Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Mirrors

My life in appalachia taking pictures in mirrors
When it comes to spooky folklore-there’s plenty of it that centers around mirrors. We’ve all heard the one about breaking a mirror = 7 years bad luck. But have you heard any of these?

  • When I was young I went to lots of sleepovers-the kind that has a bunch of screaming silly girls. More often than not-the subject of Bloody Mary came up. I don’t remember exactly what you were supposed to say-but the jist of it was you went into a dark room-looked into a mirror-and when you said the little saying-Bloody Mary appeared in the mirror. I think my friends and I were all to chicken to actually get the words out before we ran screaming out of the room.
  • I grew up hearing the one about covering the mirrors in a house after a person who lived there has died-but I never seen anyone actually do it.
  • Of course if you’re a vampire (or was it a witch) your reflection will not appear in the mirror.
  • If you take a mirror and hold it where the reflection shows deep into a well-you can see your future mate.

There are 7 mirrors in my house-I’m not sure why we need so many-maybe it’s because there are 3 girls who live here (well 4 if you count Ruby Sue-but she’s too short to see in any of them anyway). Thinking of my 7 mirrors reminds me of Pap’s tale about trying to pull his tooth while looking in the sliver of mirror that hung outside his grandparent’s house. We’ve went from a sliver to 7-maybe that means we’ve moved up in the world-or maybe not.

Ever heard any of the old tales? Got any mirror folklore to add?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    October 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Only two others to add. It’s bad luck for a baby to see itself in a mirror, and a broken mirror should be put in water, or thrown down a well, to prevent bad luck following you. I have also heard that putting a cracked mirror in a creek or other running water will repair it.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I have heard them all.
    I was never brave enough to say Bloody Mary into the mirror either!

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    October 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    There is all sorts of spooky things about mirrors but the reason why you don’t see bto many. People doing the safe thing because they don’t want bpeople thinking their nuts. I for one don’t have a problem. Somethings don’t bother me but other things give me the creeps.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Linda, I had heard about the crying mourner looking into the mirror to be the next one to die…but I was grown up by that time…LOL The one of the trapped person in the mirror I had not heard…The great Aunt that was asked the question that I overheard was a real hermit type person and lived so far back in the mountains that daylight had to be pumped in!…I went to her house with an Aunt one time and was so scared, but the Aunt told me to stay in the car until she got back..I was so thankful! I was always leary of her and she was very superstitious and was always wearing long black dresses with black button up shoes! LOL Needless to say I didn’t tarry and ask questions just carried this puzzlement with me until I was grown…
    Thanks Linda..Do you keep notebooks of the folklore you seems to change as times change in different areas of the Appalachians..might make a very interesting book some families have their own superstitions as well!
    Thanks Tipper and Linda

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    October 19, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Tipper: your mention of pap pulling a tooth in the mirror,reminds me of one time when i tried that, i sterilized a pair of mechanics pliers , got a hold of my tooth yanked on it,mind you i was in agony , it only came out half way, then i had to try and get hold of it again. well through the tears and the shakes i finally got it out. then i sat done, my cousin john came and found me covered with blood, he though i had cut my wrists . boy did we laugh . regards k.o.h

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I don’t know why but a mirror in
    a dark room is a bit spooky anyway
    while lots of mirrors in a
    well lighted bathroom makes it
    a pleasure.
    I enjoyed Laura Stone’s true story
    and sure glad she got rid of that
    spooky mirror…Ken

  • Reply
    Sam Ensley
    October 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Place a candle between yourself and a mirror on a table. Make sure the room is dark, amd the candle is the only light. Look at your own reflection in the mirror and see what happens.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Let’s not forget Alice who walked through the looking glass into another world.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I have spent much time studying fact and folk-lore of of wakes and customs as in days of olde: So when I read what Ruth wrote about the covering of mirrors–perhaps being that grieving is bad enough without looking at yourself or others in the room crying I thought perhaps I should let one know what they thought to believe ?!—-Mirrors were covered with BLACK cloth or turned toward the wall due to the superstition that the spirit of the decease would become trapped in the mirror!!! Or that if a mourner seeing his or her reflection would be the next to DIE?!!! LInda Kerlin

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 19, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Tipper, I’ve heard all those things you listed as well as the mirror, mirror on the wall one.
    I like mirrors and have several in my home. Mirrors are always, at least almost always, in pretty frames and I think it is the frame rather than the mirror that attracts me. I suppose they are in pretty frames to make up for the fact that the mirror itself is empty, until it has something to reflect.
    Mirrors and water were used for scrying throughout folklore and witchie magical tales. I find it interesting that people search for answers in an instrument that reflects themselves, guess that means that in truth they already have their own answers.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    October 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I love old mirrors and have some that belonged to my mother and grandmother. I like the thought that they had looked into them and I feel that the mirrors still hold their images.
    In Victorian times it was customary to cover mirrors and stop clocks when a deceased household member was lying in state there during the wake. If the deceased “saw” his reflection in the mirror he would be stuck in the house.
    Looking into a mirror in a darkened room is a way to see the future. It is called scrying. It’s just a way to relax, meditate, and see what thoughts and images come to your mind. I never heard of the Bloody Mary “game” you talk about. To me, a Bloody Mary is a delicious adult beverage!
    Love your topic today! Thanks, Tipper!!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    October 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalot,” viewing Sir Launcelot in her magic mirror:
    And moving through a mirror clear
    That hangs before her all the year/ Shadows of the world appear.
    There she sees the highway near
    Winding down to Camelot:
    She left the web, she left the loom/ She made three paces through the room/ She saw the water-lily bloom/ She saw the helmet and the plume,
    She looked down to Camelot.
    Out flew the web and floated wide;
    The mirror cracked from side to side;
    “The curse is come upon me,” cried
    The Lady of Shalott.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    October 19, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I went to bunches of slumber parties when I was growing up and we always called “Bloody Mary”! I can’t remember everything that we said, but I do remember that it started out “Bloody Mary one, Bloody Mary two, . . . “. We were always in a dark room and either had a small flashlight or a candle burning. Of course, we all always SWORE that we saw Bloody Mary!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 8:21 am

    i had to count how many we have, total is 6 and i hate all of them because of the old lady that peers out at me when i walk by them. i have heard of covering mirrors and vampires but not the others. the broken mirror and 7 years i heard all my life, and i have broken 3 mirrors in my life

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 19, 2011 at 8:11 am

    “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
    Snow White and the wicked step-mothers mirrow was my first encounter with images in mirrors..
    I happen to love that movie to this day and still think of poison apples and always wash my apples well…LOL
    I have heard all of the folklore you described.
    When my grandfather died, I was a young child, and the body was brougnt to the home in the living room…Chairs were lined for family and visitors, of course much weeping was going on…I overheard another relative ask one great aunt if they were going to cover the mirrors…This puzzled me as all I could think of was the Snow White mirror images…I carried that puzzlement a long time with me, not knowing why one would cover mirrors…Grieving is bad enough without looking at yourself or others in the room crying I suppose!
    Thanks Tipper for an interesting post

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Granny S. always covered the mirrors in a house when someone died, she also stopped all the clocks.
    Even though Pop and a sister in law died away from home, this was mandatory in her book.

  • Reply
    B f
    October 19, 2011 at 7:56 am

    yes and when we criticize another , first we should look in the mirror and say
    ‘would i want that said about me”
    and we are all guilty i guess but some of these “hant” stories are something to think about arent they?
    i always thought that we would be the ones that see what we had done in the past and regretted in the sub concious
    all have a spooky good day
    and oh yes one of the worst things i see in the mirror in the mornings is me . all i lack is a broom

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Never heard the “Bloody Mary” story… then again, I never went to sleep overs either. Very protective parents I guess, now I know what I missed 😉
    Have heard the 7 yr bad luck, covering mirrors & vampires & wherewolves couldn’t see themselves in a mirror. I think witches could see themselves but the mirror would crack.. cause they’re so onery.
    Never heard of the well thingy either, that’s scary in it itself. LOL

  • Reply
    Laurie Stone
    October 19, 2011 at 7:47 am

    This one is true – it happened to me!
    When we were cleaning out my mother’s basement, my sister and I found a really old old mirror, wrapped up in burlap and stored in the farthest corner of her basement. I thought I had found a real treasure. The frame was handmade, and the mirror so old that it had started melting down. I thought – that would look wonderful in my guest room! So I brought it home and it sat in the middle of my dining room for a couple of months. (As all things do). One day my 17 year old jet black cat Magic – I kid you not – walked by the mirror, arched his back then let out a growl and hissed at the mirror. I thought that was odd, especially since it was still covered up in burlap – so he didn’t see himself.
    When I finally got around to unwrapping the mirror to place it on the wall I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness. Thinking possibly I was just feeling the sadness because I was missing my mom, I ignored it, then went ahead and put it up on the bedroom. But the sadness continued, everytime I walked by the mirror – regardless of the mood I was in, I would once again, feel overwhelmed with grief and it would completly change my mood.
    Deciding that I couldn’t live with the thing anymore – I gave it to one of my cousins.
    She didn’t get any feelings about it and it looks wonderful sitting on top of the mantle in her living room.
    I still wish I knew who that mirror belonged to and why they were so sad – but I’m glad it’s out of my house!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    October 19, 2011 at 7:28 am

    You pretty well covered all I’ve ever heard. The scariest thing I’ve ever seen in a mirror is me when I awake every morning. It’s humbling too. This isn’t scary (then again it may be) but it’s a good way to keep a person grounded,
    whenever anyone begins to feel really importand all they need do is to look at themselves in a full length mirrir immediately after getting out of bed. They will realize that no one could take that individual starring back at them seriously. Gotta get ready for Deer Camp. Tally-Ho.

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