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The Blair Witch (real name: Elly Kedward) is the titular main antagonist in the 1999 psychological horror film, The Blair Witch Project, and its mythology.
The Blair Witch was an Irish woman named Elly Kedward, and she came to the United States of America in 1695. She settled in the small village of Blair in Baltimore and became a member of the community. In 1785, some children from the town accused her of luring them to her house to draw blood from them, and she was found guilty of being a witch, and was banished into the surrounding forest, tied to a tree, and left to die of exposure and starvation, it was assumed she died.
But her ghost returned and became the Blair Witch, an evil entity that haunted the forest and surrounding area. The Blair Witch was feared by many, and nobody would go into the Black Hills woods where she was said to live.
Settlers from Washington had found the ruins of Blair, which they renamed Burkittsville, after John Burkitt, the developer, and they built it into a settled town. They built a railway through the surrounding woods of the Black Hills. One day a young girl named Robin Weaver went out and got lost in the Black Hills and she returned three days later, babbling about an old woman whose feet never touched the ground. She had been lured away by the Blair Witch.
Although Robin returned, one of the parties sent to search for her didn't return, and they were later found gutted at the formation known as Coffin Rock and bound together. Pagan symbols were carved on them and they were still alive before being killed.
One day they were having a picnic to celebrate the settlement, and one girl named Eileen Treacle was mysteriously pulled into a shallow creek which was literally an inch deep. She mysteriously drowned and this was the first death to be blamed on the Blair Witch. Witnesses said they had seen a pale female hand pull Treacle into the creek, and it was clogged with oily Wiccan stick figures for days after.
The next incident surround the Blair Witch came in the early 1960s. A gang of hipsters took to living in the Black Hills, creating a menacing, evil cult of hipsters who worshipped Elly Kedward.
Later in the decade, when a local hermit named Rustin Parr came off his long solitude upon the Black Hills and came into town, and said he'd "finished." Parr's house was found to have the bodies of several missing children from the town inside. They bought all the bodies out and Rustin Parr confessed to everything and said that he had been haunted by the evil ghost of an old woman in black which he said was the Blair Witch. Parr was found guilty and hanged, saying the woman was never giving him any rest.
The Blair Witch returned in the 1990s when three students, Heather, Mike and Josh went into the Black Hills to research the Blair Witch legend as a class project. The Witch immediately began to cast illusions so that the teenagers got disorientated and couldn't find the way out of the woods. When Mike threw the map into the creek things got worse. The Witch began to mimic the murdered children from the 1960s in the woods and she left Wiccan stick figures in the woods for them. Finally the Witch came and abducted Josh, proceeding to gut him at night. Hearing his screams, Heather and Mike went to look for him but they are unable to. The next morning the Witch leaves a bundle of sticks outside their tent which Heather found contained gums, teeth, and hair, along the with blood-soaked scraps of Josh's shirt. Late that night, the Witch mimicked Josh's voice to lure Heather and Mike to her. They both search for Josh but found Rustin Parr's house, which had Josh's screams coming from it and the Blair Witch lured Mike and Heather down to the basement then killed them.
The following year the footage was found, and released to the public. It gained something of a following, with many tourists venturing into the woods in hopes to find the truth. One such tour group consisted of Stephen and his pregnant wife, Tristen, who are researching the Blair Witch for a book they are writing; Erica, a Wiccan; Kim, a goth psychic; and Jeff, their local tour guide. That night, they black out following an argument with another tour group, and awake to find their tapes missing, research torn up, and Tristen has had a miscarriage. After Tristen is discharged from the hospital, the group heads to Jeff's house, an old civil war factory, where they experience strange visions and find hours of missing footage from their tapes. Erica eventually dies, but when they call her parents, they claim not to have a daughter. Looking over the lost footage, They play the tapes in reverse to view the lost footage. The new footage shows Tristen leading them in an orgy and the ritualistic murder of the other tour group. Once the video ends, Jeff begins taping Tristen and demands a confession. She asks Stephen for help, but he claims that she deliberately killed their baby, so she ties a rope around her neck and Stephen shoves her from the ledge.
After this, Kim, Stephen and Jeff are interrogated by police in separate rooms and show separate tapes. In Kim's room, they play security footage from the store of her stabbing the cashier in the neck with a nail file. In Jeff's video, he kills Erica, arranges Erica's clothes and stows her dead body in the closet. In Stephen's video, they show him lynching Tristen, accusing her of all the death that surrounds them and cursing her as a witch. All three claim they never did any of those things.
Twenty years later, Heather Donahue's brother James examines the Blair Witch documentary footage his sister and her colleagues made before vanishing. James is convinced they are still alive so he, together with Peter, Ashley and Lisa, together with locals Talia and Lane. Lisa wants to make her own documentary from the quest.
During their first night in the Black Hills, the group talk about the legend of the Blair Witch and how the Witch was once a woman named Elly Kedward, who got banished from Blair in Maryland. Her ghost is said to be so disturbing that if one so much as looks at her, they die of fright.
For some reason (implied to be the Witch's magic) the crew oversleep until next afternoon. They also heard creepy noises in the woods at night. Lane and Talia are banished when they claim they created the Pagan Blair Witch figurines they encountered the previous night.
Ashley becomes ill because of a cut on her foot and Peter goes to get firewood but the Witch chases him and a dark mass swells up in front of him, materializing as the Witch, which drags him to his death. The sadistic Witch mimics Peter's desperate cries which fade as James hears them and investigates.
Soon, Talia and Lane reappear, claiming they were lost for days with no sunrise, which sounds impossible. Lane runs off under stress of the Witch's magic. When they awaken, it is still pitch dark. Disbelieving that the Sun hasn't yet risen, they find larger stick figures around. Ashley berates Talia for creating the figures because of her role in doing such the day before and snaps one in half in anger, causing Talia to be ripped in half by the Blair Witch (the Witch is still unseen). The Witch appears as a tall, white, emaciated ghostly figure that races through the campsite, and separates everybody, and Ashley finds her aerial drone lodged in some trees. She climbs up but the Witch is at the top of the tree. A spectral hand shoots down, knocking Ashley off, who falls apparently to her death, while the Witch drags her offscreen.
James and Lisa find Rustin Parr's house, and James enters. He runs through the house, and ends up in a room where a lightning flash illuminates the Witch herself. Lisa gets too scared to wait outside in the dark woods during an epic thunderstorm, and, screaming, flees inside the house. James and Lisa find Lane, now aged, in the basement, saying he is under the Witch's control, and Lane attacks, but Lisa kills him in self defense by shooting him dead.
The Witch performs her magic on the house which involves light shining in which soon disappears. Then the Witch enters the house through a mirror. She mimics Heather's voice, mockingly apologizing, and kills James, pulling him into darkness. Lisa backs down the deserted corridor, now partially lit by the risen Sun outside, and during a brief glimpse, she gets a sighting of a monstrous, emaciated creature behind her - The Witch has finally been caught on tape. The Witch disappears into the darkness as quickly as she came. Lisa is desperate not to see the Witch once more so she keeps the camera fixated behind her, determined not to see anything supernatural. As Lisa backs down to the door, she leaves a goodbye message, and as she is almost out, she hears the Witch using James' voice, taunting her. She turns round, sees the Witch, and apparently dies of fright.
The Witch has now claimed Heather, her brother James, and Lisa as well.
Appearance and Personality
|“||But you can't understand because you're so afraid... Just like those pathetic children from the Blair village!||„|
|~ The Blair Witch, possessing Tristen, taunts Jeff and his group|
The Blair Witch was a complete monster, gaining strength from other people's suffering and taking pride in their misfortunes. She preferred the dark of the night to the light of day, although, she could use light in her magic, showing she had mastered both dark and light magic. Like many perpetrators, she played the victim card - when she was alive she claimed to be innocent and denounced her execution as wrongful. She may have been so mentally disturbed she actually believed in this. But she was a dark soul, full of rage and hate at every living thing. To her, murder was just a game, and an amusing one at that. She would presumably gain her victim's power by draining their souls. Then she would grow in strength through the centuries.
Being a damned soul she was condemned to remain in Burkittsville's Black Hills forest forever. She was active both at night and in the day, as she could control the very trees and rivers in the forest. Such was her mere reputation that she forced an entire town to shut up their doors and evacuate because of how much the residents feared her.
Physically, as Elly Kedward, the Blair Witch was an old lady when alive, being about sixty when she moved to America. However, her ghost could apparently shape shift. Rustin Parr saw her as just being an old lady in black who would vanish when approached. Mary Brown saw her as being a half naked old lady covered in thick black hair. Heather Donahue barely saw her at all, but she was seen to yell "Oh my God what the fuck is that?" when a hideous apparition ran through the woods. In 2016, the Witch chose to appear as a tall, seven foot high emaciated white figure, with possible hair covering her face - similar to many appearances of evil female spirits. What is possibly the Witch's true form appears in the third film, when James Donahue is in Parr's house and sees an elderly woman wrapped up in 1600s clothing in the end of a corridor.
The Blair Witch is cited to be one of the scariest horror villains ever made - given her film's reaction amongst horror fans and cinema goers. She is said to be so disturbing and horrifying that "people curled up in the foetal position due to fear in their seats" so frightening one presenter said "It scared me to death" and her character has had such an impact on horror fans and cinema goers that she has inspired many references in popular culture, novels and many general witch stories follow the same theme as hers, set in a menacing forest with an eerie presence.
When she needed to act with mortals, the Witch would possess a human who harboured resentment or a want for attention. Such was the cases with Rustin Parr and Tristen, who both became her unwitting vessels. Through Parr, she killed several children, and through Tristen, she commanded her group to viciously kill several German tourists in the forest. When possessing a human, little change appeared except that their lips gave a cruel smirk and their eyes appear distant and cold. Also, possessing a body made electronics malfunction and play backwards, referring to the Pagan technique of Widdershins, or "undoing the evil."
- The Blair Witch is inspired by the real woman Moll Dyer who lived in Leonardstown, USA. She was accused of being a witch.
- Perhaps as a reference to this legend, Joshua's surname is Leonard.
- The Blair Witch is one of the few villains to not gain infamy from her body count, but rather the reputation, fear and horror she inspires from her name alone.