About a year later The Blair Witch Project took the box office by storm in 1999, Random House began publishing a series of tie-in novels in conjunction with Artisan Entertainment. Production designer of the first film and director of two related feature films, Ben Rock, was also consulted on geography and traditions. And to help reinforce the side “based on real facts” of the story of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, the author of The Blair Witch Files is the teenage cousin of Heather Donahue, Cade Merrill. It’s a clever way to hide the fact that the eight-book series is written by multiple authors.
Each volume of The Blair Witch Files has Cade Merrill, the owner of theblairwitchfiles.com, coming into contact with random people from all over, who may or may not be able to help him find out what really happened to Heather and her two friends in the forest of the Black Hills. Merrill also lives in Burkittsville, Maryland, and he regularly travels to the area where his cousin went missing. These books come several years after the infamous event of 1994; Cade states that he was eleven years old when Heather set out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch. By the year 2000, email communication was more common. Thus, each novel opens with an email from a new subject and/or potential correspondent.
In the acknowledgments section of the first volume, Cade thanks ghostwriter carol ellis for his part in “the preparation of this book”. The story then goes straight to an email Cade received from a high school student named Justin Petit. He asks for help finding information on Lee Irwin, the woman his grandfather believes is trying to kill him. Justin explains that Irwin has “already killed other people”, according to his grandfather. From there, Cade details his research, which includes “100 hours of taped interviews with Justin Petit, written transcripts, newspaper articles, phone conversations, emails, local police and FBI records. , and journal entries”. Heather’s cousin has now found his first case, the one he calls The Witch’s Daughter.
Cade plays a supporting role in the first book; he reports everything without getting physically involved in Justin’s situation. Merrill, however, steps in with the occasional clarification to tie things together. Starting June 18 at a hospital in Sykesville, Maryland, Justin began visiting his grandfather, Harper Kemp, after the 73-year-old fell. Turns out it wasn’t just an accident; Harper believes someone from his past pushed him. That someone being of course the previously mentioned Lee Irwin. Harper confesses that he wronged that person Lee so many years ago when they crossed paths at an orphanage.
The tragic story of Louise “Lee” Irwin began in 1939 when her parents died. Her abusive aunt Mary wanted nothing to do with the 13-year-old, so she cut her niece’s hair and then dumped her at the Oakbridge Home for Boys in Carroll County. Now going by the name “Lee”, Louise pretended to be a boy until she was discovered by the other young residents, including Harper Kemp. When she was finally exposed after being tormented by her peers, Lee was sent to an orphanage for girls without any hesitation. The car accident that occurred there led Lee to disappear for six months in the woods before finally appearing at the orphanage. It was during this time that she met the famous Blair Witch and her murderous emissary, Rustin Parr.
In the modern chronology of The Witch’s Daughter, Justin races to save his grandfather from the vengeful Lee Irwin, who is closer than he thinks. It involves going back in time and finding out where Irwin has been since he left the girls’ orphanage. However, while the book seems to have telegraphed its denouement even before the second act, there are surprises until the very end. And just like the 1999 film, there are no definitive answers as to what happened that fateful summer. The biggest takeaway here, however, is how many lives have been – and continue to be – touched by the Blair Witch.
Cade has an active role in the second novel, The dark roomand help him put together his bizarre experiences in a manuscript is ghostwriter Megan Stin. This second case concerns a teenager, Laura Morley, who came to visit Burkittsville after moving as a child. She randomly shows up after emailing Cade, then sneaks into his house while her parents are away. When they visit the site of Rustin Parr’s residence, which burned down in 1941, Laura swears she can still see the house. Cade doesn’t believe her until he sees the house himself in Laura’s photographs.
Developing the film, Laura and Cade spot more than just a restored building; they see a young Rustin Parr with his family, his twin brother Dale and his parents Wilson and Charity. The evidence is unfortunately temporary, as the images faded once the prints were put in a stop bath. Nevertheless, the weirdness only grows with Laura’s obsession. His stay in Burkittsville all those years ago was short but not without incident. In addition, The dark room enters the story of Rustin Parr’s early life and shows the extent of Blair Witch’s influence on him, long before Rustin committed his atrocities as an adult. How it ultimately ties into Laura’s unique connection to the witch amounts to a well-crafted twist.
The third book of The Blair Witch Files, The Drowning Ghostis written by Nathalie Standiford, and it’s the first “filler” story in the series. Although this region is known as Blair Witch Country, there is an underlying body of other supernatural activity waiting to be resolved. One such case is the mysterious drowning of 10-year-old Eileen Treacle, who perished in Tappy East Creek in 1825. Once again, Cade remains in the shadows only to appear in the opening and ending. , or if he momentarily needs to expose something raised in the main plot. He instead allows a freshman to recount her own perils in the Black Hills Forest.
In March 1999, before heading off to college, a Baltimore high school student named Cecilia Northrup chaperoned a school-sanctioned camping trip to Black Rock State Park. She was joined by her boyfriend, Mark Reddick, their two friends, two teachers and thirty-seven college students. Their campsite was not far from where Eileen Treacle drowned. And according to legend, the girl was pulled by a “bony white hand”. With the journey preceding the release of The Blair Witch Project, California transplant Cecilia was unaware of the territory’s biggest attraction. However, she gets a crash course in the Eileen mythos when Mark becomes uncharacteristically aggressive, people gradually disappear, the water source turns black and slimy, and there are sightings of a barefoot ghost nearby.
The Drowning Ghost is a detour from the overall plot, but it’s also the most suspenseful entry to date. Cade’s research, while otherwise illuminating in books where continuity is integral, is less present here. And with fewer informative interludes, the third Blair Witch Files looks better a straightforward novel. It actually works like The Witch’s Daughter in this way. Occasional readers can find themselves more engaged with this book, given the inviting setup, tense atmosphere and macabre developments.
This literary expansion of the Blair Witch universe is as entertaining as it is impressive. a lot of work has clearly gone into making the books. The Blair Witch Files was originally designed for young adults, but these stories aren’t exactly “light reading.” Most importantly, the series will appeal to anyone with a keen interest in fictional folk horror, regional phenomena, and paranormal investigations.
There was a time when the children’s section of bookstores was overflowing with horror and suspense. These books were easily identifiable by their flashy fonts and garish covers. This notable subgenre of YA fiction flourished in the 80s, peaked in the 90s, and then finally came to an end in the early 2000s. YA horror of this genre is indeed a thing of the past, but the stories endure at buried in a book. This recurring column reflects the nostalgic novels that still haunt readers decades later.