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Haunted mirrors

Are mirrors gateways into other worlds?

Mirrors are creepy. They show us a backwards view of our own world, suggesting that there is another realm just beyond. Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass gave us that image of what it might be like to pass into that world. Of course, he’s not the only one.

Jewish tradition dictates that mirrors should be draped when someone dies, a tradition that was adopted by the formal traditions of Victorian mourning. Reasons for this vary with the source. Some say it’s more about peace for the mourners. Others say it’s about the dangers of these spirit doorways which are more vulnerable at the time of someone’s passing.

Some of us have played Bloody Mary and similar games, actually daring something to reveal itself in the mirror. Is this childish or unwise? Are these just silly, spooky thrills or do we actually risk opening the door to let something nasty in?

Does this mirror on the Myrtle Plantation contain the spirit of tortured souls? Photo by Corey Balazowich [CC BY-ND 2.0] via flickr

There are many instances of haunted mirrors. One famous legend involves a mirror on the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana. It is said that this mirror holds the spirit of Sara Woodruff. After Sara died this mirror was accidentally left uncovered and she will appear or leave handprints here.

Of course, there are haunted mirrors right here in Austin, Texas. The famously bespooked Driskill Hotel, a few blocks from the Museum, has the Maximilian Room. It’s named for the Mexican Emperor Maximilian and contains mirrors that he commissioned for his wife, Carlotta, before he was killed in an uprising. They were beautifully crafted in France, but never delivered. Three years after Carlotta died, The Driskill purchased the mirrors and hung them in an elegant new dining room, often used for weddings.

Legend has it that a mysterious White Lady is sometimes seen reflected in the mirrors. Some suggest that this apparition is the Empress Carlotta.

Do you have any stories of strange things in a mirror? Do you think they really can be doorways to other worlds? Share with us.

In the mean time, we take care with our mirrors, because you just never know.

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