The history of Bloody Mary is a mysterious one: no researcher can prove conclusively or exactly where and when the creepy Bloody Mary legend began, nor can anyone pinpoint who Bloody Mary was. Several theories have circulated, however, about who Mary truly was and how her morose legend came to be. As with all legends, plot points change as they are passed down and vary by region to make the tale more applicable to whatever cultural group is involved at the time. For this reason, there are different versions of the "game" and different beliefs about what will happen if Bloody Mary is successfully summoned.
Folklorists have been able to trace these various tales back to the 1960s, but the legend of Bloody Mary and the accompanying creepy adolescent sleepover ritual could be much older than that. In fact, the elements involved in the folklore date back to much older ritualistic practices like mirror-gazing and self-hypnosis. This list explores some variations of the lore, the ritual, and the possible identities of the infamous Bloody Mary.