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The 'Blair Witch' is not real!

August 19, 1999
By Franklin Harris

On Aug. 12, Franklin Harris disappeared in the woods near Burkittesville, Md. On Wednesday, his column was found.

It has come to my attention that some of you -- and you know who you are -- still believe "The Blair Witch Project" is real, that it isn't a clever work of fiction, but an authentic documentary.

Last week, a fight almost broke out at the comic book shop where I loiter when two "Blair Witch" fanboys were confronted with the awful truth.

So, please repeat after me: "It is only a movie!"

OK. That will do for now, but I want you to repeat it again to yourself later, with more conviction.

Granted, "The Blair Witch Project" is strikingly realistic, provided you can suspend disbelief and accept that three hunted film students will continue to chronicle their exploits even as they flee for their lives. Hey, if they don't keep filming, there is no movie, right?

Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez left their trio of actors (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard, all playing characters of the same name) in the woods to fend for themselves. The actors, with some idea of where the movie was to go, improvised their scenes.

Then, in the middle of the night, Myrick and Sánchez tormented the trio with ghostly noises, just to make sure the actors were properly distressed the following morning. The resulting film has been the talk of the Internet and even of the mainstream entertainment press. Filmed for less than the cost of just catering a typical movie, "The Blair Witch Project" has grossed more than $100 million so far.

It will certainly end up the most profitable movie of all time, and many studio executives are already asking their underlings why they are still shelling out millions to produce flops.

Of course, if "Wild Wild West" had actually been good, it might have been worth the millions lavished on both it and its star, Will Smith. But that is another column.

Most of the press is obsessed with "The Blair Witch Project's" box-office success, forgetting that the real story is how surprisingly good the film itself is.

Face it, any movie that can fool so many people into thinking its story is true, despite all the evidence to the contrary, such as its actors showing up on talk shows to promote the film, is doing something right.

An alternate theory, that these people who think "The Blair Witch Project" is true are just stupid, is too horrible to contemplate.

But I'll contemplate it anyway.

I blame it on the coming change of millennium, which, for the sake of the mistaken popular assumption, I'll say occurs Jan. 1.

As 2000 approaches, people just seem to get dumber. They contract "Millennium Fever" and start watching the skies for UFOs, reading the moldy works of Nostradamus and storing food like there's no tomorrow, which there isn't, or so they think.

Nutcase radio personality Art Bell tells millions every night that Doomsday is nigh. So, you'd better prepare by buying lots of dried food from his sponsors. Meanwhile, Fox broadcasts "alien autopsies" and other tales of the "unexplained."

Enough is enough.

I'm setting out to prove, once and for all, that there are no little green men, no ghosts, no goblins and -- most important -- no Blair Wi ...

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