Of the youthful tales, the tale of calling upon Bloody Mary and trying to conjure her image in a mirror is one that outlasts the others. The original tale had the young woman walking backwards up the stairs with a candle and a hand mirror, gazing into the mirror in the candlelit stairwell, hoping to see the face of the man they would marry and if they saw a skull, they would die before they wed.
Originally, it was believed the tale was evoking Queen Mary who had many miscarriages. The young girl was to look into the mirror and call on Bloody Mary and ask if she wanted to see her baby. The image is often called a witch, a ghost, or a demon.
When I was younger and my friends dared me to do it and I couldn't pass up a dare, I remember holding my breath after the third time I called on Bloody Mary. Nothing happened, but my mind rushed with fear, wondering what would happen if it DID work. No one had explained what would happen. Would she possess my soul? Haunt me forever? Pull me through the mirror?
Something inside me shifted as a kid when I realized that nothing happened when I said her name into the dark mirror many times in a row. It dawned on me that perhaps legends are just to excite us and to test our mettle, but they have no basis in fact. It made it possible henceforth as an adult to explore the paranormal without taking others warnings to heart and being afraid to push the limits of interactions.