Two decades ago, a strange indie movie came out, telling the tale of three young filmmakers searching for the mysterious Maryland crone. What was found was their raw footage and even more unanswered questions.
It's hard to believe it now, but when it first came out in 1999, people actually wondered if The Blair Witch Project was real. Remember, this was before everyone had Google at their fingertips, and the film's producers crafted an intricate backstory involving unknown actors and a seemingly credible information site. Even in Florida, I recall thinking that I would never, EVER go camping in the Maryland woods.
The movie was supposedly set in the area around Burkittsville, Maryland, and to this day, people still visit for this very reason. Whether they want to hike in the woods or just make a creepy stick-doll, true diehard fans are drawn to this small Maryland town.
Me and a friend celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Blair Witch Project by walking around Burkittsville, MD, with a "Burkittsville windchime" (made from locally sourced sticks, of course). pic.twitter.com/mBDpHr5hhS— J.W. Ocker (@JWOcker) July 15, 2019
In case you're wondering, Thrillist reported that Burkittsville was never actually known as the Blair Township, and there are no historical records of a witch. The biggest issues the residents had came after the film's release, when fans would repeatedly steal the town sign. Officials continue to book additional security for Halloween and events related to the movie, so don't get any ideas!
The sign for Burkittsville at the beginning of The Blair Witch Project has been stolen three times, and it was stolen on the opening night of the movie. The movie had prompted a huge influx of visitors hoping to discover the Blair Witch for themselves. #horror #horrorfamily pic.twitter.com/gtdh5mdP8i— The Blood Shed (@thebloodshedpod) August 10, 2019
If you're in Maryland, you can attend a special screening with members of the cast and crew at Frederick's Weinberg Center for the Arts on October 18. This special event includes a post-film panel session and even a VIP reception beforehand. For more information, or to purchase your tickets online, visit the event website. It's quite a bargain at $15 per person or $50 for the VIP experience.
If you prefer to get the creeps at home, The Blair Witch Project is available to rent online through Amazon Prime. You can also check out the sequel that came out in 2016 (skip the one that came out in 2000). Here's the preview, courtesy of Lionsgate:
Though it may not be the best found-footage movie in the world, The Blair Witch Project certainly put the genre on the map. If you do head up to Burkittsville to pay homage, leave the town sign where it is and don't go in the woods after dark. You've been warned!
How will you be celebrating this landmark anniversary of The Blair Witch Project? Are you watching at home or packing your camping gear? Let us know in the comments!