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How Midnight Mass Copies Haunting Of Bly Manor's Mirror Ghost

While only one ghost appears in Midnight Mass, it cleverly copies the significant Mirror Ghost from Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor. After having wide success on Netflix through his terrifying ghost story series The Haunting of Hill House and its standalone sequel Bly Manor, Flanagan returned to television with a new horror show about the intersection of vampires and religious fanaticism. With the exception of one ghost that perpetually haunts Riley Flynn, Midnight Mass’s horrors focus far more on the terrors of humanity and shadows that haunt one’s conscience with guilt.

Mike Flanagan is known for including Easter eggs for his past (or future) projects in his other work, such as including the loosely inspirational novel for Midnight Mass in Hush and Gerald’s Game. Another clear example from Midnight Mass was the slow zoom-in of an old picture to reveal the past of a current character, which is an homage to The Shining’s slow zoom of Jack’s picture at the Overlook - the film that Flanagan adapted the controversial sequel to with Doctor Sleep. With The Haunting of Bly Manor being Flanagan’s most recent project and Netflix series, it’s no surprise he connected it to Midnight Mass through the shared significance and appearance of two clearly similar ghosts.

Related: Where To Spot Carla Gugino's Midnight Mass Cameo

Introduced early in Midnight Mass’s first episode, Riley Flynn is haunted by the ghost of Tara-Beth, a young girl who he killed in a drunk driving accident. While in prison and even after his release, Riley continues to see the ghost of Tara-Beth as he lays down at night or as he attempts to relieve his guilt. Riley pictures her just as she was when he saw her lying dead on the road, with glass shards on her face reflecting the lights of police cars. This clearly repeats the recurring Mirror Ghost from Bly Manor that haunts Dani Clayton - her fiancé, Edmund, who stands behind her in mirrors where his glasses perpetually reflect the headlights of the car that struck and killed him. In both instances, the ghosts follow Dani and Riley no matter where they are due to being reflections of their intense guilt for their deaths - whether they are actually to blame or not.

Neither Bly Manor’s Mirror Ghost nor Midnight Mass’s ghost is actually paranormal, they’re subconscious projections by Dani and Riley that symbolize the guilt that continues to haunt them. The clear difference between Dani and Riley’s ghosts is how each character deals with their presence; Dani always covers up the mirrors so as to run away from confronting her guilt in his fiancé’s death, while Riley learns to live with Tara-Beth’s ghost always being there, even asking her how she’s doing one night which proves she’ll always be a part of him. Midnight Mass's main character is plagued with regret and remorse for his actions but learns how to address his guilt and part in her death more head-on through prison and Alcoholics Anonymous. Dani always ran from Edmund’s ghost because she felt responsible for the moment leading to his death, while his ghost also symbolized her guilt over leaving him because of her sexuality.

Another difference between the Mirror Ghost and the girl that haunts Riley is that while both died in tragic car accidents, Dani didn’t actually kill Edmund, while Riley did kill Tara-Beth. Dani’s guilt comes from breaking up with Edmund in the car, leading him unsuspectingly to walk out into oncoming traffic and become Dani's personal Bly Manor ghost. Riley was an alcoholic who admitted that he hadn’t even touched the brakes when he hit Tara-Beth’s car, walking away with only a few scratches while the young girl lay dead on the road. Thankfully, both Midnight Mass and The Haunting of Bly Manor’s characters learn to forgive themselves for what happened after being haunted by their guilt for so long, finally ridding themselves of their respective ghosts.

Next: How Midnight Mass' Reviews Compare To Hill House & Bly Manor

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