Graveyard Shift

The Strange History Of Mirrors, From Phobias To Folklore

If you have eisoptrophobia or catoptrophobia, you won't be querying a mirror on the wall - or a mirror anywhere - about fairness. Both of these phobias involve a fear of mirrors, and though this rare condition may seem strange, it's not hard to argue that mirrors are inherently mysterious - we assign them meaning beyond their role as an object that's used to check if our hair or outfit looks good.

The history of mirrors dates back to the time when ancient people gazed at their reflections in the water. Later, they peered at themselves via polished stones until the advent of modern glass mirrors. In addition to allowing people to look at themselves, mirrors became metaphors for the soul, serving as a reflection of one's inner and exterior qualities. Along with this idea came the notion that people's souls can get trapped inside these objects, which might become portals to the spirit world where the spirits aren't always friendly.

The spooky game called Bloody Mary, as well as many horror movies and stories, take advantage of our superstitions about mirrors. Scientists may not be able to pinpoint why people are afraid of mirrors, but these phobia facts suggest our reflections could have fascinating associations.