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Through the ages, one fact unanimously noted about mirrors is that they are disturbing. There is just something utterly strange about gazing into a two dimensional piece of glass and seeing the world reflected therein. . .about seeing you reflected therein. Am I me? Or is that me? He looks as me; and walks as me; he trembles, and shakes, and nervously broods as me (I know this last because his lips silently move, whispering to himself; are these silent words the same as mine?). When I am gone, will he, too, be gone? Or will he continue gazing out from the mirror until I return? And if I die. . .will he wait forevermore?

Various myths have developed about mirrors over the years. Most of them are strange and dark things. The following are some I have heard. Unfortunately, I cannot offer any kind of origin or reference for them.

The most famed and classic nowadays is, of course, the Bloody Mary myth. Like any urban legend, there are a number of different permutations on it, but the usual telling goes something like this: if you stand before a mirror in an entirely dark room and utter the name "Bloody Mary" over and over, Bloody Mary will appear in the mirror. She will then reach out for you and. . .

As I mentioned, there are quite a number of variations on the story. Some say you must utter the name just three times. Other say you must repeat it a hundred, and others still don't offer a number, saying you simply must say it over and over until she appears. Still, another variation says that you don't even _need_ to utter her name; all you must do is gaze into a mirror in a dark room, and she may appear. When she does show up, as with the circumstances of getting her to appear, the tales vary: some claim that a bloodied face appears in the mirror, and that's that. Others claim that the mirror shatters, and others still say that she reaches through the mirror and pulls you into hell, her mirror world, or the great unknown. . .And others still say that she scratches your face, disfiguring you as she was disfigured. Spooky stuff.

Another common story that may have begat that of Bloody Mary is that if you look into a mirror in an entirely dark room and utter any dead person's name again and again, that person will appear in the mirror. (I recall joking with my older brother when I was very young when I heard this. I said, "So if this is true, and it's also true that God is dead, if I utter God's true name again and again before the mirror, will He appear in it?" My brother's reply: "Yes, but the mirror will shatter, for God is too big to fit into it.")

A third bit of lore is that if you fall asleep before a mirror, bad stuff will happen. Some say that when you fall asleep, the soul leaves the body; and if you fall asleep in front of a mirror, when the soul returns when you are done dreaming, it might get confused and enter the mirror by accident, thereby trapping itself in the mirror-you. What then? Perhaps the soul of the mirror-you enters the body of the real-you. Others have claimed that, following along with the ideas behind the Bloody Mary story, demons and ghosts live in mirrors, and if you fall asleep in front of these creatures, they will torment you and attempt to enter into your body. Or something to that effect, at any rate. . .(I've slept in places where I could see my reflection in mirrors a few times. To the best of my knowledge, my soul is intact)

I have heard some people claim that if you take two mirrors and point them at eachother, thereby kind of creating an inifinite number of reflections, and then gaze into this inifnite series of reflections for a great enough amount of time, you will see God, Satan, or what have you. I've tried this and didn't get anything out of it. It was kind of neat the very first time, though.

Interestingly, a common practice among many cultures is/was to break the mirrors of the deceased.

And, of course, the one everyone knows about: supposedly, breaking a mirror will garner seven years of bad luck. Cute.

Most of this stuff is pretty unbelievable. I don't think I believe that if I were to walk into my bathroom right now and chant my grandfather's name before the mirror, he would appear. Nor do I think that if I were to fall asleep before a mirror, my soul would be stolen from me. Even so, I'd prefer to avoid such things, if it's all the same to you. . .

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