Supernatural urban legends: The mirror lore explained


Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR

Bloody Mary’s second of two Supernatural urban legends of the episode was about mirrors. Just was it the real lore behind mirrors?

Mirrors will see into your soul. They are a true reflection of you, seeing things that you can’t hide from yourself. This is what made the mirror so powerful in “Bloody Mary.” There were two Supernatural urban legends used in Season 1, Episode 5. We’ve looked at Bloody Mary and now it’s time to look at mirrors.

Mirrors in Supernatural

During “Bloody Mary,” Sam explains that the legend about mirrors is that they are a true reflection. The theory is they suck your soul when you die, which is why many cultures will cover them when there’s death; preventing the mirrors from taking the souls of the deceased.

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In Supernatural Season 1, Episode 5 the mirror is used to kill. Mary Worthington died in front of a mirror with her eyes removed. Her soul was sucked into the mirror, and she used that to travel from mirror to mirror to kill her victims. Through the mirrors, Mary was able to see the true reflection of her victims, including their secrets. If those secrets included death, she would then kill them.

At the end of the episode, Dean mentions that smashing all the mirrors must have cost them 600 years bad luck. Sam does mention at one point that the lore of mirrors trapping the souls is the reason for the bad luck if the mirror is broken.

The real lore and superstition about mirrors

Let’s look at the Supernatural urban legends involving bad luck and mirror. The idea of trapping souls is taken from real lore. The Romans believed that life would renew itself every seven years. If a mirror was broken, it would damage the soul of the person being reflected at the time and the soul would face seven years of bad luck until it could renew.

This bad luck could be rectified early. American slaves had the belief that if the broken pieces of the mirror were washing in a south-flowing river for seven hours, the luck would be cleansed. Another superstition was that grinding the shards so they could no longer hold a reflection or bagging and burying it would fix the issue.

Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW Image Acquired from CW TV PR

However, the Chinese believe that breaking a mirror is far more dangerous than a few years of bad luck. Many believe that spirits are afraid of their own reflections, so keeping mirrors around will keep them at bay. A broke mirror doesn’t have the same power, and instead releases the spirits.

Should a mirror fall by itself, this doesn’t mean everyone is off the hook. Superstition in some cultures says that someone in the house will die; but not exactly who.

The ability for Mary to travel through mirrors in Supernatural was also based on real lore. Mirrors would be used for scrying in magical purposes. Scrying was the ability to view another place or person. Mary took this one step further in the show, by working her way around a town through the mirrors.

Thirdly, the true reflection is based on real superstition. Many cultures throughout history have believed that the mirror would portray the true reflection of the soul of the person. Vampires wouldn’t have reflections because there was no soul to reflect, so their true nature is revealed. In “Bloody Mary” the true reflection meant that secrets were also shared.

The final part of the Supernatural urban legends involving mirrors is of the soul being trapped after death. Jews will cover mirrors in a home where someone dies, during the seven-day mourning period known as the Shivah. This is to prevent the soul of the deceased getting trapped in the mirror, so the deceased can move on instead. Other cultures and religions do the same thing. In Serb-Croatian cultures, sometimes a mirror would be buried with the dead to prevent spirits wandering the Earth.

Some cultures go as far as believing that all mirrors need to be covered when people sleep. There is the belief that the soul wanders throughout the night and there’s a risk of it getting trapped in the mirror during the night.

Next: Supernatural urban legends: Bloody Mary explained

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