The Mystique, Magic, Myths and Superstitions of Mirrors
“I looked in the mirror and what did I see…”
What does one see when one looks in a mirror? Is it merely as the song says “…A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees…” Or is there more to be seen in a mirror than one’s own reflection?
Mirrors have a certain mystique about them, which gives rise to beliefs, magic, myths, legends and superstitions.
Amongst many things they have been seen as a “tool of the devil”, a “catcher” of the soul, a harbinger of things to come, a portal to another dimension and a source of bad luck.
But what are these beliefs myths and superstitions and where do they come from?
In the Bible, the Book of Genesis says that God made man in his own image. Therefore when we look into a mirror do we merely see our own reflection, our doppelganger, or are we looking into the face of God? This may have been the starting point where religious teachers found the answer to be: that of course, one could not see the face of god, which relied on faith, but if “man” was made in his image, therefore one must surely be looking at the nearest thing possible: one’s own soul.
There are areas of the world, including parts of the USA, Greece and Southern Ireland, where it was, and in some cases still is, the tradition that when there is a death in the house, all the mirrors in the household are covered until the body has been removed, so that the soul of the dead person will not be forever trapped there. There is also a belief that if a person was to look at the reflected image of the dead person in a mirror then they would see the face of the devil.
The thought of the soul being seen in a mirror, would also explain why, in stories of vampires, the vampire does not have a reflection in a mirror. As the vampire is already dead it has no soul and therefore cannot have a reflection.