The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 movie based on a Bell Witch style mythos invented by the film’s director/writers Dan Myrick and Ed Sanchez. To make their movie, which was shot in pseudo-documentary style, seem more real and thus scarier, Myrick and Sanchez created a legendary figure called the “Blair Witch.” They even crafted an elaborate history to surround the Witch. They then gave this invented legend to some hired actors, set them loose in the woods with a minimal supply of food, and filmed the actors (who ad-libbed all their lines) as they reacted to scary surprises set up by the two directors. The result is a quite frightening, and quite fictional film.

As word of the movie and its mythos spread, however, many people began to believe that the Blair Witch was a real legend and that the film footage was an actual documentary shot by students doing a real project. This is not the case. The actors starring in The Blair Witch Project are alive and well. There is not and never has been a Blair Witch legend in or around Burkittsville, Maryland. A town called Blair has never existed in that spot.

This is an interesting urban legend because it unfolded before our very eyes. It was both frustrating and amusing to watch it happen. There is no doubt that the popularity of the Bell Witch legend (see FAQ 3.3) has contributed to the spread of the Blair Witch story. It is probable that the two mythologies will become intertwined in the future; indeed, some believers have already concluded that the Blair and Bell witches are “related.”

A SPECIAL NOTE: I have been contacted by several people who live in and around the town of Burkittsville, Maryland. For pity’s sake, PLEASE don’t go milling aimlessly around the town, as there is nothing to see there! And if you really can’t stop yourself from visiting, please refrain from vandalism, littering, and other unsavory activities. The people of Burkittsville would REALLY appreciate it!

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