The Blair Witch was a legend in Burkittsville, Maryland. Several mysterious events over the course of centuries became blamed on an exiled woman named Elly Kedward, who was said to have practiced witchcraft.
Elly Kedward Edit
In the winter of 1785, Elly Kedward was banished from the town of Blair after several local children accused her of performing witchcraft. She was presumed dead from exposure, but the next year, all of her accusers and half the town's children vanished without a trace. The townspeople immediately feared that a curse had been born. They awaited until the weather broke in 1786, and then they fled Blair, vowing never to utter the name "Elly Kedward" again.
The Blair Witch Cult Edit
The Blair Witch Cult was a book that was privately printed and published anonymously by Josiah Burke in 1809. Commonly considered fiction, the rare book told of the trial of Elly Kedward, her execution and supposed “rebirth,” as well as the curse on the entire town. It contained the first recorded use of the term “Blair Witch.”
Eileen Treacle Edit
In 1825, a year after the town was rediscovered and founded as Burkittsville, the villagers held the first annual Wheat Harvest Picnic. During the picnic, ten-year-old Eileen Treacle wandered off towards Tappy East Creek and drowned. Eleven eye-witnesses claimed to have seen a ghostly white hand reach up and pull her into the shallow water. Her body was never found, and for thirteen days afterward, the creek became contaminated with oily bundles of sticks, rendering the water useless.
Townspeople noted the possible supernatural characteristics of the Treacle disappearance and were quick to blame the death on the Blair Witch.
Robin Weaver Edit
In 1886, eight-year-old Robin Weaver was in the forest around Blair (which had been rediscovered and renamed Burkittsville) when she got lost and met an old woman, whose feet, according to Robin, "did not touch the ground." She was initially frightened, but then she came to trust the old woman, who acted in a seemingly generous manner, and she followed the old woman deep into the wood to an old, abandoned house, which she entered. Robin followed the woman and entered the house, and followed the woman down to a basement down in the bowels of the house. The old woman said she would depart, and left promising to return. Hours passed, as Robin sat in the basement, which slowly grew darker as afternoon faded into evening. Robin grew more and more frightened: she had been feeling a growing feeling of evil ever since she stepped into the basement. As she pictured herself all alone in the woods, which were becoming swamped in the darkness of the evening, Robin stood up and found a window in the basement, through which she squeezed herself and then ran through the darkening woods, and out of the woods completely, racing back to Burkittsville, to which she returned safely, although from then after she avoided the woods, claiming to feel an evil presence about the Burkittsville forest.
While Robin had been in the basement, however, she hadn't been missed. Her grandmother had become anxious about her and she had alerted the authorities. The Burkittsville Police sent a search party up into the woods to rescue her at the same time Robin was led into the cellar by the old woman she had met in the woods. The Police arrived in the woods, and began looking for Robin, but when they arrived at Coffin Rock, the evil spirit of Elly Kedward, the Blair Witch, assailed the search party, having just left Robin in the house in order to seek out the search party. The search party were soon slaughtered by Elly Kedward, who disembowelled them and left their corpses on Coffin Rock, then returned to the house, supposedly to kill Robin. However, she discovered the empty house and realized that Robin had fled. Infuriated, Elly Kedward took the corpses of the search party, and dragged them off into the forest, all in a matter of two hours, but not before another search party had witnessed the corpses and knew of an evil force in the Burkittsville woods.
Massacre of the Burkittsville Seven Edit
In late 1940, a hermit named Rustin Parr began abducting children from Burkittsville, having been previously ordered by the evil spirit of Elly Kedward to walk into Burkittsville and take the first group of children he found. He accomplished this by promising candy to the children. As Rustin was already being driven mad by the spirit of Elly stumbling about the woods at night and chanting foreign phrases in his sleep, this was an easy task for him to accomplish. He took the children back to his secluded house and brutally disembowelled them, just as Elly Kedward had done with the search party. Rustin hid this secret for two days, until Elly Kedward reappeared to him in his dream and proclaimed "Peace shall come to thee, if thee reveal thy actions." Rustin followed out this order and he walked into town, claiming "I'm finally finished." Initially no-one knew what he meant, but the Police ventured into the woods, seeking his abode, and found the seven corpses of the children in the cellar. They removed them, taking them into Burkittsville, and this revelation tore up the community. The citizens of Burkittsville proclaimed Rustin Parr guilty as charged, and desired to have him executed. Parr did not deny anything - he confessed to the last degree, informing the authorities of Burkittsville that he was merely doing what an old woman dressed in black had told him to do. Parr was convicted and the authorities executed him by hanging in 1941.
A segment on the Blair Witch was included in a documentary, possibly on the Discovery Channel, about ghosts and legends of Maryland.
In 1994, Montgomery College students Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams went into the Black Hills Forest to film a school project about the legend entitled "The Blair Witch Project", and never returned. Their documentary footage was found a year later, within the foundation of an old house. After a police investigation turned up no further information, the footage was turned over to the families of the students. Angie Donahue gave the footage to Haxan Films to edit into a feature film, which was released theatrically in 1999 and became a national phenomenon.
Blair Witch Edit
About 20 years later, Heather's younger brother, James Donahue discovered recent evidence that his sister was still alive. With his own group of friends, they filmed their subsequent experiences in the Black Hills Forest. Four of them were killed by physical means. But the ultimate fate of James is unknown, as his friend Lisa only recorded him vanishing from sight before she suffered the same fate.