THE “REAL” BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

4 Urban Legends That Could Have Inspired the Blair Witch

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The Bell Witch

With just days to go until the tardy sequel to The Blair Witch Project, we’re already putting on our Halloween pants and getting excited for the spookiest season of the year. With tons of 2016 horror movies still on the horizon, what better way to get ahead of the scary months to come than with a more traditional form of storytelling? That’s right, we’re talking myths and legends. To prepare for the return of the Blair Witch, we’ve uncovered some creepy lore about supposed witches who have made their cursed mark on history. Bear in mind, these stories are hardly fact, but that doesn’t make them any less chilling.

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According to the official website for the Bell Witch, a malevolent entity attacked a pioneer family, the Bells, in Tennessee between 1817 and 1821. Here are the basics of what happened:

In the early 1800s, the Bell family moved to Tennessee. One day in 1817, John Bell, the patriarch of the Bell family, came across a terrifying creature in his cornfield. Unsettled by the strange animal, which was said to have “the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit,” he fired at it, causing it to vanish immediately.The Bell children began to complain of nighttime terrors; they heard rats gnawing at their bedposts, and their bedcovers were frequently yanked from their bodies.The entity would often speak in a whispering voice but grew over time to a loud, booming noise. It began to antagonize the youngest Bell daughter, Betsy, with slaps and hair pulling. She would often have welts and handprints after an encounter.After John Bell’s death, the entity’s presence was practically nonexistent, but the tales of its haunting lived on.

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Moll Dyer

Leave it to a site called Witchcraft and Witches to tell us the horrifying legend of Moll Dyer. When you consider how Moll lived in Maryland (just like the Blair Witch), it’s not hard to see how her story might have provided the bare bones for the legend in the iconic horror film. What’s more, the details of her death and haunting seem to share a commonality or two with the Blair Witch. Here are the highlights:

Moll Dyer lived in Maryland in the 17th century. There are supposedly no historic records of her existence, so her tale has mostly been passed down as an oral story, told generation after generation.According to legend, the Winter of 1697 was brutal, with a scarcity of food. Many residents died. After a vicious illness killed many members of the town, a small vigilante group sought to bring Dyer to justice.The townspeople allegedly set fire to Dyer’s cottage, causing her to flee and run into the woods. She froze to death and was discovered some days later. Before dying, it’s said she laid her hand on a rock and cursed the town.Remember how the Blair Witch had a cursed rock associated with her? This could be the origin of part of her lore, especially because she, too, is said to haunt the local woods outside Burkittsville!So Let's Begin Shall We...

 

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