“Be careful and don’t break that mirror, or you will have seven years bad luck.” That was an old saying often heard in households around the turn of the century. The mirror was an item that every member of the family used and enjoyed. In olden, times mirrors were very expensive and only the rich owned them. It usually took about seven years for an average person to save up to purchase a mirror. It it was broken, then that meant seven more years of saving…Many a young lass spent hours before a mirror pretending to be grown up. Hair fashions were tried and decided upon. While boys were not too concerned about their looks, the mirror was a good place to practice making funny faces.
—Betty Riddle – “Reflections on Mountain Heritage” published by the Gilmer County Genealogical Society, Inc.
My how times have changed. I currently have eight mirrors in my house and I’m certainly not rich.
In today’s world there’s the weird phenomenon of taking a picture of yourself in a mirror with your phone. I’ve never quite understood that one.
Pap said when he was a boy no one gave much thought to mirrors until they were ready to shave or comb their hair.
When Pap was about 13 years old he had a toothache, a bad one that kept him up at night. One early morning just after dawn he decided to get up because of the pain. He quietly slipped out of the house and headed over the mountain to see his Grandpa and Grandma. As he reached their house the sun was coming up. Pap’s Grandpa said the only way to fix the tooth was to pull it. He got a pair of pliers and tried to pull Pap’s tooth. Pap said the tooth just wouldn’t budge, but the pain was so bad he couldn’t stand it.
His grandparents had an old sliver of mirror hanging outside where you could see yourself when needed. Pap decided he’d pull the tooth himself. While looking in the mirror he got the pliers around the tooth. He pulled as hard as he could until he passed out from the pain.
Pap’s grandparents decided they didn’t care what it took they were going to get their grandson to the dentist and they did. The dentist pulled the tooth and that ended the pain.
I wonder if the lack of mirrors that Betty and Pap experienced encouraged the spooky mirror folklore that’s handed down.
When I was young I went to lots of sleepovers, you know the kind that has a bunch of silly screaming 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 a few words Bloody Mary appeared in the mirror. We were all too chicken to actually get the words out before we ran screaming out of the room so we never saw Bloody Mary.
I grew up hearing that mirrors in a house should be covered after someone dies, but I never seen anyone actually do it.
Holding a mirror in your hand while bending backwards over a well will allow you to see your future mate.
Babies shouldn’t look at their reflection in a mirror or bad luck is sure to follow.
Of course if you’re a vampire (or was it a witch?) your reflection won’t even appear in the mirror 🙂
Martha Owen tells a hilarious story about a mirror. I hope you get to hear it someday…maybe I’ll see if she’ll let me video her so you can all hear it.
If you’d like to pick up your own copy of “Reflections on Mountain Heritage” you can find it here for a very reasonable price.