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Mrs. Kersh (portrayed by Florence Paterson in the IT (1990 miniseries)), and Joan Gregson in It: Chapter Two, also known as Gray Kersh, was a secondary form of It created to scare Beverly Marsh, one of the novel's protagonists into leaving Derry before he was going to kill them all if they stayed.

Background

"Mrs. Kersh" was another "form" or something that Beverly, one of the protagonists in the story, was afraid of. Similar to the mummy, werewolf, and leper, Mrs Kersh  was a face of sorts for It, drawing off something that Beverly was scared of; from her childhood through adult-hood, some she remembered just recently. The face of Mrs. Kersh is from the model on a girlybook she and Ben had seen in neibolt house as kids.[1]

Assuming human form

In 1985, IT assumed the form of a seemingly kindly old woman named Mrs. Kersh. When the Losers returned to Derry, IT's hometown, to kill IT for good when IT had resurfaced, Beverly Marsh, one of the Losers, went off to revisit her old home after arrival. She had been a little disturbed over lunch as IT had put several grisly objects inside fortune cookies as a welcome-home present, but Beverly convinced herself these were hallucinations, and when she knocked on her home door, she asked for Mr. Alvin Marsh, her father, but an old woman, Mrs. Kersh, appeared instead. Mrs. Kersh told her that Alvin Marsh was dead, which confused Beverly, as she was sure the name on the door had said "Marsh" but on second glance she saw that it said "Kersh." Or so she believed. When Mrs. Kersh invited her inside as an apology for such awful news, and offered to make tea, Beverly looked round, and saw the sink where she had heard IT and IT's victims speak to her thirty years ago. She thought the events would happen again once more but Mrs. Kersh called that tea was ready. Beverly was already beginning to have doubts and the tea Mrs. Kersh poured looked thick and muddy. But she thought; it was tea, no worry. Mrs. Kersh talked about local affairs and then slowly began to change. Inspired by Beverly’s childhood fear of the story of Hansel and Gretel , Kersh’s teeth became yellowed and grew into fangs. Her face also began to decay. Her hair began to retreat and her scalp showed through, becoming the witch in the Candy Cottage. Beverly, thinking that the monster wouldn't attack if it thought she hadn't recognized its demonic form, if it thought that she still believed the ruse, said politely that she had to leave, and then suddenly realized it wasn't tea inside her cup at all, but excrement from the sewers of Derry, and almost fainted upon realizing she had “drunk” a sip of it, and then regained enough wits to know that Mrs. Kersh was immediately attacking, however Beverly got away and saw the entire house had turned into a boarded-up abandoned building, and the name on the door had indeed still said, “Marsh.” Mrs. Kersh then adopted the voice of her father, another great fear of Beverly’s since childhood, and admitted that Beverly's father secretly wanted to rape Beverly and told her that nobody who died in Derry really died. Beverly slammed the door on Mrs. Kersh and escaped, but Pennywise was outside, laughing at her hysterically, much to Beverly's dismay. Beverly, distracted by Pennywise's evil laughter, almost got hit by a delivery truck driving toward her, but she managed to get out of the way in time, only to hear IT's evil laughter again and balloons flying around her as she looked on.

In the novel, Beverly fought him off by saying that the grackles knew his real name, which confused IT, and bought her time to escape.

2016

Mrs. Kersh's first appearance is similar to that in the book, though the facade of a kind old woman slips away quicker. She invites Beverly to look around while she starts tea and gets cookies out, and this is when Beverly removes the baseboard in her sewing room to find her tokens: the key necklace from It: Chapter One (2017 film), a box of cigarettes, and Ben's letter to her. Mrs. Kersh serves her tea, and while not directly addressed, Beverly's reaction to it implies it is similar to the book. Mrs. Kersh fans her own shirt open showing scars and complaining about the heat. She returns to the kitchen, and Beverly sees a photo of a young girl and Bob Grey next to the Pennywise the Dancing Clown circus cart seen in the sewers in Chapter One. By this time Mrs Kersh is seen in the darkness of the kitchen as fully nude. She grows in size, and her skin greys as she attempts to run after Beverly. The lovely apartment reverts back to a dingy uncared for building and as Beverly reaches the locked door she turns around to see Bob Grey applying whitemakeup, and he tears the iconic Pennywise redlines into his own face as he threatens her. Beverly escapes the building to see it is in complete disrepair.

Mrs. Kersh, the tall grey version, is seen again before they enter the door to Pennywise's lair, grabbing Beverly and saying "Time to sink!" before pulling her under the water. It is not seen what happens as all the remaining Losers save for Eddie dive in after her, but they shortly resurface. She is also one of the faces trying to get into the bathroom when Ben and Beverly are separated after the Ritual of Chüd begins.

Trivia

  • Stephen King named Mrs. Kersh after Irvin Kershner, the director of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

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Miniseries

Movie

Notes

  1. chapter 18, section 8
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