Saturday, February 8, 2014


Mirror, Mirror on-the-wall....

Ever since human beings became aware of their own image, there has been fascination and fear of reflective surfaces. Folklore and legend have hundreds of stories relating to magic and haunted mirrors. History is filled with mirror superstitions, myths, urban legends, and bits of folklore that reflect the deeply rooted fears, beliefs, and hopes of different cultures and historical periods.

One of the most famous legends in Greek mythology was of Argus the hundred-eyed giant to the Gorgons whose faces would turn a beholder into stone. Greek mythology has stories that are told through the eyes. It's no surprise then that mirrored images play a prominent role in some of the most famous Greek myths involving their gods and heroes.
The best-known example is that of the beautiful Narcissus, who fell in love with his own water-reflected image.

But it was Perseus who made the cleverest use of a reflection: in combat with the Gorgon Medusa, Perseus watched her reflection in his polished shield and thereby cut off her head without becoming a statue.

And what child in western culture hasn't heard the fairy tale of the trials of poor Snow White, tormented by her narcissistic and cruel step- mother, who got her daily dose of being told- she's "the the fairest of them all" -by her equally sinister, enchanted mirror.
Here are a few of the beliefs about mirrors that have been around for hundreds of years:

*Mirrors have the ability to suck out souls. To avoid this happening mirrors were removed from a room where an ill or dying person lay. 
*When a person died in a room the mirrors had to be covered or turned to face the wall. Failure to do so would result in the deceased person's soul being lost.
This was something my Italian grandmother told me they would do in the old country.

*People were warned never to look into a mirror at night or by candle light. If you did, you would be certain to see ghosts, demons and portents of death - even your own!
*Mirrors with a solid backing placed in the same position for a long period of time, are thought to be more likely to become spiritual portals.

So what kind of experiences have people had with mirrors?

There are hundreds of documented cases of haunted mirrors and they tend to have similar characteristics. People have reported paranormal experiences when:

*An old mirror brought into the home from somewhere else.
(I know someone that this very thing happened. She was given an an antique mirror as a gift and has had some very significant paranormal experiences going on in her house with the seemingly ghost of a little girl attached to the mirror). She has taken the mirror up to her attic and covered it. She is in a quandary. Does she sell or get rid of it? She doesn't want anyone else to be haunted.

                                            (Artistic recreation)

*People, when moving into a new home, have had problems with mirrors left behind by the previous occupants.
*People have reported paranormal activity with their mirrors after using a Ouija board can also create portals. Mirrors nearby are often claimed to be the origin of the portal after a Ouija board session.

The most common manifestation is the formation of images of people/entities other than the people occupying the room. However, it should be remembered that natural distortions and curious light effects can create a number of bizarre effects. Added to this is the brain's phenomenal ability to create meaningful shapes and faces out of random patterns.

                                            (Artistic recreation)

But despite this, many of the reported cases of haunted mirrors were witnessed by more than one person at different times of the day, in various lighting conditions. Therefore, these cases may possibly rule out natural causes. Added to this, other forms of paranormal manifestations developed in addition to that connected with the mirror involved.

On a ending note the belief that saying "Bloody Mary", repeatedly in front of a mirror will summon a murderous female spirit, is probably the most persistent of contemporary urban legends. I haven't tried it as I prefer to drink Bloody Marys rather than recite them! 

*Next week more on mirrors as portals with spirits and the negative effects.

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