When I was but a wee sprite, I remember slightly older kids tormenting me with stories of masked serial killers, neighbor kids who died of fright, and of course the menacing classic, "Bloody Mary". Who hasn't been kept awake at night by remembering the histrionics of some asshole in the backyard making you defecate in your unmentionables with fear over what kinds of horrible thing you could conjure up with a mirror and a pitch black room.
It seems "Bloody Mary" has some origins in reality. It appears Mary I of England achieved that somewhat dubious moniker during her rule of England circa 1553-1558. She acquired it by having some protestants put to death during that time period. But over the years, legends developed about her having virgins killed, and bathing in their blood to try and retain a youthful look.
Although another legendary queen, Mary, Queen of Scots, was allegedly involved in the murder of her husband, there is no confirmed link between her and the urban legend, much less involving claret.
But why do children purport to torture themselves with these horror stories that they can virtually participate in? Apparently Psychology has posited some semblance of an answer. A stage in childhood development named the Robinson Stage. These kinds of children want to feed and urge for danger and excitement by participating in ritual games and playing in the dark. This according to psych expert, Gail De Vos:
Apparently, I suppressed this particular stage because I couldn't even think the phrase "I believe in Bloody Mary" in the dark, let alone say it.