The conjuring of Bloody Mary has been a favorite way for teenagers, girls in particular, to scare themselves silly. The appearance of the Bloody Mary spirit has become the stuff of urban legend, yet many have testified that she really does appear.
Basically, the ritual goes like this: stand in a darkened or lightless room where there is a mirror. Stare into the mirror and chant "Bloody Mary" 13 times. The gruesome spirit of Bloody Mary will appear behind you in the mirror.
There are many variations on the ritual, any of which a brave teenage girl will try, usually on a dare. Sometimes a lighted candle is required in the dark room. You must chant the name three times, six times, nine times - even up to 100 times, depending on whom you ask. Another variation is that you must spin slowly in place while you chant Bloody Mary's name, glancing in the mirror with each turn.
An excellent article by Patty A. Wilson in the June 2005 issue of FATE magazine gives the complete history of the Bloody Mary legend, saying that the most likely origin is the life of Mary Stuart. Also known as Mary Queen of Scots in 16th century England, she was involved in many plots, intrigues and murder. She was executed in 1587, and it is her bloody corpse that appears in the mirror when beckoned.
Yet another tradition says that the evil spirit is none other than Satan's spouse. (I didn't even know he was seeing anyone!)
Although the biggest worry with Bloody Mary is that the participant will succeed in scaring herself into hysterics, we occasionally hear stories about people who really did see Bloody Mary in the mirror. Usually these tales come through a friend of a friend and are, of course, impossible to verify.
Psychic Uri Geller is most often credited with the phenomenon of spoon bending. While skeptics claim this feat is nothing more than magician's sleight of hand, others say that it is a psychic phenomenon that just about anyone can accomplish.
It's so easily done that spoon-bending parties have been held. On these occasions, the host brings a load of spoons and forks (forks are probably used more often than spoons because it's more dramatic to get the tines all twisted), usually bought cheap from a thrift store. The party goers are asked to choose a utensil they believe will bend, and sometime during the course of the event, most of the spoons and forks indeed do bend and twist, seemingly in defiance of all logic and the laws of physics.
In short, the method goes like this: Invite people to the party that you know and like. Create a relaxed atmosphere of fun and laughter. Ask each participant to choose a utensil that they believe "wants" to bend. (They don't all want to bend.) It's even suggested that you ask the fork, "Will you bend for me?" Then hold the fork vertically and shout, "Bend! Bend!" Rub it gently with your fingers.
If the utensil does not begin to bend, divert your attention. Focus your attention on something else. Some even say that this inattention to the utensil is vital in getting it to bend. When it succeeds, the fork or spoon will bend easily. Contrary to popular belief, the utensil will not just start twisting of its own accord (although this has happened on rare occasions). Rather, the utensil becomes so malleable that it is quite easily bent and twisted with the hands using almost no effort - as if it were made of the softest metal.
Although I've never had any luck with bending spoons or forks (I've always tried it alone and not at a festive party), my wife was able to easily twist several forks into impossible shapes, as the photo on this page shows.
Have fun and don't take this stuff too seriously.