EW explains how one little horror flick is perplexing fans from all over the world

By Gillian Flynn
August 06, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

And the ”Blair Witch Project” craze continues. The latest victim: Burkittsville, Md., the real-life town referenced in the film as the center of the supernatural action. Following the indie thriller’s phenomenal success, the tiny burg (pop. 214) has been flooded with curiosity seekers. A number of confused souls want to help search for ”Witch”’s three missing student filmmakers: The sheriff’s department has received calls from parapsychologists, occultists, and a mom from England whose kids want to fly over to investigate.

The situation’s so bad that a phone message at town hall begins, ”If you’re calling in regards to ‘The Blair Witch Project,’ it is fiction!” Not that that has deterred diehard devotees, who’ve taken to holding candlelight vigils at the local graveyard, prompting police to make nightly rounds to roust them. If anything, residents seem amused by their newfound popularity.

”People come here thinking Burkittsville is actually bigger than it is,” says town treasurer Michele Beller, ”that we have all these amenities. Like restaurants. And a store. And stuff like that. We don’t.” Sounds like the perfect spot for a Planet Hollywood.

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