When I was little, I was one of these kids who don't seem to be afraid of anything. The only two things I really feared were sharks and death. I know, weird, right? I wasn't afraid of heights, spiders, needles or bogeymen. I wasn't afraid of the idea of ghosts, witches, voodoo priests or cannibals. It was that sense of reckless courage that got me into a lot of trouble one day in elementary school.
One of my childhood friends and I had heard about how the bigger kids played scary games like "light as a feather, stiff as a board." There were all sorts of chilling stories about what happened after kids played with ouija boards and things like that. It still baffles me that they sell them to this day after all the damage they've done. My friend and I felt brave one day, so we decided to try out a little game called Bloody Mary.
If you aren't familiar with the game, it basically revolves around a similar set of ideas, though they vary depending on who you ask. There's a dozen different speculations on who Bloody Mary is supposed to have been in life and what untimely event caused her terrible death. Either way, the idea is to stand in a dark bathroom with a mirror and summon her by doing any number of different things, such as turning on the sink or flushing the toilet (which centers from the idea that water is the gateway to Hell), lighting one or more candles, or burning a particular type of incense. No matter which method you go with, it's almost always the same basic thing: you're supposed to say her name three times, "Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary!" On the third time, it's said that she will appear in the mirror to claim the soul of the unfortunate person who called her. If you see her, you're supposed to haul butt out of there before she gets you. It sounded like a demented game of tag to me, so my friend and I snuck into the single-stall girl's bathroom at our private elementary school.
We didn't have candles or anything like that, so we gathered our courage and went into the bathroom with the lights off. My friend and I stood in front of the mirror and held each other's hand, just in case. We counted to three and began the chant. Three times we said the name, and on the last one, my friend flushed the toilet. I don't know what we were expecting to happen or what good we thought might come of doing something so reckless and obviously stupid. The whole process seems really ridiculous to me now, but not the result.
I don't know what she saw to this day, but I know what I saw, and more precisely what I heard. I know that fear does a lot of things to mess up your senses but I will never forget that one stupid incident. Whatever it was, a demon or a wayward spirit, or perhaps it really was Bloody Mary. The figure of a woman in a flowing white dress stained with dirt and blood stood in the mirror where our reflections should have been. Her hair was matted and tangled all around her and seemed to hang suspended, independent of gravity, in stringy black threads. I remember how white and horrible her face was, as if her expression was forever twisted in the agony of her death. Her eyes were wide but I don't remember what color they were, or if I even saw. She had these horrible sharp teeth, like a shark, and there were too many of them for a human jaw.
The worst part was the sound. There was a sound like a hammer striking an anvil, a sort of metallic thunk that echoed in my head more than my ears. There was a sort of distant scream, but it didn't sound human. It sounded like an animal being slaughtered. To this day, I can't believe how much I remember about it, because we were only there for a few seconds after we saw her, though it had seemed like several minutes. I will just never forget that horrible face and that awful sound.
We ran out of the bathroom screaming and never even thought about doing that again. A couple of days later, there was a rule that the teachers had put in place very strictly that no children were allowed to go to the bathroom unaccompanied, and that only one child was allowed into the bathroom at a time. I'm not sure if it had something to do with the game we played and what we had experienced or not, but one of the last things I remember hearing about it was just a rumor that I'd heard from one of the other kids there. They had overheard one of their parents discussing the situation with the teacher.
One of the boys from the school had played the same game we had, but he had ended up in the hospital. They said that he scratched himself because he had long fingernail rakes down his arms and he was so scared that he wouldn't tell anyone what had happened. I've definitely learned a very powerful lesson: do not meddle with violent spirits.