Mirrors, the Ghostly Portals to the Other Side

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series
Don't stare into the mirror, or your soul will be taken
Photography by Autoestima Cidada

Mirrors are thought to be portals to another world—some believe this is another dimension, but those who believe in ghosts believe it is a portal to the other side. Many cultures still hold on to their superstitions that exist concerning mirrors, ghosts, souls, and death. In cultures that are still considered primitive by some, there is the belief that mirrors reflect the soul and that they must be avoided in order to prevent the soul from being lost—not unlike the belief that taking photographs of a person will also capture their soul. Russian folklore dictates that mirrors are an invention of the Devil due to their ability to draw the soul out of the body. This also makes sense that there are superstitions that are still held within some places of the world that all shiny and reflective surfaces, mirror or otherwise, must be covered in a house after a death. Their belief requires covering mirrors after death to prevent souls from the living being taken by those who have recently departed the mortal plane. Depending on the lore of the culture, the mirrors may actually be covered for a variety of reasons—it could be a corpse looking back at you over your shoulder, at which time the soul of the dead will have no rest.

It is incredibly unlucky for those who are ill to see their reflections, it puts them at risk of dying, so cultures that believe the soul is vulnerable during times of illness often remove the mirror entirely from where the sick person is residing. More bad luck comes when looking into a mirror in a dark room by candlelight, during which event the observer will see ghosts, the Devil or other paranormal phenomena, such as Bloody Mary. Aside from the bad luck associated with staring into mirrors that seem to be widespread within many cultures, there is also the ancient cultural relevance that should be mentioned. In Greek myth, the tale of Narcissus warns against becoming so entranced with his own reflected image in a pond that he fell into the water and drowned—then again, the Greeks believed that even dreaming of your own reflection was an omen that foretold death. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of nasty lore when it comes to mirrors and this article can only explore a few of them.

The Myrtles Plantation: The Most Haunted House in the World

The folklore of mirrors isn’t just some abstract idea that appears in stories, there are actually ghost stories about places where it is reported that haunted mirrors are still on view to the public. In St. Francisville, Louisiana, the Myrtles Plantation plays host to several apparitions, most notably the spirits of Sara Woodruff and her two children, which were allegedly poisoned by a slave named Chloe—she apparently had an affair with Sara’s husband and committed this crime of passion against his family. These spirits appear in a mirror that hangs in the location of the original mirror, which over the years has had to be replaced several times, it’s said that Sara’s face, children’s fingerprints, and claw marks appear within the reflection of the mirror. The mirror was not covered during the wake that followed their deaths, a practice during the 19th century in the Southern United States, not following the tradition therefore trapped their souls within the home, where they can only appear as reflections.

The Truth Behind the Bloody Mary Legend

Bloody Mary, the haunting presence that inspired the movie Candyman (1992)–set to be remade and released in 2020–is based on the legend of a woman who appears in a mirror after being summoned. The origin of Bloody Mary varies widely, the most popular of versions is that of Mary Worth, a witch executed during the Salem Witch Trials. Other versions claim she was a hitchhiker who was badly mutilated and then died following a dreadful car crash, while still others suggest she was a child murderer—this particular version can’t be sure whether she just murdered children in general or if it was her own child. Finally, another famous variation suggests that Bloody Mary was actually royalty, but there tends to be another disagreement on which royal Mary she happened to be. Was she Mary Tudor, Queen of France, or Mary I, the first Queen Regnant of England? Regardless of the origin of the story, it remains a popular game among teens and preteens during slumber parties, which shows how ingrained paranormal superstition is within western societies.

These games also have variations, as is the case when the tradition is passed on orally, but whether her name is chanted three times or thirteen times, the room must be darkened, with backlighting by candles or flashlights. Will Bloody Mary tell you who your future spouse is, how many children you’ll have, or if you’ll die before marriage? If you’re brave enough to find out, you’ll face the possibility of being killed, driven insane, or being taken by the mirror.

The haunted mirror of Oculus and the victims it claims
Oculus (2013)

Films that are based on Bloody Mary

Haunted Mirrors in the Movies

The Lasser Glass and Oculus (2013)

Myrtles Plantation – St. Francisville, Louisiana

Date of Discovery:

1796

Physical Description:

Creole Cottage with nine bays, a double door entrance, and 125ft long veranda. 

Origin

Built by General David Bradford in 1796 in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Mythology and Lore

 The Myrtles Plantation

Known as one of the world’s most haunted homes, Myrtles Plantation is filled with ghost. The plantation was called Laurel Grove until 1834 when new owners Ruffin Gray Stirling and his wife Mary bought the land. After an extensive remodel the house doubled in size and was named Myrtles Plantation for the trees that grew close to the property. Stirling died in 1854 and his wife took over the plantation. 

She hired William Winter to help her manage the property. He married her daughter Sarah and they had six children. William Winter was shot and killed on his front porch in 1871. Sarah stayed on the property with her children and her mother until her death. Upon Mary’s death, the property went to her son. But the plantation carried a heavy debt and ended up changing hands several times. In 1891 it was bought by Harrison Williams and when he died the property was divided amongst his heirs. In the 1950s Marjorie Munson bought the house. In the 70s James and Frances Kermeen Myers bought it and ran it as a bed and breakfast. The plantation is now owned by John and Teeta Moss. The owners hold tours of the property and even allow overnight guest.

Many ghost stories and strange occurrences have surrounded the property over the years. In the 1950s Marjorie Munson was the first owner to give any validity to these stories when she moved in and started noticing strange things. 

The most well-known ghost is Chloe, a slave that loved to eavesdrop on the owners, Clarke and Sara Woodruff. When she was caught, her ear was cut off. Chloe took to wearing a turban to hide her missing ear.  According to the legend, Chloe really wanted to get back in the family’s good graces, so she devised a plan to make them sick and then cure them. She poisoned a birthday cake and fed it to the family. Sara and her two children ate the cake and got sick. But instead of Chloe being able to nurse them back to health, they died, and Chloe was hanged.  Chloe haunts the property and was even captured in a photo taken in 1992. 

Sara and her children’s spirits also haunt the house and are allegedly trapped in a mirror that wasn’t covered when they died.  Visitors and staff have seen the apparitions of the family in the mirror. Small handprints have even been seen on the glass even though there was no one around that could have made them. Another owner is also believed to haunt the house, William Drew Winter. He was shot while standing on his front porch. Allegedly Winter staggered back into the house and crawled up the stairs before collapsing and dying on the 17th step. His last steps can still be heard in the house today. There’s the sound of someone walking into the house, followed by sounds of something slowly moving up the stairs and then it stops…on the 17th step.

Modern Pop Culture Reference:

TV Series:

Unsolved Mysteries (2002)
Ghost Hunters (2005)
Ghost Adventures (2014)

Youtube

Is there anything we missed about Myrtles Plantation? Let us know in the comments section below!