A Black or Dark Mirror is a mirror which is not fully reflective and can be used for scrying, spirit contact or can show you your own death. They are popular with some clairvoyants as they mirrors are less expensive than crystal balls.
BACKGROUND, HISTORY AND LORE
Mirrors have many superstitions, legends and stories attached to them, some believe they can trap a soul, some use them for scrying, spell casting or for demonic rituals, or for playing Bloody Mary. Some are reported to be haunted.
Dark mirrors sometimes have concave rather than flat surfaces and are made with the ‘glass from a clock backed with black felt’ or some other dark material behind the glass.
The most well known black mirror is part of The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult run by Dana & Greg Newkirk, a mobile museum in the United States, and is simply called ‘the dark mirror’. The mirror is framed in a ‘gold ornate frame’ and is not reflective but completely black.
The mirror was reportedly donated to Dana and Greg and their museum in Ohio in 2014. The previous owner reported seeing nothing but ‘terrible visions when gazing into the dark reflection’. The woman who donated the mirror told them that her had bought the mirror at a yearly psychic expo in the area of Columbus after developing an interest in dark mirror scrying. She reportedly wanted to use the mirror for ‘psychic purposes’ and to ‘perfect her divination skills’ but apparently did not have any success with this. She continued to use the mirror however growing ‘more and more angered and frustrated’, more ‘distant’ and ‘withdrawn’ and her mood seem to ‘darken’ with each use of the mirror.
“[she] told us that in the weeks that followed the expo, her mother became increasingly distant as she practiced her scrying with the new mirror. When she could manage to get her mother on the phone, her conversations were vacant and full of “gloom and doom”. Eventually, Sarah’s mother confided that no matter how hard she tried, her scrying attempts were less than successful. In fact, she believed that there was something wrong with her mirror.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
The donor decided to step-in and visited her mother’s home and demanded to see the dark mirror herself and discovered that her mother had been keeping it covered with a black veil and kept shut in a closet. When she asked her mother why it was stored like this her mother ‘broke down in tears and replied that it was simply “evil”’. She decided to keep the mirror wrapped in its cloth, stuffed it in a box, and took it home with her.
The donor claimed the mirror gave her ‘the heebie-jeebies’ and had been so negatively affected by ‘what the mirror had done to her mother’ that she wanted to donate the mirror to the museum anonymously but requested to have ‘regular updates’ on the mirror.
“As curious as I was, I’d only taken a peek at the mirror. Why? Because I was scared. Not scared of the mirror’s alleged powers, but scared that it would have no effect, thus ruining my enthusiasm for an interesting artifact with a spooky history. For about a week, the mirror sat on the mantle, no different than any other frame in the house, save for its black veil.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
The dark mirror was placed on display in the museum, covered by a black veil, and Greg Newkirk explained the history of the item and that visitors were welcome to look into, touch and pick up the mirror but at their own risk. One woman, who was visiting on the day the dark mirror first went on display, waved her arms and shouted ‘hell no’ upon hearing this. Others ‘pursed their lips and squinted their eyes while they weighed the pros and cons’. Another woman reportedly ‘wasted no time’ and reached down, ‘ripped’ off the veil and grabbed the mirror.
“She only gazed into the glinting black glass for about thirty seconds before her expression changed from incredulity to horror. She quickly slammed the frame face down on the table, her eyes wide with shock.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
The Newkirk’s also reported that, later in the evening, another woman pressed her palm on the surface of the mirror and the imprint then refused to disappear and she spent the next two hours ‘violently polishing the mirror in an attempt to get the imprint to disappear’. Her palm reportedly only faded when she threatened to ‘smash’ the mirror glass. She also claimed to have seen her own corpse in her reflection as well as ‘other visions she refused to repeat’.
Greg Newkirk wrote that when they brought the mirror home it ‘wasn’t quite the same’ or that it was perhaps him who wasn’t the same.
“After we had unpacked our collection and returned the items to their usual places, I began to notice myself staring “off into space”, and when snapped back to awareness, realizing that I’d been staring at the covered mirror the whole time. I’d started to feel a strong urge to gaze into black glass. Maybe I was just subconsciously weirded out by the disturbing reports of those who’d gazed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the mirror wanted me to use it. Whether it was own mind playing tricks on me or not, I resisted.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
While some visitors to the museum have only seen their reflection others have reportedly seen terrifying and graphic images in the mirror and some have even dropped the mirror in shock and it is now as a result kept covered with a cloth unless on display in the museum. The museum proprietors have even placed a warning sign over the mirror. Visitors who case into the mirror most commonly report seeing their ‘own corpse staring back through the reflection’.
“The mirror appears to act as a window into the fears of the gazer, while simultaneously using the gazer as an energy source.”https://www.ghastlygrinning.com/archive/2018/1/10/based-on-a-true-story-oculus-and-the-dark-mirror (Kayleen Rogers, 2018)
One visitor to the travelling museum saw the covered mirror and decided to uncover it to take a look. She reportedly started at the mirror for a while as one of the proprietors, Greg, watched as ‘her expression changed from questioning to surprise, and then to terror’. When asked the visitor stated that ‘I saw my decomposing corpse looking back at me. That’s a dark mirror. I should not have done that. I need to go say a prayer, excuse me’ and then ‘wandered off quietly’.
“Although some visitors of the museum see nothing when looking into the dark mirror, many people have reported seeing their own dead corpses staring back at them, or seeing “tall people” standing behind them. Some people begin to feel dread and terror for unknown reasons, some get dizzying headaches, and some even begin to taste blood filling up their mouths.”https://www.ghastlygrinning.com/archive/2018/1/10/based-on-a-true-story-oculus-and-the-dark-mirror (Kayleen Rogers, 2018)
Visitors to the travelling paranormal museum have also reported seeing themselves ‘age, wink, smile and even disappear during scrying sessions’ as well as ‘strange visions’ ‘warping faces’ and a ‘general sense of dread’ from the mirror.
On one occasion, when the museum was visited the famously haunted Pennhurst Asylum in Pennsylvania as part of an event including a paranormal investigation, the mirror ‘once again became the centrepiece for weirdness’. Before the doors were opened to visitors from the public some of the property caretakers (the Pennhurst Paranormal Association) were checking out the museum’s exhibits when one woman, who ‘referred to herself as the group sceptic’, picked up the mirror. She claimed to have seen ‘her mouth whisper to her’, and all who watched her look into the mirror had seen that her mouth had never moved.
Later, when the museum was open to visitors from the public, the reports from those who looked into the mirror were reportedly ‘twice as creepy as before, if not more so’. Several people reported the feeling of ‘electricity coursing from the mirror’s frame as they held it’, some even had sore arms after holding the mirror and some complained of headaches. One woman described ‘the feeling, and taste, of her mouth filling with blood’. Another man claimed to have seen a copy of himself peer around his shoulder before walking away after which he was seen to ‘stagger backwards and nearly drop the piece, yelling a string of profanities the whole time’.
Reportedly when the guests began their paranormal investigation with the guides, one the organizers took the mirror to one of the asylums ‘quiet rooms’ by herself. When she returned ‘eyes wide’ she claimed to have seen ‘people who weren’t there mill around the empty room’. Greg Newkirk recounted that when they returned home from the event:
“I placed the Dark Mirror back on its usual shelf and collapsed from exhaustion after an eight hour drive. When I woke up, I noticed that both of our cats were sitting in the chair at the far end the living room, doing that hilarious head-bobble thing they do when they see a squirrel out the window. That’s when I realized that not only do they never sit in the same chair at once, but that they weren’t looking out the window at all. They were looking at the mirror… and it was uncovered, its veil lying on the floor. – As I picked the frame up and went to cover it, the cats scattered and and ran into the next room. In fact, the cats would go nowhere near the mirror, even going into hiding when presented with it.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
Newkirk claimed that this continued for several days, they would cover the mirror and in the morning they would wake up to find that the veil was removed. They set up a motion-activated camera in the room and kept it pointed at the dark mirror for a week. They found that the mirror was uncovered on three out of those seven mornings after going to sleep with the mirror covered with the veil but when they checked the memory card of the camera it was empty on each occasion the mirror had been uncovered in the night. Greg reported that when he checked the SD card he found that it had been corrupted and that any attempts to format the card failed ‘creating a status bar that keeps growing to infinity’.
The mirror was also displayed at the Ohio State Reformatory during an annual lockdown during which at least three people reported seeing a ‘black mass’ hover near their left shoulder and several others reported seeing themselves age 40 years. Greg Newkirk also told of how when he was invited to be a guest on Paramania Radio, and sit down for a live interview, one of the hosts handed him the mirror. One of the hosts was persuaded to look into the mirror and reportedly exclaimed ‘holy shit’ and claimed to have watched his face ‘distort as a twisted grin spread across his face’. The radio host covered the mirror and refused to look into it again. The broadcast can be heard here, the section with the dark mirror starts around 1:28.25).
“It seems that that Dark Mirror is a bad influence. Not just on the people who dare to gaze into it, but on the objects that it’s displayed with. Suddenly and for the first time, many of the objects that were presented to us as haunted are starting actually act that way; the Haunted Painting as finally tossed itself from a wall, the creepy doll named Ruby has mysteriously disappeared, and while neither of us have seen it, we’re pretty sure we’ve heard the charred Ouija planchette sliding around in its glass display case late at night.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
Greg Newkirk wrote that their belief isn’t that the dark mirror is haunted but that it is ‘an object that seems to feed on human interaction, even fear’ and that it began as an ‘object with an intriguing story behind it’ but became affected by all the attention it received as it was ‘fed’ a ‘steady stream of freaked out experiencers in haunted locations across the country’. The Newkirk’s observed that ‘many items which never showed any kind of activity started to exhibit anomalous behavior’ and ‘objects that were allegedly haunted started to actually act haunted for the first time’. Their theory is that the mirror acts a sort of paranormal ‘battery’.
“After each event, the phenomena that the mirror exhibits gets a little harder to ignore, leading me to believe that by allowing the brave and the curious gaze into the mirror, not to mention doing so in some of the world’s most haunted places, we’re “charging it”. In turn, it seems like the “juice” gets used not just by the Dark Mirror, but by other objects as well.”http://weekinweird.com/2015/08/17/the-dark-mirror-haunted-object/ (Greg Newkirk, 2015)
The Newkirk’s now reportedly keep the mirror locked in a chest and wrapped in a sheet with a rosary placed with it and the rest of the items in their museum have returned to normal without the apparent influence of the mirror over them. They also advise that ‘The Dark Mirror is best used in the museum’s psychomanteum, where distractions are minimal’.
Another notable dark mirror is the mirror of Cecil Williamson, a Neo-Pagan witch and folklorist. The mirror is kept in Boscastle and estimates at it’s age place it from the 1820’s or 1830’s. When Boscastle flooded in 2004 the water reportedly smashed nearly all the cases and the case containing the mirror was one of the few that escaped with only ‘superficial water damage to the frame’ despite being completely submerged and , but even so, the mirror was completely submerged.
THEORIES AND EXPLANATIONS
Multiple cultures throughout history have believed that mirrors have the power to capture a soul or other energy and some have believed that mirrors could act as a portal to the spiritual realm and could be used to trap evil spirits. Serbo-Croatian cultures would reportedly bury their dead with a mirror to trap the soul of the deceased and prevent it from wandering the Earth for the rest of eternity, presumably also the prevent hauntings.
Additionally some research into ‘green energy’ has looked into the use of mirrors to trap and contain sunlight and in 2011 a team of physicists claimed that they were able to ‘use mirrors to turn virtual photons into real photons’. They were reportedly able to ‘take a reflection and pull it from the mirror and into reality.
“According to theory, a mirror can absorb energy from virtual photons onto its surface and then re-emit that energy as real photons. The effect only works when the mirror is moving through a vacuum at nearly the speed of light — which is almost impossible for everyday mechanical devices.”https://www.nature.com/news/2011/110603/full/news.2011.346.html (Geoff Brumfiel, 2011)
One study, which was published in Perceptions in 2010, was conducted by Dr. Caputo of the University of Urbino on the effects of subjects staring into a mirror in a dark room for an extended period of time. Participants in the study were asked to stare into a mirror in dimly lit room for ten minutes and 66% reportedly experienced ‘huge deformations of their own face’, 28% saw ‘an unknown person’ and 48% saw ‘fantastical and monstrous beings’.
“These surprising results beg the question- how can staring into a mirror possibly cause our faces to shape shift into unknown and potentially terrifying deformations? The answer lies in our brain’s penchant for selective processing. In simple terms, our brains can only handle so much information at a time.”https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/making-sense-chaos/201408/monsters-in-the-mirror-no-really-literal-monsters%3Famp (Maclen Stanley, 2014)
Humans tune out most of the stimuli we experience simply because our brains cannot process every single piece of stimulation we experience, such as our breathing, the feeling of clothes and jewellery on our skin, every small sound or voice that reaches our ears and every tiny detail we can see. Our brains will only not tune out what it considers to be a relevant stimulus, or the details that we are not focusing on. This is named the Troxler Effect.
“Should one elect to gaze at a mirror, into their own eyes, for a significant period of time, it is possible that other areas of their face might begin to dissipate and blend into the mirror. Your face can suddenly look terrifying when, for example, your forehead starts to fade away or your cheeks morph into one large, brooding mouth. In time, your entire face can become distorted and transformed into this terrifyingly mangled monstrosity. Worse, our brains like to fill in things that they cannot recognize with things that they can recognize- never mind if those things are scary. Your incomprensibly distorted face might morph into a monster you had once seen on television, locked deep within the synaptic catacombs of memory.”https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/making-sense-chaos/201408/monsters-in-the-mirror-no-really-literal-monsters%3Famp (Maclen Stanley, 2014)
If you want to trigger this effect by looking into a mirror, and try to see these sorts of illusions, you should sit in a dimly lit room and stare into a mirror for several. Different people may need to stare for less or more time to experience these effects, and different people will see different distortions and illusions. .A bulb of 25w is recommended as a dim light source for this experiment and should be placed behind you as you are facing the mirror, which is recommended to be about 40 cm in front of you. Some may see distortions in their reflection after only a minutes of staring in these conditions.
Following an experiment, involving fifty subjects, into this phenomena the following was described in the published article in scientific journals:
“At the end of a 10 min session of mirror gazing, the participant was asked to write what he or she saw in the mirror. The descriptions differed greatly across individuals and included: (a) huge deformations of one’s own face (reported by 66% of the fifty participants); (b) a parent’s face with traits changed (18%), of whom 8% were still alive and 10% were deceased; (c) an unknown person (28%); (d) an archetypal face, such as that of an old woman, a child, or a portrait of an ancestor (28%); (e) an animal face such as that of a cat, pig, or lion (18%); (f ) fantastical and monstrous beings (48%).”https://mindhacks.com/2010/09/18/the-strange-face-in-the-mirror-illusion/ (Mind Hacks, 2010)
This also suggested that the distortions people saw were caused by ‘a combination of basic visual distortions affecting the face-specific interpretation system’ and explained that the ‘visual system’ beings to adapt after receiving the same information for an extended period of time. We also have a system which ‘interprets faces very easily’ which is why people often perceive faces and facial features in clouds or random markings and stains. The study pointed out that have a ‘specialised face detection system to allow us to recognise individuals’ and suggested that the distortions may be caused by ‘low level fluctuations in the stability of edges, shading and outlines affecting the perceived definition of the face, which gets over-interpreted as someone else by the face recognition system’.
“The participants reported that apparition of new faces in the mirror caused sensations of otherness when the new face appeared to be that of another, unknown person or strange `other’ looking at him/her from within or beyond the mirror. All fifty participants experienced some form of this dissociative identity effect, at least for some apparition of strange faces and often reported strong emotional responses in these instances. For example, some observers felt that the `other’ watched them with an enigmatic expression – situation that they found astonishing. Some participants saw a malign expression on the ‘other’ face and became anxious. Other participants felt that the `other’ was smiling or cheerful, and experienced positive emotions in response. The apparition of deceased parents or of archetypal portraits produced feelings of silent query. Apparition of monstrous beings produced fear or disturbance. Dynamic deformations of new faces (like pulsations or shrinking, smiling or grinding) produced an overall sense of inquietude for things out of control.”https://mindhacks.com/2010/09/18/the-strange-face-in-the-mirror-illusion/ (Mind Hacks, 2010)
Another theory for explaining the activity surrounding the dark mirror in The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult is that it could have been used in ‘some sort of dark magic spell work, which has lured a negative energy into it’ or that it could have been used in ‘psychic practices to see or communicate with the dead’ thereby opening a ‘gateway for a negative presence to come through’.
ALSO KNOWN AS
- Dark Mirror
- Scrying Mirror
- Keep It Weird Episode 6 – https://keepitweird.libsyn.com/episode-6-bloody-sophie-bloody-sophie-bloody-sophie