I was eight. Maybe nine. We had our thirteen year old baby sitter, her ten year old sister, my six or seven year old sister and me. We were in a pitch black, windowless basement that was used to house storage units for the apartments above. There was a bucket of water and a flashlight. A weak, batteries about dead, flashlight.
Look into the reflective surface (mirrors are best, but water works, too), the eldest said. Say the name three times and you’ll see Bloody Mary’s face. She’ll come out of the mirror, or the water, to get you. If she does, you die. Cut to four girls running, shrieking from the basement. For all I know, that bucket of water and Bloody Mary are still down there. I didn’t go back.
And we called this a ‘game’?
Recently, a band I’m fond of, The Silversun Pickups, released a single called “Bloody Mary”. In an interview, one of the band members said he’d written the song after he and some friends were sitting around talking about the games they’d played as kids. One friend lived life in fear because things weren’t right at home. This person was too busy surviving to get to play any of those games. The song came from that conversation. Here’s the actual article if you’re curious. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=25884
Here’s the song, too (note you do have to endure a brief commercial first):
It was the song that got me thinking about the games we played as kids. Remind me again what the point was of scaring the crap out of ourselves? I mean, it wasn’t just Bloody Mary. It was the ghost stories at every sleepover and around every possible camp fire. There must be a psychological point to that behavior, but I cannot for the life of me look back and figure out what it was.
Because let’s face it. That stuff stays with you. You *know* Bloody Mary is just a kid’s game. Nothing’s coming out of the mirror to get you. Ha ha. Such silly notions. Yet, when you get up to pee in the middle of the night, do you keep your gaze averted from the mirror?? *I* do. To this day.