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In folklore[edit]

Divination rituals such as the one depicted on this early 20th-century Halloween
greeting card, where a woman stares into a mirror in a darkened room to catch a glimpse
of the face of her future husband while a witch lurks in the shadows, may be one origin
of the Bloody Mary legend.

This Halloween greeting card from 1904 satirizes divination: the young woman hoping
to see her future husband sees the reflection of a nearby portrait instead.
Rituals that involve many of the same acts as scrying in ceremonial magic are also
preserved in folklore form. A formerly widespread tradition held that young women

gazing into a mirror in a darkened room (often on Halloween) could catch a glimpse of
their future husband's face in the mirroror a skull personifying Death if their fate was
to die before they married.
Another form of the tale, involving the same actions of gazing into a mirror in a
darkened room, is used as a supernatural dare in the tale of "Bloody Mary". Here, the
motive is usually to test the adolescent gazers' mettle against a malevolent witch or
ghost, in a ritual designed to allow the scryers' easy escape if the visions summoned
prove too frightening.[6]
While, as with any sort of folklore, the details may vary, this particular tale (Bloody
Mary) encouraged young women to walk up a flight of stairs backwards, holding a
candle and a hand mirror, in a darkened house. As they gazed into the mirror, they were
supposed to be able to catch a view of their future husband's face. There was, however,
a chance that they would see the skull-face of the Grim Reaper instead; this meant that
they were destined to die before they married.
In the fairytale of Snow White, the jealous queen consults a magic mirror, which she
asks "Magic mirror on the wall / Who is the fairest of them all?", to which the mirror
always replies "You, my queen, are fairest of all." But when Snow White reaches the
age of seven, she becomes as beautiful as the day, and when the queen asks her mirror,
it responds: "Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you."[7]

Modern day[edit]

The Ganzfeld experiment involves sensory deprivation which might be seen as

comparable with scrying. According to the small community of
parapsychologists, it provides the best known evidence for psi abilities in the

The Dr. John Dee of the Mind research institute, founded by the
parapsychologist Raymond Moody, utilizes crystallomancy to allow people to
experience an altered state of consciousness with the intention of invoking
apparitions of the dead.

Contemporary mass media, such as films, often depict scrying using a crystal
ball, stereotypically used by an old gypsy woman.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth (especially in The Lord of

the Rings), the Palantr is a stone that allows a viewer to see what any other
Palantr sees, and the Mirror of Galadriel is used as a scrying device to see
visions of the past, present, or future.

The British astrologer and psychic known as Mystic Meg, who came to national
attention as part of the UK's National Lottery draw in 1994, was often portrayed
with a crystal ball.

In the videogame Clive Barker's Undying, Patrick Galloway (the player) is

shown in possession of a green crystal, The Gel'ziabar Stone, which allows him

to scrye visions and sounds from the past, that are vital to the various missions.
[citation needed]

In Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle the use of a mirror to view people and
places the viewer knew in the present was possible with the drawback of not
being able to see anything to which they had no knowledge. The attempt to scry
the future would cost the user their life.

In the US television series Charmed, the sisters scry with a crystal and a map to
locate people.[citation needed]

Traditional healers from the Yucatn Peninsula and Guatemala use stone crystal
balls for scrying. These are known as sastun or zaztun. Originally, they were
Mayan antiquities that they used to collect in archaeological ruins.[9] Nowadays
they are mostly modern objects. It is unknown what was the original use of the
jade balls found in ancient Mayan burials.

See also[edit]


Crystal gazing

Ganzfeld experiment


Kozyrev mirror



Magic (paranormal)



List of topics characterized as pseudoscience


Jump up ^ Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society: A postgraduate conference


Jump up ^ Caputo, G B (2010). "Strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion". Perception 39

(7): 10071008. doi:10.1068/p6466. PMID 20842976. Retrieved 13 December 2014.


Jump up ^ Bell, Vaughan. "The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion". Mind Hacks.

Retrieved 13 December 2014.


Jump up ^ Richard Bushman Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling


Jump up ^ Smith, Lucy Mack (1853). The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother.
p. 101.


Jump up ^ Bill Ellis, Lucifer Ascending: The Occult in Folklore and Popular Culture
(University of Kentucky, 2004). ISBN 0-8131-2289-9


Jump up ^ Besterman, Theodore. Crystal Gazing: A Study in the History, Distribution,

Theory and Practice of Scrying.


Jump up ^ Modern Ganzfeld Uses. "Scrying Without Crying". PaganPath.com.

Retrieved 19 February 2014.


Jump up ^ Brown L. A. (2000)From discard to divination: Demarcating the sacred

through the collection and curation of discarded objects. Latin American Antiquity 11: 319-333

References and further reading[edit]

A Symbolic Representation of the Universe: Derived by Doctor John Dee

Through the Scrying of Sir Edward Kelly ~Aleister Crowley, Adrian Axwirthy

Crystal Gazing: Study in the History, Distribution, Theory and Practice of

Scrying ~Theodore Besterman

Scrying for Beginners: Tapping into the Supersensory Powers of Your

Subconscious ~Donald Tyson

Crystal Gazing: Its History and Practice with a Discussion on the Evidence for
Telepathic Scrying ~Northcote W. Thomas

Andrew Lang, Crystal visions, savage and civilised, The Making of Religion,
Chapter V, Longmans, Green, and C, London, New York and Bombay, 1900,
pp. 83104.

Shepard, Leslie A. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Gale

Research, Inc.


Armand Delatte, La catoptromancie grecque et ses drivs (1932)


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