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Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...
Authored By: Charla White, Grimstone Inc.

From fairy tales to real life, mirrors, reflective surfaces, and still water all have something in common. They can be used for divination, magic, stealing souls and repelling evil. The first reflective surface used for divination was a body of still water. Mirrors are a basic tool for magical work (Greer, 310). The Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks made their mirrors from bronze or silver. The Chinese and Hindu also used metals. It wasnít until the 13th century in Venice that glass mirrors were introduced (Guiley, 372).

In tribal societies it is the belief that ones reflection is actually ones soul. And by exposing ones soul it is made vulnerable to evil influences and even death. It is believed that mirrors are tools in which souls may be stolen for evil purposes. Mirrors have been used as tools to increase clairvoyance and/or to gain knowledge of past lives. All class levels have used mirrors to tell their futures. From the middles ages to the 19th century, mirrors have been used by everyone including Catherine de Medici and Henry IV (Guiley, 372).

Itís not only mirrors that have created concern for peopleís souls. The Motumotu of New Guinea believed their reflections were their souls the first time they saw their likenesses in a looking glass. The Basutos believe that the crocodiles have the power of killing a man by dragging his reflection under the water. Saddle Island residents in Melanesia believe there is a pool in which a malignant spirit lives. When someoneís reflection is seen in the water, it is feared that they will die and the spirit will do evil with his soul. The Greeks regarded seeing ones reflection in the water as a death omen for they feared the water spirits would capture the personís reflection (soul) and drag it into the depths of the water thus leaving the person soulless (Bartleby.com)

Mirrors are often associated with evil, either as a means to repel evil or as a way to further evil growth in the world. Mirrors are thought to be portals into another dimension or world allowing evil, spirits, etc. to wreak havoc on the world. Superstitions about mirrors are many. For example, if one breaks a mirror one can expect at least seven years of bad luck, disaster or death. If the mirror falls on its own, then it is believed that death is coming for someone in the house. If a dead person is in a house with mirrors, their soul could be trapped forever in the mirror unless the mirror is covered (. And if one looks into the mirror on the night of a full moon, repeats ďBloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody MaryĒ then evil is let loose upon you with no mercy!

If it is true that one sees their soul in the reflection of a mirror, then that must be why vampires can not be seen in them. Vampires have no soul. We also have it on good authority that vampires do not have reflections. After all, it was Bram Stokerís Renfield who noticed the lack of mirrors in castle Dracula (Melton, 170)! Taking Stokerís lead in vampires, Hollywood has reinforced this belief.

It has been a belief that mirrors can be used to protect one from vampires and witches. In Europe it became fashionable for one to wear small looking glasses on ones hat. This was done to repel the evil eye and protect the wearer from evil (Guiley, 373).

For paranormal investigators mirrors or other reflective surfaces wreak havoc. When taking photographs (35 mm or digital) especially whenever there is a flash involved, the reflection of light can create images that are not really present. One example of this occurred when taking a photo of some clothes hanging from a metal rod located in front of a mirror. The clothing and the reflection gave an illusion of a nose within the clothes as if someone was peaking out. Mirrors draped with lace or near hanging lace can also present the illusion that someone is present within the folds and design on the lace. The same can be said of still bodies of water. Water in a pond or the bottom of a bowl will also create illusions which I am sure helped to fuel these beliefs.

Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. Llewellyn Publications, 2003.
Melton, J. Gordon. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press, 1994.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Encyclopedia of the Strange, Mystical, and Unexplained. Gramercy Books, 1991.
http://www.bartleyby.com/196/32.html - 3. The Soul as a Shadow and a Reflection.
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