Friday, July 25, 2008

Mirror and Superstitous

Look into any mirror ... Do you see a ghost? Or does a real ghost see you? Invisible and watching you from the other side in it's backwards world.

Many old mirrors thick and old and silver back stained are said to be haunted by the ghosts of those that died. their image forever frozen or trapped in the glass. Some recent stories on eBay tell of people selling their antique mirrors that were either bought or passed down the generations in their familes and said to be very haunted . It is said by some that if a ghost or lost soul wanders your home during the night, a mirror can capture it. An old New Orleans Voodoo way to capture a ghost was to put a large standing mirror in your bedroom door way. When the ghost thinking it is a door enters the mirror it is forever trapped in the rooms that were reflected in it when caught not the real rooms.

Bloody Mary The Face In The Mirror

A urban legend of sorts states: If you go into the bathroom and look into the mirror with the lights off and the room completely black, and then say 'Bloody Mary' thirteen times, a woman will appear and scratch your face off. The research into Bloody Mary goes back to 1978, when folklorist Janet Langlois published her essay on the legend. Belief in summoning the mirror-witch was even at that time widespread throughout the U.S.

Mary is summoned whenever young teen aged girls get together for a sleepover, but boys have been known to call on her too. The 'Bloody Mary' legend was common in the early 1970s. Typically performed the "ritual" in bathrooms, because the bathrooms of suburban homes had large mirrors and were easily darkened even during the day since they had no windows. In latter years after the release of the movie Clive Barker's Candyman (1992) calling upon him became more popular. Many do believe the Candyman's Movies premise is based on fact and try summoning him even today.

Helen Lyle is a student who decides to write a thesis about local legends and myths. She visits a part of the town, where she learns about the legend of Cabrini Green and the Candyman, a one-armed man with a hook who appears to you in your bathroom when you say his name five times, in front of a mirror. Of course, Helen doesn't believe all this stuff, but the people of the area are really afraid. When she ignores their warnings and begins her investigation in the places that he is rumored to appear, a series of horrible murders begins.

In the 1998 movie Urban Legend, two co-eds try to summon an evil spirit by chanting 'Bloody Mary.' In an episode of television's The X Files ("Syzygy," original air date 26 January 1996), two teenage girls lure a rival for a boy's affections into the bathroom — and a "Bloody Mary" ritual — during a birthday party. They prevent her from leaving the bathroom, and the camera cuts to the rest of the partygoers downstairs, who hear a crash of breaking glass and a scream.

Mirror ... Mirror on the wall you make my skin creep and crawl. Whose the ghost that resides within... The spirts of the dead the lost or my next of kin!

Fear of mirrors probably arose from the time when the first humans saw their reflections in a pool of water and once they had got over their initial shock of seeing someone or something, believed that the image was their soul or spirit and to endanger it would mean risking injury to the other self. Also since ancient times, mirrors were said to have magical powers, including the power to foretell the future and were considered to be devices of the gods. Thus breaking a mirror would end its powers and bring untold miseries and misfortunes upon the one whose reflection it last held. Or even damning a trapped spirit to a hell that only the Devil himself knew exisited.

All is Vanity Charles Allan Gilbert, American Illustrator, 1873 - 1929.

The Vanity is considered by many to be one of the finest optical illusions ever conceived. Reproductions of this illusion continue to be popular more than 100 years after the drawing first appeared in print.

The painting is an ambiguous illusion with an allegorical theme, as the title suggests. The two aspects become clear as you study the figure. It can be seen as either, a beautiful girl gazing at her reflection in a large mirror; or the scene can be realized as a grinning human skull. The girl's two heads make up the eye sockets of the skull, her vanity items, and an embroidered table cloth form the teeth and jaws.
The reason for the popularity of the artwork is clear; stunning realism, style, and exquisite detail performed flawlessly by a master illustrator. Charles Gilbert learned his amazing style in New York, and Paris.

Mirrors are the perfect example of an everyday household furnishing attached with countless superstitions. Probably the most common belief concerning mirrors is that their breakage causes seven years of bad luck. But does Breaking a mirror with a real ghost locked in it set it free to haunt you? Consider this: Was the ghost trapped their on his own or placed their by some force to trap it to save others from the haunting the ghost could cause? In New Orleans Voodoosit are said to use a grand spell to capture household haunting ghosts in Zombie bottles or large mirrors. The mirrors which render the ghost harmless only to haunt the world that is reflected in the mirror. Not the Real world we live in. One custom unique to New Orleams voodoo is to watch ( particualrly if it is a bad or evil spirit or ghost) wander into a room or door way reflected in the mirror then to smash it trapping the ghost forever to roam into a different eternity and not haunt your house any longer. And to tell if a old mirror given to you or purchased is haunted place to tall white candles no further then 12 inches apart . Do this at midnight. Focus your eyes at the space between the two candles if it is haunted you will see the ghost!

STROZZI, Bernardo
(b. 1581, Genova, d. 1644, Venezia) Old Woman at the Mirror
c. 1615
Oil on canvas, 132 x 108 cm
Pushkin Museum, Moscow

The theme of this painting has a long tradition: the old woman who has not learned to give her life any other meaning but that of ornament and vanity, and who is unable to see the truth or recognize her true self in the mirror. Strozzi's formulation, however, is both individual and new. It makes the most of the surface values, deliberately contrasting the wrinkled skin of the old woman with the fresh complexion of her servant and juxtaposing the firm and rounded forms of youth with the withered slackness of old age. He reveals in the mirror that the old woman's red cheeks are painted with rouge, and he places a blossoming, scented rose in her wrinkled hand. He also shows us the uncriticizing complacency on her face, leaving it up to the spectator to deduce a sense of embarrassment, emptiness, transparent illusion and moral warning.

As for the seven-year period, the ancient Romans believed that life renewed itself every seven years. If the person looking into the mirror were of ill health, their image would break the mirror and the run of bad luck would continue for seven years, at the end of which their life would be renewed, ending the curse.

But if you do not wish seven years of ill-luck, a variety of remedies are available to counter the curse of the mirror, including some crazy ones like taking all the pieces and throwing them into running water or pounding the broken mirror into tiny fragments so that no piece can reflect anything ever again or taking the pieces outside & burying them in moonlight. There is also help for those who are too lazy or too busy, just leave the breakage the way it was for seven hours and then clean it up immediately after the hours are up.
In Greek mythology, the hero Perseus killed Medusa by using a mirrored shield so as not to gaze upon her monstrous appearance (she turned anyone who looked at her to stone.)

In English literature, a famous example is Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, in which protagonist Alice uses a mirror as a portal to a strange alternate world. A common use is that of scrying with a mirror. In Canterbury Tales, "The Squire's Tale" describes a magical mirror that can look over a king's realm; similarly, in The Faerie Queene, Merlin enchants a mirror to have this power. Another example, from the German tales of the brothers Grimm, is Snow White, in which the Wicked Queen consults a magic mirror to determine the identity of the most beautiful woman in the world; this mirror is capable of scrying the forest and finding Snow White. In modern fantasy, the mirror of Galadriel, in J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, shows things that were, and things that are, and things that yet may be.

Mirrors, along with labyrinths, figure prominently in the work of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, who often used them as symbols of infinity, impersonation, and illusion. In Dreamtigers, he writes of fearing that his reflection would move independently or change shape before his eyes. In Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, a fictional heresiarch declares that "mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men."

Similarly, Edgar Allan Poe expresses an aversion to mirrors in The Philosophy of Furniture:

Regarded apart from its reflection, the mirror presents a continuous, flat, colourless, unrelieved surface, – a thing always and obviously unpleasant. Considered as a reflector, it is potent in producing a monstrous and odious uniformity: and the evil is here aggravated, not in merely direct proportion with the augmentation of its sources, but in a ratio constantly increasing. In fact, a room with four or five mirrors arranged at random, is, for all purposes of artistic show, a room of no shape at all. If we add to this evil, the attendant glitter upon glitter, we have a perfect farrago of discordant and displeasing effects.

In the Harry Potter series of novels, the Mirror of Erised is a magic mirror that reflects its viewer, not physically, but representing the viewer's deepest desires. Also featured in the series is a type of device (a dark detector) that functions as a mirror, depicting not only the gazer but also a number of shadowy figures in the background; they are enemies and their proximity to the viewer represents their imminent threat.

In Bram Stoker's Dracula the count (Dracula) has no reflection in a mirror (and no shadow).

In Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, Kilgore Trout calls mirrors "leaks," and tells people he believes they lead to other worlds. He often tells people that where he is from "taking a leak" means stealing a mirror.

Venus Effect

The Venus effect is a phenomenon in the psychology of perception, named after Diego Velázquez's painting The Rokeby Venus. Viewers of the painting assume that Venus is admiring her own reflection in the mirror. However, since the viewer sees her face in the mirror, Venus would actually be looking at the viewer, not at herself.

La Venus del espejo, also known as The Rokeby Venus, is a painting by Diego Velázquez in the National Gallery, London. It dates from 1644 to 1648.

In the painting the goddess Venus is depicted lying on a bed, looking into a mirror held up by Cupid. The face reflected in the dimmed mirror appears to be that of an older woman, which has long intrigued experts. Some think it is a commentary on the vanity of beauty which is transitory due to aging. Some think the face in the mirror was over-painted by another artist at a later time. Another explanation is that the face is not aged, merely out of focus, a sharper face would distract our immediate attention from the form of Venus. By seeing the nude first, and the face afterwards, we are "caught" in voyeurism. The face in the mirror is also substantially larger than it should be, and the mirror is angled such that, in reality, it would reflect a different part of the goddess's body.

The painting is unique for being the only surviving female nude by Velázquez, and one of only two such paintings in all of 17th-century Spanish art, which was often censored by the Spanish Inquisition. It was revolutionary for its depiction of the nude female form with its back facing the viewer. The composition has only three main colours: red, white and grey, which include the pigment of Venus's skin.

This psychological "trick" is often used in the cinema, where an actor will be shown apparently looking at himself in the mirror, with the camera just out of shot. In fact, the actor will be looking at the camera and just be pretending to see himself in the mirror.

The difference in relative sizes of the real face and the reflected face makes it possible to estimate the distance the viewer was from the object when they formed the image.

In Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera Erik (the Phantom) uses a revolving room of mirrors to torment his captives. Erik also hides behind a one way mirror when teaching Christine how to sing. In Erik's lair all of the mirrors are hidden behind curtains as Erik is afraid of his own face. At the end of the film of The Phantom of the Opera the Phantom breaks out of his solitude by smashing a mirror and entering an underground tunnel.

Mirrors appear in the Bhagavad Gita (3.38): As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust.

In Chinese Literature, the novel Dream of the Red Chamber, a Taoist monk has a two sided mirror that is capable of reflecting truth from the main screen, while the back screen shows the distorted truth.

In most fantasy stories and games, mirrors are often items that have great magical power, such as being able to oversee the activities of others in locations far away, being gateways to other realms or its most common application of being used to redirect an opponent's attack back at them.

Mirrors, typically large and unframed, are frequently used in interior decoration to create an illusion of space, and amplify the apparent size of a room.

The softness of old mirrors is sometimes replicated by contemporary artisans for use in interior design. These reproduction antiqued mirrors are works of art and can bring color and texture to an otherwise hard, cold reflective surface. It is an artistic process that has been attempted by many and perfected by few.

Ghost And Mirror Superstitions

Never look into a mirror by candlelight, it may show you a very haunted version of your home.

If you stare into a mirror between two tall white candles you might see the spirit of a loved one who has passed away. And their soul is stuck in your mirror.

Always cover a haunted mirror during a thunderstorm lightning will release the ghosts.

It is considered a bad omen to receive a mirror from a deceased persons home as a present.

If a mirror in the house falls and breaks on its own, A evil ghost is trying to escape it's mirror prison.

A baby should never be shown its own reflection before it is a year old, else it will stutter or grow no bigger than it is or die before it turns one.

Many families cover a mirror if someone dies, as they believe that the mirror will capture the dead person’s soul, thus preventing its entry into heaven. When a person is bad in life many say let them be trapped in mirror it is better then going to Hell!

And if someone sees their reflection in a mirror from a room where someone has recently died, they will die soon too.

It is said that if ghost wanders your home during the night, a mirror can capture it.

Early mirrors were often little more than a sheet of polished metal, often silver or copper, for example the Aranmula kannadi. Most modern mirrors consist of a thin layer of aluminum deposited on a sheet of glass. This layer is called the Tain. They are back silvered, where the reflecting surface is viewed through the glass sheet; this makes the mirror durable, but lowers the image quality of the mirror due to extraneous reflections from the front surface of the glass (ordinary glass typically reflects around 4% of the light). This type of mirror reflects about 80% of the incident light. The "back side" of the mirror is often painted or coated in some way to completely seal the metal from corrosion.

Mirrors for precision optical applications are more likely to have the reflective coating on the front surface of the mirror, to eliminate reflection from the glass. Metal films on the front surface are generally covered with a thin, transparent coating to protect them from corrosion. This is often made of silica. In some cases this coating may also enhance reflectivity.

The Devil's Looking Glass

A mirror is an object with a surface that has good specular reflection; that is, it is smooth enough to form an image. The most familiar type of mirror is the plane mirror, which has a flat surface. Curved mirrors are also used, to produce magnified or demagnified images or focus light. Mirrors are most commonly used for personal grooming, decoration, and architecture. Mirrors are also used in scientific apparatus such as telescopes and lasers, cameras, and industrial machinery. Most mirrors are designed for visible light, however, mirrors designed for other wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation are also used, especially in optical instruments.

Magic Mirrors

They bring bad luck The help tell the future. Before mirrors came along, any reflective surface was considered to be magical and credited with the ability to look into the future. In ancient mythology we can often find the gods and goddesses, as well as mere mortals, looking into the still water to catch a glimpse of their fate. The power of reflective surfaces to captivate and deceive are also featured strongly in such myths as Narcissusand Snow White. Reflective surfaces like shiny metals and mirrors were also used to receive messages from the gods.

Queen Elizabeth's court magician and well-known alchemist, John Dee, used a mirror for scrying. He has been credited with prophesying the plot to kill King James in 1605.

Because mirrors were thought to hold the key to the future, to break one was to shatter your own future. One of the techniques devised to reverse the bad luck was to bury all the pieces deep within the earth. Another superstition for breaking a mirror was that shortly thereafter a family member would die.

(As email to PRSG by Kirsten Scholl, Budapest)