The Blair Witch Project’s ending still haunts fans to this day, but what exactly happened in the chilling final scene? The Blair Witch Project started life as a no-budget independent film from co-directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez and told the story of three student filmmakers who wander into the Burkittsville woods to investigate the legend of the Blair Witch. The trio is never seen again, but a year after their disappearance the footage they shot is recovered.
The movie had a major impact on the horror genre, and while it launched a franchise that included two sequels, a few video games and lots of novels, the original is still highly regarded for its taut, psychological chills. The Blair Witch Project's ending is still hotly debated to this day, so let’s revisit the terrifying final shot and try to explain what happened.
The Legend Of The Blair Witch Explained
The Blair Witch Project was one of the first movies to use the internet as a marketing tool, with the film being sold as a found footage documentary. While the Blair Witch herself is total fiction, it helped that Myrick and Sanchez crafted an in-depth backstory for her and the town itself. The story goes that in 1785 in the village of Blair, Maryland a group of children accuses a woman named Elly Kedward of taking them to her home and drawing blood from them. The enraged town quickly finds her guilty and she's banished outside the village into a harsh winter to die of exposure. By the next year, all of Kedward’s accusers and some of the village’s children vanish, leading to the village being abandoned.
A new township settles on the site decades later, but over the years strange occurrences happen, like children disappearing and the ritualistic murder of a search party in 1886. In 1940 a hermit named Rustin Parr turns himself into authorities and confesses to the murder of seven children, claiming a cloaked ghost woman made him do it. Kyle Brody was the only survivor, with Parr making the boy stand in a corner while he committed the killings. Parr was hanged for his crimes and the legend of the Blair Witch faded into obscurity until a trio of college students - Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams - went missing filming a documentary on the topic.
How Does The Blair Witch Project End?
The Blair Witch Project features the students investigating the legend of the witch, including interviews with locals about the various myths that have cropped up around her. One interviewee even claims to have seen the Blair Witch, describing her as a half-human, half-animal creature. The group then hike into the Burkittsville woods, only to quickly find themselves lost. They hear strange noises in the woods at night and find stick men suspended from trees. The nerves of the group fray as the days pass and Josh eventually goes missing. His screams are later heard coming from the woods, with Heather finding a piece of his clothes filled with bloody teeth and hair the next day.
The Blair Witch Project's ending finds Heather and Mike coming across what appears to be Rustin Parr’s abandoned house – which should be impossible since it was burned down following his execution in 1941. The duo enters the house, following Josh’s screams and finding strange symbols and handprints on the wall. Mike is attacked by something off-camera, leading to Heather picking it up and heading into the basement. There she sees Mike facing the corner, just like Kyle Brody did when Parr killed the children, and Heather screams as she’s attacked by something and drops the camera.
What Really Happened In The Blair Witch Project’s Ending?
The Blair Witch Project’s ending was conceived out of the need to end on a creepy note, but without revealing the witch herself. There are a number of theories over what happens in the final scene, but the most commonly accepted is that the Blair Witch lured Heather and Mike to the house and killed them. The movie shows the group getting lost and traveling in circles, leading some fans to believe they’re caught in a time loop created by the witch, which allows explains how Parr’s house could still be standing. Other theories state some Burkittsville locals are the ones responsible for the killings, or that the witch possessed Josh and he’s the unseen attacker. If they are caught in a time warp, it’s also possible Rustin Parr himself is the killer.
Blair Witch, the 2016 sequel, backs up the time travel theories, with Heather’s brother James heading into the same woods to get closure on her disappearance and his group soon get caught in a loop that ends in Rustin Parr’s house. The 2000 video game Blair Witch Volume I: Rustin Parr takes place in 1941, with the main character coming across Parr’s home and having a flashforward vision of Heather and Mike in the basement - an event that doesn’t occur for another 50 years. Heather is attacked by an unseen force, and the game – whose canon is now debatable – suggests an ancient Native American force dubbed Hecaitomix inhabits the woods and is responsible for creating the Blair Witch.