(Orig. Published 9/2003)
Below the waters of Lake Erie around the Sandusky Bay lives an old, ugly hag by the name of Mary. Mary once fell in love with a young man from Huron. He, of course, was not attracted to her. Mary grew more obsessed with this man, and continued to pursue him despite his repeated rejections.
Mary soon turned to black witchcraft to win him over. First, she drew the figure of a pretty girl in the sand. She then stalked and kidnapped young women, taking them to her home where she killed them. To complete her grisly plan, Mary then selected the best body parts from each victim and sewed them together to form a perfect “doll”.
Mary tried to use the life-like doll to attract the man. She was almost successful.
After luring him on a pier, the man accidentally fell into the lake and drowned.
It is said that at night, Mary comes up from the bottom of her watery home and roams the shores of Lake Erie looking for new body parts to replace the rotting ones of her “doll.” One variation of this legend states that when the night is stormy, she will creep around the houses along the lake, looking inside the windows for young women. When she finds a suitable candidate for the doll, she will knock three times on the girl’s bedroom window. If the girl hears the noise and looks out the window into the face of “Bloody Mary,” she will fall under the witch’s spell and be taken away. Another version warns young women against going near the lake at night. If she happens upon Bloody Mary, the witch will drag her under the water.
As with crybaby bridge, the story of Bloody Mary is more urban legend than fact and has several variations. The most well-known versions overlap with that of Mary Worth and/or Candyman–her violent spirit will appear if you stand in front of a mirror and say “Bloody Mary” 13 times.
Still, this is the darkest, most unique version of the Bloody Mary legend and worth coverage as its own tale.
To read more about the Lake Erie Bloody Mary tale, check out the 1975 anthology, Ohio’s Ghostly Greats by David J. Gerrick, which was a source for this page.
For a good article on the general legend of Bloody Mary in Ohio, check out the Vicious Rumors section of The Ghosts of Ohio website.