! I'm still a little paranoid about looking in a mirror at night, because I am a huge baby when it comes to horror.


I'm a sort-of catholic, so I've always been terrified of that game. I'm 30 and refuse. Also - while I love True Blood and The Walking Dead, I absolutely can't do paranormal/ghost movies. Freak me the fuck out.


Oh you so had that one comIng!


OMFG. I laughed right the eff out LOUD. HAAAAA.

Alison C

Haha. Win for Jason!


Ha! You so deserved that you know. Probably didn't even follow through on the very dirty bargains.

I can admit that I remained in the bathroom while the cooler girls summoned Bloody Mary in middle school. I have never done it as an adult, though, mainly b/c my chickenshit ass already thinks that if I glance into the mirror someone will be behind me. I seriously sometimes do not look in the mirrors I pass in my house because OMG GHOSTS! IN THE MIRROR! LEAVE THE HOUSE IN YOUR DRAWERS!


OMG, My hubby and I were raised the same way - very religious - and have both left that behind as well. I always believed the same things about Bloody Mary and still to this day think about it when I get up to pee in the middle of the night. Still avoid looking in the dark mirror, etc. Except I would be the one who didn't want to do it and he would be pushing me to do it. Maybe I need to challenge him to do it. :)


You two are so fun.


That was brilliant. Now you have to convince him to do 'light as a feather stiff as a board'.

Elizabeth :: Bebe Suisse

Ha ha! Yes, that was coming. :)


Fire-and-Brimstone! Something us Jews don't hear too much about. Bloody Mary of course is loved/feared by all. Personally I was a huge fan of Candyman and to this day get excited whenever he makes an appearance on TV or the silver screen in any role. Of course the best Bloody Mary spin off is and always will be Beatlejuice! Beatlejuice! Beatlejuice! (even when he has the shrunken head)


I won't even look in the mirror in the bathroom on accident until I turn on the light if it's nighttime. (Because obviously Bloody Mary isn't interested in my soul in the daytime...)


Strangely, I'm actually MORE scared of horror movies now than when I was younger...I am also a very easy target for these kinds of pranks and my husband (and both children) know it.


Great story!
I hear you about the mirror terrors...
Have you ever read the Gothic horror story, "The Entrance" by author Gerald Durrell? I have never been brave enough to read it, even though he's a favorite writer, because that story is reputedly forever haunting and unforgettable and after reading it one avoids all mirrors henceforth.
You guys are brave(and hilarious.) Did your screams wake the kids? Now that would be a whole new realm of self-created horror!

Sue C

I have never heard of this game. If it dependent on a particular area of the country?


Sue, it's all over! It's been in a few movies, too.


Totes sounds like something my hubs would do. Except I'd probably pee my pants.

Suzy Q

Haaahahahaha! High five to Jason.


In several of my psych classes, we discussed the phenomenon that is thought to lie behind these mirror games. Many people, if made to stare at their reflections for long periods of time will begin to feel like they aren't looking at *themselves* anymore, and that what's looking back has malevolent intentions. Supposedly it has something to do with the way our reflections are reversed.

In the middle of the night, though, I can't help but fear that the reason this is such a common experience is because there *is* something on the other side of the mirror. Then I turn on all the lights and read Terry Pratchett until I pass out.


HAHAHA man, he got you 'good' !! If you happen to watch Downton Abbey I found the Ouija board ep incredibly amusing.


"I felt invincible, free, reckless and daring. Like the first time I voted for a Democrat, or dropped a casual f-bomb into a conversation."

I thought this was just me! HA.


After reading this, I love Jason just a little bit more than I did before!


Aaaahahahaha. That is hilarious. I did the Bloody Mary summoning as a kid and it was TERRIFYING. Now my apt bathroom mirror-cabinet thing has a broken latch and so it just swings...slowly...open while I'm in the shower. Seeing the shadow move convinces me there's a murderer in my tiny bathroom EVERY SINGLE TIME


Go, Jason! I love you, Amy, but you SO had that coming!


Hahahahahahahahaha!!I am laughing so hard now!


Chelsea, you have it exactly right. There was a really good explanation on Cracked.com:


About midway down the page, there is a GIF of dots that demonstrates this principle. The mind is a freaky thing, lol.


Heh. "Supernatural" had an episode about Bloody Mary in its first season. It was oddly unsatisfying.

And then, of course, there's xkcd's take on it: http://xkcd.com/555/


I am 35, and still terrified of the Bloody Mary game. I am actually afraid of dark public bathrooms, because I got locked in one as a grade-schooler. Some mean older girls shouted the Bloody Mary thing then ran out and held the door closed and I was too terrified to find the light switch. I've actually done the drop-to-the-floor-cover-my-head thing when in college I was in a large communal bathroom (in the basement of a church actually) when the lights went out...

Her Inner Voices

That's hilarious. I'm with you, I'd have jumped so high there would have been a mark on the ceiling.

I want to try "light as a feather, stiff as a board" again, because I remember that one really working but I don't remember how. Probably the joke was on me?


I love this story so hard.


So mean! And also, so funny!

I'm a 32-year-old mom and you would never convince me to say "Bloody Mary" in a mirror. I don't even like to look in a mirror in a dark room!


I was not raised in a remotely religious household, and I was still so thoroughly petrified of Bloody Mary, my parents had to cover the mirror in my room with a blanket every night for a few months when I was in first grade.

And as a 36 year old mother of two, there is not enough money in the universe to get me to try it now.


OMG, that made me laugh so hard. You and Jason are awesome.

I didn't grow up in a religious household and that shit still freaks me out.


You soooo had that coming. I am STILL terrified of that game and while I faced that fear head on at a much younger age, I won't do it again. I've got enough poop in my life to be fully convinced evil spirits are already plaguing me. Why on earth would I even think of inviting more?


That's awesome! Having grown up in the same manner as you and Jason, I can recall an attempt or 2 to test it out but I would quit before saying it for the 3rd time and flee the mirror lest something appear anyway.

Maria D.

Ha! That was too funny! I have to admit I have never played that game either and I'm going to be 31 in a few months. I have however played with a Ouija board when I was in my teens and that TOTALLY freaked me out! I still walk pretty fast through the house when all the lights are out and I'm alone, because, I might ya know, see "something"!

Beca Lynn

HA! This is SOO something Ed would do!!

Jessie A.

Hilarious! I, too, was raised in an extremely conservative religion where we were taught that demons literally roam the earth, and are, in fact, out to get us. What a freaky thing to believe as child! Of course, once I miraculously got to college (not common in this religion to attend college), I experimented with all kinds of stuff- psychics, palm readers, etc. So far, my life remains demon-less. :) Anyhow, thank you for the laugh.


It was "I believe in Mary Worth" 'round these parts (suburban Chicago.) We did it all the time, even in school during gym class, when the teacher wasn't paying attention and we could sneak into the storage closet. (Fine education I was getting there.)


jason = awesome.


I love your blog! I am the mom of 5 boys,the youngest is 4. I'm not quite where you are, but close.

This last blog entry was perfect.


I'm 32 and I've never done it, and I will never do it. If I wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom I don't turn on the lights so I won't WAKE wake up, I won't even look in the mirror while I'm washing my hands. I will also NEVER touch a Ouija board, I just figure, why mess with it. Also, I had never heard of the Pig Man story they did on American Horror Story and I was all "Great! Something ELSE to fear besides Bloody Mary!"


good god, that was hilarious!
he's so smart. because you DID have it coming.

loved your pervasive argument, by the way.

oh, and next time, grab some friends and play "light as a feather; stiff as a board...."


You realize, of course, that Bloody Mary has a 72-hour window in which to show up and fulfill her part of the bargain?

I'm sure that will work out well for you.


I, too, have never "done" Bloody Mary. I don't even like looking at mirrors when I walk past them in the dark. I laughed outloud when I read this, but quickly had to close the window when my husband asked, "what?" "Nothing. Don't worry about it." No way is he talking me into that! :)

No Drama Mama

Haha! I'm still scared of Bloody Mary, even though I played the game and nothing happened. I absolutely refuse to go into a bathroom with the light off, no matter what time of day.


that. was. AWESOME!

you so deserved it :)

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