|By Clyde Lewis
When I first heard of the Blair Witch Project I was introduced to the Legend of the Blair Witch. Mixed somewhere between reality and fiction the lines became blurry. It goes to show you that the mind can generate demons, and monsters. When the hint of helplessness sets in, it is possible to become paranoid and irrational. The Blair witch project demonstrates in a small way the human flaw of overreacting. The Blair Witch Project is more of a classic than most people realize.
The smoke was heavy at the Ross Island "Cake and Steak." Fogerty was on the Jukebox, and the aroma of bacon mixed with tobacco wrapped itself around my face as I stared at the swirl of cream in my nuclear hot brew. There are many out of the way places here in what I now call the bubble. Places where trailer trash queens and late night partiers come to clean up their beer stained heads. I Look around and like a dark angel in "Wings of desire" I try to imagine what everyone is thinking. From the toothless old guy who snaps his tongue every time a short skirted bleach blonde walks by to the big bearded Paul Bunyan type who has just finished his second short stack.
It's just a calm and reflective Moment before the monsters came.
Suddenly a bright light flashes overhead. The television flashes snow and then goes dark. A herring bone image appears on the set and a distorted picture returns with a special Northwest News Update. I take a gulp of my hot coffee blistering the roof of my mouth, and feeling the burn go slowly down my chest to my already nervous stomach. A tremor was felt in Vancouver , some are reporting a rumble but no damage. Seismic reports say 5.3 on the Richter scale. The Flash of light is Dismissed as a meteor. Soon, the electricity is down and even telephones and radios won't work.
Some guy with egg yolk in his beard mumbles that this is it. He says something about some talk show host who had on a two bit Psychic blathering about some Nostradamus Prophecy that is supposed to happen in the summer. That alien Monsters are going to attack and that a Middle Eastern anti-christ will take the reigns of power and seize them.
Two young guys wearing Korn shirts go outside and notice that all of the cars going to Ross island have stopped. Not because there is a traffic jam but because the engines had seized up. Suddenly the screams of sirens can be heard and 9 police cars whiz by at blurring speed.
Towards the pacific coast there seems to be a burst of light creating what appears to be a sunset in the west. By nightfall, the power is still not on and everybody is gathered outside in small clusters. Some are fearing the worst. A Bomb dropped perhaps. Maybe it was a terrorist bombing?
A man looks over at the dark skinned Lebanese fry cook with a hint of accusation.
"It's a God Damned Terrorist attack!"
Someone else shouts;
"It's those Mutha fucking Iraquis. They have come to kill us all."
He belligerently strikes up an argument about who can be trusted now. He goes out to his truck and grabs his shot gun. The Fry cook attempts to leave but is stopped by the owner of the restaurant. One of the Patrons grabs a table cloth and binds the fry cook's hands together. Another takes a cloth napkin and blindfolds the trembling man and then kicks his legs. He falls to the ground and bites his tongue. A small trickle of blood slowly falls from his lips. He hears footsteps and realizes that he hasn't much time to live. He urinates in his pants and the crowd laughs at him.
A crack of gunfire is heard and the screams of the fry cook are heard no more.
The women begin crying, but the men say it had to be done. Some say that it was obvious that the towel headed darkies had bombed something. This time they were going to pay. No one takes over the good old U.S of A.
Suddenly the lights come back on. The dark figure that had been shot now looks more human now. The tear filled gaze stares endlessly into the void as the television declares that a Substation had blown a transformer. I gaze again at the endless swirl in my coffee. I lose my appetite.
Rod Serling steps out from Behind the shadows takes a hit off of his Lucky Strike and says in his understated way
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own - for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."
While my experience in the diner that day was surreal, the only events that actually happened were the earthquake in Washington State,. With the help of one of my favorite twilight zone episodes I created a myth.
Mythology in its fundamental form is not fantasy. It's very real. It teaches a lesson or shows us how man deals with his environment. In January I had the opportunity to interview the makers of the film The Blair witch project. The Buzz was on about the film because of the rumors surrounding it.
Now the Blair witch project is as much of a legend as a blurry photo of Bigfoot, or the constant testimony of The residents of Roswell New Mexico.
I was given an article to work from stating that a documentary was in the works about three film makers that had disappeared. Their job was to get the real story about witches, ghosts and dead children. I read in the bold printed news release
"In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittesville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. One year later, their footage was found."
Burkittesville is now bracing for the onslaught of tourists who are looking for names on tombstones and trying to find areas where history allegedly took place.
As P.T. Barnum says there is a sucker born every minute and I was sucked into what probably is the best marketed legend since the Loch ness Monster.
The mythology that surrounds the the Blair Witch is "by the book " legend, in that it is not consistent. That is not a criticism its praiseworthy. Most stories are told over and over again and in different ways. Different people have different stories, and it is only hearsay and almost nothing is documented.
Such brilliance in the unknown. It has given us religion, Something else that is not consistent People have a different story about God and Satan. Almost nothing about them is documented, only written about in bibles and for the soul purpose of keeping people under control with the fear of heaven or Hell. With religion there are two outcomes. Not everyone agrees on them but they know what needs to be done to get to at least one of the outcomes. We act on our fears even though no one can agree on what we are fearing.
The Blair Witch Project deals the cards of fear releasing the outcome of the whole project. The filmmakers didn't survive. Worst yet they probably met the same fate as others who tried to find "The witch." But is it a witch?
We hear from the legend that this Witch has attacked in the past. It uses torturous, dismembering techniques on its victims. But people describe it in so many ways we wonder if the mind has manifested a demon. One person describes the witch as "an old woman, whose feet never touch the ground another says it is a large dark hairy creature.
The legend itself reminds me of what I covered and eventually parodied in 1995. That of course was the Chupacabras. I heard first hand from the mouths of those in The Puerto Rican department of agriculture that the Chupacabra was very real. After much Interrogation of locals and others I came to the conclusion that the legend of the Chupacabra was very real that the creature itself existed. Once again the legend ran inconsistent. The creature had so many different attributes that it was difficult to get a definite description of the creature.
Soon it some how became an alien hybrid of sorts, with wings and glowing eyes. That seemed to be a bit of a stretch. Linda Moulten Howe and others appeared on Telemundo and somehow managed to connect the dots pre maturely. This was a new phenomenon that needed a label and everyone wanted a piece of it. Another depiction of the creature gave it more winged reptilian characteristics.
Then came more drivel about an alien connection, which of course is always done when no one can come up with a more "earthly" connection. There were duplicate creatures that popped up later including the "Isnashi" of Peru.
The scariest connection it was determined that the Chupacabra was created by Voodoo and Santeria Practitioners. That the Blood of animal sacrifice may have created a monster that had materialized.
Catholic representatives had to calm their people. Telling them that the power of fear can manifest any creature. It wasn't until Francisco Escobar said that the Chupacabra was a byproduct of poverty and a lack of education. Even though there has been evidence that something strange was going on.
The overwhelming Mythology of the Chupacabra does not discredit it's existence. It only raises questions as to what is really going on behind the scenes. If it is a product of poverty and lack of education that would mean that the Collective consciousness of a sample group seems to be fearful of some hidden creature that sucks the blood out of it's victims. The fear is very real and by all accounts so is the Chupacabra. How are you going to deny the existence of such a thing when people are convinced that what they saw was a winged creature with quills and large red eyes that sucks the blood out of its victims.
The Blair Witch Project teaches us a Valuable lesson in group thinking and the power of the collective consciousness. That myths are very real in the minds of people.
Now in Burkittesville Maryland ( The area where Blair Witch was filmed) council members approved payment for 10 additional patrol hours by a Frederick County sheriff's deputy during July and August, especially at an old graveyard featured in the film.Mayor Joyce Brown has stated that the town of 214 residents are Christian and have no tolerance for Witches.
The Town of Blair doesn't really exist. But it doesn't mean that the area is not prone to hauntings and Ghosts. Fallen soldiers from the Civil War Battle of South Mountain are said to haunt the area. Along one stretch of road, known as Spook Hill, legend holds that your car will roll uphill, pushed by Civil War ghosts.
After all of the Interviews with the alleged missing filmmakers its still fascinating to me that people still can't figure out that the movie itself is a Mockumentary. A Mockumentary based on what can be called a campfire story.
I find it unfair that some critics say that the Blair witch project is boring because it offers no new Horror Icons like a Freddy Kruger or a Michael Meyers into the collective consciousness. Why do we need to judge a film by what it contributes to the social consciousness when the fears shown in it are as old man himself.
The fear of the total collapse of your sanity. When man becomes a monster running on the fuel of his own fears, when animal instinct takes over; not just as predator, but as prey. Sometimes the monsters materialize and then we run for cover. We fell helpless when there is no place to hide.
There is no hiding in the great wide open. When you think you are alone you aren't, and when you think you are safe there is no telling what might attack you and rip your heart out while you sleep. It is hard to breathe when your heart is in your throat. Dread is a more effective seed for irrational behavior than gore. Gore and death are the relief. Dread, paranoia and fear remain with you forever.
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.