Mirrors have had legends, lore, superstition and myths tied to them for pretty much as long as they have been around. The ancient Romans believed that they reflected a person’s soul and could bring great strife if they were misused, and indeed many other cultures have various negative, supernatural qualities attached to mirrors, such as they can suck out one’s soul, be portents of death, or offer glimpses into some other dimension. In many cultures mirrors are used for communication with spirits, and it is believed they serve as portals or doorways to the spirit world, that they are some barrier between the world of the living and that of the dead, through that veil that separates us. It is perhaps this widespread belief that has led to the phenomenon of haunted mirrors, so common around the world that there are various disparate cultures that follow the superstition of covering mirrors at certain times, in particular after a death, in order to prevent whatever is on the other side from peeking in or coming through, or even to stop a soul from becoming trapped within the mysterious mirror world. Mirrors are weird, and this is reflected in plenty of legends and lore.
There are instances throughout history of paranormal activity gravitating towards mirrors, which takes various forms. One of the most common types of experience are figures, shadows, apparitions, and entities other than the person in the room appearing in a mirror or sometimes even passing through. There are many reports of this happening, such as is the case with one commenter named Destiny Glaubitz on the site Quora, who says she is a spiritual adviser and explains one of her cases:
One of my cases: A young woman loved mirrors, she would go to yard sales, estate sales for unusual mirrors. One day she found an old, beautiful mirror from ceiling to floor. She had a sensation something was trying to get her attention, until one she said looking at the window “show yourself to me and talk”. This was a bad no no to say the least. Her family started arguing, getting sick as well as the pets. Things started moving or disappearing, at that point she contacted me. When I went in found out through psychometry, a form of a tool/technique to communicate with spirit. We found out that the person who owned it was a very negative, vain person. When this person passed away the mirror was sold to my client, and the negative energy and spirit of this person was attached to the mirror. When my client said what she said to the mirror, she release the energy/spirit into her home. The spirit fed off the negative energy becoming stronger, which allowed it to become a poltergeist. I had to do a cleansing on the whole family, the pets, the home and most of all trap the spirit within the mirror again through a technique. After the cleansing the mirror was thrown away properly so it couldn’t be used ever again. Once that was done the family, the pets, the home was back to normal and healthy again.
In another account, we allegedly have what seems to be some sort of shadow person or even a demon using a mirror as a portal. The witness was apparently in his bedroom one night, which features a full length mirror, when he saw lurking within it a tall figure in black clothing and a Quaker hat, which supposedly stepped right out into the real world. The harrowing report says:
The being was wearing a long, black cloak and a Quaker hat. He had glowing red eyes. He floated along the floor, three inches above the ground. No feet could be seen. Yet he was present in a total physical, 3-dimensional form. The man whom I am talking about was fully awake. This was no dream. The being asked the man if he would like to join them. The being was meant to be the man’s spirit guide for life. In return, the man would receive all of the material things that he could ever wish for – fame as a movie star, immense riches, the girl for his wife, everything that he had been programmed to desire. The being was not there to sell the man on the benefits, he was just stating what the deal was. The being with the Quaker hat used the mirror as a portal. A portal is an unseen vortex that connects two places through time and space, and even dimensions or other realities or timelines.
In another report, the witness claims to have suffered extremely vivid, morbidly terrifying nightmares, and this seems to have all come to a head when he realized just what the origin of the nightmares was and from where they were spewing forth. According to him, these nightmares had started when he had moved into a house with plenty of mirrors in the bedroom, and that besides glimpsing shadow shapes moving around within them he believed they were unleashing something negative into his life. He says:
The nightmares started when we moved into a house with mirrors covering the closet in the master bedroom. The mirrors were an open portal to other dimensions! I knew from feng shui that one should not have mirrors in the bedroom, because it causes restless energy. I realize now that mirrors do more than just increase the energy in a room. They let in evil spirits. We were renting, and because the mirrors were on folding doors of the closet, I could not work out how to cover them, and did not realize at the time how important it was that I do so.
Then, a year later, when we moved into another house, the one we were in at time of writing, I hoped that the nightmares would stop. They did not. This time while there were no mirrors in the bedroom, the idiots who designed the house did not put a door between the bedroom and the bathroom, just an open arch. Since we were renting, there wasn’t much I thought I could do. Part of the large vanity mirror looked almost directly into the bedroom, and I ignored the part of my mind that told me it was important to do something about it. Once I realized that the bathroom mirror was letting something in that was causing my nightmares, I had two choices – cover up the mirror, or put bible verses on it, similar to the way the mezuzahs protect doorways.
Another quite frightening account of a haunted mirror comes from Pagans and Witches, from a witness who says that her sister had moved into a house that had had quite a lot of paranormal activity within. Shadowy apparitions, light bulbs exploding for no reason, disembodied footsteps, anomalous odors, all this and more became common occurrences. It got to the point where she could not sleep alone at night, and she finally decided to move out of the accursed place, convinced that it was haunted. It then became apparent why, as there was an old, apparently haunted mirror stored in the attic, of which it is said:
The time finally came for Sally to move out. She began by moving all her furniture into the family home. A lot of the furniture belonged to both my grandparents and the previous tenants. One of these was a big, beautiful oval mirror with a white frame. It was being stored in our hallway for the time being, along with some other furniture.
One day, I was sitting in my living room when I heard a loud crash. Sally (who had already moved in) and I went out into the hall, where my father was standing at the end. "What happened?" I asked. "The mirror broke," he said. "It just collapsed."
The mirror had fallen on its own whilst he was in another room, he said. He took it outside and placed it in the trash. Then he came back in and asked Sally if she wanted to keep the frame. "I found this too," he said, "Behind the glass." He handed her a piece of paper. It was a news article, from 1985, about some football match. The whole article, however, was written in ITALIAN. That's when Sally remembered "Scopata"... I asked where the mirror had come from. Did it belong to our grandparents? A previous tenant? Or did she buy it herself?
"I found it in their attic," she said, "I took it down and painted it and hung it in my room."
My father told us it belonged to the mother of the last tenant, let's call her Maria. Maria loved to go traveling the world, and had accumulated a lot of stuff from different places. She had asked her son (the previous tenant) if she could store some of her stuff in their attic. But she forgot to take some of it back. The mirror was one of these things.
Spooky, indeed, and there is the prevalent belief among paranormal enthusiasts that it is always best to get rid of any mirrors left behind by previous tenants precisely to keep this sort of thing from happening. Moving along we come to a report from Supernatural Magazine, with a witness who claims his experience happened at a haunted bed and breakfast in upstate New York that dates all the way back to 1845. Here within this old building is apparently a mirror that is very active with paranormal phenomena, and the witness says of this mirror:
The mirror in question here is an old Victorian-style which just happened to come from an old Victorian home just down the street from the hotel. The owners of the mirror had been having strange things happen, odd lights would come in and out of the mirror, and they would see unknown faces gazing back at them. Growing more and more uncomfortable with these unusual sights it was decided to take the mirror down the street and see if the owners of the hotel would like to give it a good home.
They were delighted to be asked, and graciously accepted the gift. The antique was donated to the hotel and was hung in a place of honor in what is known to be the most haunted room in the building. The beautiful Victorian antique was placed on the top of an old dresser which was already in the room. It was decided they would just leave the mirror to its own devices and wait to see what, if anything, happened…without mentioning it to their guests. It didn’t take long before the mirror started to show signs of strange activity. Things began to happen, small at first with odd balls of light moving about the edges, until over time the energy began to increase and what appeared to be faces started to appear.
The witness decided to get some people together and try what he calls “mirror divination,” which seems to entail trying to communicate with whatever spirit is using the mirror as a portal. The hotel apparently has quite a few ghosts roaming about, including that of several children and a mobster. It was thought that at least a few of these ghosts might be using the mirror as a gateway to enter the hotel, and so they arranged a ritual to try and contact them through it. The witness says of this:
During the night’s investigation it was suggested we try a session with the mirror, so a group of about 6 guests then proceeded to the haunted room to try our luck with the art of mirror divination. The first volunteers to step up had some success when the reflections seemed to change as their faces appeared to get older. After a few minutes someone suggested, “Willy, why don’t you give it a try.” I had never tried anything like this before and immediately agreed to take my turn.
Only a few minutes had passed before changes began to take place. The first thing to occur was that my hair which was very long at the time, seemed to be getting shorter and my face began to transform into female features. As I stood motionless in front of the mirror with five witnesses seated on the bed to my left the strange transformation proceeded. Over the next few minutes the image of my reflection made the change from a 58-year-old man to that of a young teenage girl. Everyone in the room was fascinated with the strange image in the mirror as the young girl became more and more clear but no one was prepared for what would happen next.
Everyone was sitting quietly transfixed on the image, while I stood motionless staring straight into the mirror not moving a muscle. Suddenly the image of the young girl turned and looked straight at the people on the bed and the mouth began to move as if trying to talk to them. It was at this point when some of the group became very uncomfortable and started to leave. The session then came to an end when the face disappeared.
Such spooky tales and accounts are numerous, and there is so much bizarre paranormal phenomena blamed on mirrors that many paranormal investigators actually go about covering them or making sure they are spiritually cleansed before proceeding. Considering the plenitude of stories and the various pieces of myth and lore surrounding mirrors, it seems worth considering just why this might be. Is this because spirits are truly drawn to such objects and they are truly doorways to other places? Or is it merely tricks or the imagination and perception within these reflective surfaces? Why should there be so much lore and mystery surrounding mirrors? No matter what the answer may be, mirrors have and will probably always continue to conjure up stories of the weird and the paranormal, and it gives one something to think about the next time you are looking into one. You never know what might be looking right back.