Blair Witch

Burkittsville is a small Maryland town located in Frederick County, founded on the original Blair site in 1824. It was home to the legend of the Blair Witch. In 2000, it had an estimated population of 200.

The local newspaper in 1825 was the Burkittsville Bulletin. By 1941 the local newspaper was the Burkittsville Register.


Le projet blair burkittsville

"Welcome to Burkittsville" sign.

Burkittsville was located in western Maryland, approximately one hour from Washington D.C. The shallow Tappy East Creek ran on the east boundary of town and a railroad ran by to the north. When the town was founded, it encompassed three thousand acres.



During construction of a railway through western Maryland in 1823, one of the railway workers went for a ride on his horse and got lost. He eventually stumbled onto an old road that led into what had once been Blair. Peter Branwell Burkitt, a friend of the man was contacted and convinced to survey the land.[1] The area was developed and named Burkittsville in 1824.[1] Settlers quickly moved into the area, particularly German immigrants, who were mostly Lutheran in religion.

The Blair Witch[]

For centuries, Burkittsville has been home to the enduring legend of the Blair Witch. Whenever terrible things happen in the community, there is a tendency to blame the Blair Witch.

At the first annual Wheat Harvest Picnic in 1825, ten-year-old Eileen Treacle was seen being pulled into Tappy East Creek by a ghostly white hand reaching out of the water. Her body was never found, and afterwards the creek became contaminated with oily bundles of sticks for thirteen days.[1]

In 1886, eight-year-old Robin Weaver went missing after having allegedly followed a woman "whose feet didn't touch the ground" into a house in the woods. A search party was dispatched, but while Robin later returned, the search party did not. A second search party found the group ritualistically murdered and disemboweled at Coffin Rock. When they returned to the site with help, the bodies had vanished without a trace.[1]

Rustin Parr Murders[]

Beginning on November 13, 1940, seven children from Burkittsville were abducted. The missing children created panic in the town until on May 25, 1941, when local hermit Rustin Parr confessed to the public of murdering the children. The police discovered the bodies of the missing children at Parr's house in the Black Hills Forest. Parr was tried in court on July 17 in which he fully confessed his crimes and was subsequently sentenced to death by hanging on November 22.[1]

1994 Disappearances[]

On October 20, 1994, Montgomery College students Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams arrived in Burkittsville to interview locals about the legend of the Blair Witch for a class project. They hiked into the Black Hills Forest looking for Coffin Rock and were never seen again. On October 26, the Maryland State Police launched an intensive 33,000 hours search for the missing students that lasted for ten days and includes up to one hundred men aided by dogs, helicopters, and even a fly over by a U.S. Department of Defense satellite.[1] The search was called off on November 4 and the missing person case was soon declared inactive and unsolved.[1]

On October 16, 1995, students from the University of Maryland's Anthropology Department discovered a duffle bag containing film cans, DAT tapes, video cassettes, a Hi8 camera, Heather Donahue's journal and a CP-16 film camera buried under the foundation of a 100-year-old cabin. Sheriff Ron Cravens examined the evidence and announced that the footage was the property of Heather Donahue and her crew.[1]

On March 1, 1997, the investigation into the disappearances were once again closed. Frederick County officials declared that the found footage was inconclusive, with the case being declared inactive.[1] The footage were turned over to the missing persons' families.[1]


The following people are known to have lived in Burkittsville. The parentheses indicate the year(s) they are known to have lived there.



  • A few scenes from The Blair Witch Project was filmed in the real-life Burkittsville. Some of the townspeople interviewed in the film were not actors, and some were planted actors, unknown to the main cast.[2] The majority of the movie was filmed in Maryland's Seneca Creek State Park.[3] The locations from the movie (Coffin Rock, the Black Hills, Black Rock Road, and the local convenience store) were actually located in Germantown, Maryland.[4]
  • Since the release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, Burkittsville attracted uninvited attention of tourists and fans of the movie. Some residents, including the town's mayor Joyce Brown, detested the depiction of Burkittsville's association with the movie.[4] Others, however, had capitalized on the town's popularity.[4] Some visitors had trespassed on residents' private property, videotaped people against their wishes, and caused minor property damage, including a pentagram graffitied on the side of the town's church.[4]
  • Burkittsville's town welcome sign that appeared briefly in the film was repeatedly stolen. As a result the sign was radically redesigned.[5] Artisan Entertainment paid $1,143 to replace the signs welded with metal poles.[6][4] When Blair Witch was released in 2016, the town pre-emptively took down its welcome signs and blocked off alleys to deter tourists.[7]
  • The synopsis in the back of the packaging for Blair Witch Volume 2: The Legend of Coffin Rock refers to Burkittsville as 'Burkettesville'.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Timeline retrieved from the official Blair Witch website
  2. Rock, Ben (August 22, 2016). "The Making of The Blair Witch Project Part 4: Charge of the Twig Brigade". Dread Central.
  3. Hoad, Phil (21 May 2018). "How we made The Blair Witch Project". The Guardian.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Gonzales, Dave (19 Sept 2016). "How a Small Maryland Town Survived the Blair Witch". Thrillist.
  5. Englar, Brian (15 June 2010). "Council passes budget, decides to sell sign made famous by 'Blair Witch' movie". The Frederick News-Post
  6. Gardner, Karen (27 May 2008). "Burkittsville resident designs new welcome signs for village". The Frederick News-Post
  7. Persley, Mike (19 Aug 2016). "Burkittsville prepares for new 'Blair Witch' film". The Frederick News-Post.