No, Mary Queen of Scots is not the same person who had the nickname “Bloody Mary”. The confusion is understandable– they’re both “Queen Marys”, after all. But they were two different people.
Two of the most powerful women in history, Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Mary I of England, are often linked to the savage legacy of the nickname “Bloody Mary”.
But which Mary is the true owner of the gruesome moniker?
Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots was one of the most influential monarchs in British history. She was born on December 8, 1542, and ascended to the throne at just six days old. As a young girl, she went through exile in France after her father’s death before returning to Scotland to take the crown.
Throughout her reign, Mary faced numerous challenges and threats, including civil unrest and attempts by Protestant figures like John Knox to replace her with their own ruler.
Mary also made enemies within her own court, like James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, who would later become the husband of Mary’s half-brother James Stuart V.
Mary was eventually overthrown by Protestant forces and fled to England, where she was imprisoned for almost two decades by her cousin Elizabeth I.
Though largely unsuccessful in restoring Catholicism in Britain or achieving freedom from imprisonment, Mary achieved martyrdom through her execution on February 8, 1587, which only increased public support for Catholicism.
Today, Mary Queen of Scots remains an inspiration as a symbol of Catholic resistance against English rule and a powerful female leader who refused to give up hope in even the most desperate circumstances.
Queen Mary I (The Real “Bloody Mary”)
Queen Mary I was a powerful Queen of England and Ireland in the 1500s. Born in 1516 to King Henry VIII and his first wife Katherine of Arragon, she was declared illegitimate when her father married Anne Boleyn.
As a result, she lost both her throne and her position in the royal court.
Mary would regain power after her half-brother King Edward VI died at age fifteen and her sister, Lady Jane Grey, was placed on the throne by their father’s will.
After nine days, Mary overthrew Jane, reclaimed the crown, and began solidifying her rule by executing those who opposed it.
“Bloody Mary” was how English Protestants referred to Queen Mary I. Mary I’s graphic execution of Protestants earned her the flattering nickname we know today.
The reign of Queen Mary I ended abruptly in November 1558 when she fell ill with what is now thought to have been cancer or ovarian tumors; she passed away at about forty-two years old with no surviving children or heirs.
Who is the Bloody Mary Ghost – Origins of the Urban Legend
The Bloody Mary urban legend is one of American folklore’s most classic and well-known ghost stories.
The tale states that if you stand in a dark bathroom, turn off the lights, and call out “Bloody Mary” three times, the spectral she-thing will appear in the mirror and try to claw out your eyes.
This urban legend has evolved over time as well. Originally, the ghost in the mirror was said to be Queen Mary I.
But by the 19th century, it had changed so that calling out Bloody Mary would summon a witch instead of the Queen—and by the 20th century, more gruesome details were added, involving blood and murder.
Today, there are still some variations on this folktale, but all versions are united by their connection to Queen Mary I’s reign and her reputation for violence.
Of course, these days, most people consider it an amusing way to pass the time with friends, though some still believe in its supernatural power.
The Bloody Mary legend has been popularized by films and television shows such as Supernatural, American Horror Story, and even an episode of Scooby-Doo.
The Story of Mary Worth – Is She Bloody Mary?
Interestingly enough, another possible identity of Bloody Mary’s ghost stems from a story about an alleged witch named Mary Worth in my home state of Illinois.
Mary Worth was an old, haggard woman who lived on a farm near present-day Gurnee during the 19th century. According to local historians, Worth took perverse pleasure in catching and torturing runaway slaves in her barn.
Worth kept slaves chained to the wall with crude shackles until she decided to kill them in satanic rituals.
The rest of the community got wind of Worth’s horrible deeds and formed a vigilante mob one night determined to rid themselves of her.
Mary Worth was dragged screaming from her home and (keeping with the traditional method of witch disposal) burned at the stake.
The barn where Worth’s witchcraft occurred was also burned to the ground.
Nobody knows what happened to Mary Worth’s remains. People claim she was buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery…but if she was some kind of Pagan witch, it’s unlikely she would have received anything close to a Christian burial.
Another much more plausible theory is that she was buried on her property. Her body has never been found, but according to Ghost Stories of Illinois, all the crazy was let out when the property’s new owners removed a plain square stone in the middle of the field.
Supernatural phenomena and a string of horrific tragedies would plague both those owners and all subsequent owners of the property.
- Christensen, J.-A. (2000). Bloody Mary Worth. In Ghost Stories of Illinois (pp. 204–206). essay, Lone Pine Pub.
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