Legend has it that in Blair, Maryland, there once lived a witch named Elly Kedward. In 1785, several children testified that Elly lured them into her house to siphon blood from them. Kedward was consequently banished from the town amid the intolerable winter. Next year, many village children went missing. Townsfolk attributed their disappearance to Kedward’s curse on their community and moved all at once.
It was not until 1824 when the area of Blair was settled once again. The new town became known as Burkittsville. Barely a year later, a ten-year old girl disappeared. Witnesses said they saw a hand reach out from Tappy East Creek to the girl, who then presumably drowned. Mysteriously, bundles of sticks constricted the flow of the creek for more than a week thereafter.
In 1886, an eight-year old kid vanished and a search-and-rescue operation was initiated. Although the kid returned, many of the searchers did not. They were discovered utterly disemboweled.
From 1940 to 1941, a spate of children’s disappearances rocked the town. Late in 1941, a town recluse admitted to disemboweling the children, seven in all, in his house in the woods. He blamed the ghost of an old woman, who also lived in the forest, for coercing him into the crime.
On Oct. 21, 1994, three student filmmakers from Montgomery College set out into the woods around Burkittsville to investigate the Blair Witch myth. They never came back.
In October 1995, the students’ duffel bag, which carried rolls of film and HI8 video tapes, were discovered underneath a century-old cabin. Burkittsville Sheriff Ron Cravens classified the footage from the films and prevented the families of the missing students from accessing it. The families sued Cravens and other county officials in vain.
In October 1997, the classification of the films expired and they were returned to the families. Angie Donahue, mother of one of the students, entered into a contract with Haxan Films to help analyze the footage. With the permission of the families, Haxan began showing the film to the general public in 1999:
This is all crock of shed, as you may have known. But that doesn’t make the Blair Witch any less of a scary bitch.