A mirror is according to folklore, a doorway or portal through which spirits, including ghosts and Demons, can gain access to the physical world. Mirrors are problems in some cases of Demonic infestations and hauntings. Since ancient times, any shiny surface has been regarded as a spirit doorway and can be used deliberately to summon spirits into the world. They also are used for seeing visions of the future. Much of the folklore about mirrors is negative. In widespread belief, they are “soul stealers” with the power to suck souls out of bodies. In the Greek myth of Narcissus, he sees his own reflection in water, pines away, and dies. The Devil and Demons can enter through mirrors to attack people, according to some beliefs.
There also are numerous beliefs about mirrors and the dead. When a person dies, all the mirrors in a house should be turned over, for if a corpse sees itself in a mirror, the soul of the dead will have no rest or will become a vampire. Corpses seeing themselves in mirrors also will draw bad luck upon the household. Such beliefs hark back to days when the corpses were laid out in homes, and people believed that souls lingered about the body until burial.
Another folk belief holds that if a person sees his or her own reflection in a room where someone has died, it is a death omen. Mirrors also should be covered in sick rooms in the folk belief that the soul is weakened and more vulnerable to possession during illness.
Mirrors in Problem Hauntings
If a home is plagued with unpleasant spirit activity, investigators, including lay Demonologists, may recommend the removal or covering of mirrors. In bedrooms, mirrors should never be placed at the foot of a bed or at the head of a bed. It is considered a negative influence for a person to be able to see himself or herself from any angle in a mirror while in bed. Mirrors should never reflect into each other; this creates unstable psychic space. A folk remedy calls for positioning a mirror so that it faces outward toward a door or window. The reasoning goes that a spirit who looks in a window or attempts to cross a door threshold will see its own reflection and be scared away. Mirrors can be closed as portals by rubbing the edges of them or washing the surfaces in holy water.
One of the cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren involved a conjuring mirror, which the Warrens said invited Demonic trouble into the life of the user. Oliver B., a 45-year-old man of New Jersey, purchased a mirror in an ornate frame for the purpose of casting spells and Curses on others. First, Oliver learned to see images clearly in the mirror by spending long periods gazing into the mirror with intense concentration. After months of practice, he could state whatever he wanted to see, and the image would appear. He learned how to see future situations for himself. Then, he began conjuring images of people he did not like or who had wronged him. He projected an image of a person into the future and willed something bad to happen, with the help of Demons he summoned. The scene played out in the mirror, and then it came to pass in physical reality. Eventually, Oliver’s magic backfired on him. The misfortunes he conjured for others began happening to him. In addition, Demons invaded his home and created unpleasant disturbances, such as footsteps, heavy breathing, doors opening by themselves, Levitations of objects, and unearthly howlings in the night. After a week of terrifying phenomena, Oliver contacted the Catholic Church and was referred to the Warrens, who investigated. Ed Warren undid the ritual that Oliver had done repeatedly by performing it backward. This stopped the Demonic Oppression, Warren said, and nullified the mirror magic spells. Oliver gave the Warrens the mirror to be placed in their museum of Possessed Possessions.
- Brittle, Gerald Daniel. The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1980.
- Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. “Mirrors: Do You Know What’s Looking Back at You?” TAPS Paramagazine, September 2007, 12–13.