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Story pick: Burkittsville's 'Blair Witch' curse

"It's been 11 years since the makers of 'The Blair Witch Project' set their horror movie out here in the middle of nowhere and changed this little town of 180 people forever," Los Angeles Times reporter Faye Fiore wrote recently from Burkittsville, Md.

The movie was a hit, though it didn't do much for the one-mile-square town in Frederick County: "All Burkittsville got out of the deal was a spooky reputation, a convoy of weirdoes offering to exorcise the place and four metal 'Welcome to the Historic Village of Burkittsville' signs that rusted in the rain."

Burkittsville's citizens were to have decided the fate of the signs in an election yesterday.

"Since nothing here happens without consensus, the town council decided to put the question to a vote: sell all the signs, some of the signs or none of the signs. They are making a special election box. Everybody gets a ballot, even the kids."

"If they vote to keep the signs, it won't be because they love 'Blair Witch' lore; they hate 'Blair Witch' lore," Fiore wrote in the run-up to the election. "It will be because Burkittsville, which looks almost exactly the way it did in the Civil War, never throws anything away. An outhouse used by one resident until the county shut it down 30 years ago is still standing; the mayor wants to turn it into a garden shed."

It's a great read.

As for the town vote, the election was apparently too close to call the results haven't yet been tabulated, Burkittsville Mayor Debby Burgoyne told Story Lab in an email. "The only thing I can tell you at this point is that at least 2/3 of the population did fill out a ballot/opinion form regarding the signs. ... The opinion poll for the disposition of the old town signs has yet to be completed. It will be completed by Monday June 14, and the council will most likely make a decision regarding the signs at the meeting on the evening of the 14th."

By J. Freedom du Lac  | June 8, 2010; 10:01 AM ET
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