I hadn’t thought much about Burkittsville, Maryland (as I’m sure its 151 residents would prefer!) until running the Spook Hill 4-Miler back in the fall of 2016.
When I asked my friend if she wanted to run the Spook Hill 4-Miler with me, her response was, “Are you crazy?” But she wasn’t protesting the mileage — she was protesting Burkittsville’s infamy.
Honestly, Burkittsville is completely innocent. According to The Los Angeles Times, the people of Burkittsville were content to live a small-town life complete with a working outhouse (at least up until 38 years ago), a milkman, and a small enough population where everybody knew everybody.
But alas, in 1999, the movie business stole the town’s name for the sake of The Blair Witch Project — that pesky indie horror film. You know the one: Blair Witch set the stage for rampant handheld camera footage that makes viewers motion sick.
Quite frankly, that’s all the filmmakers did steal! An opening shot of one of the town’s four “Welcome to Burkittsville” signs names the setting of a movie that was actually filmed elsewhere.
Courtesy of Fanpop
And because of that one scene, this small Maryland town’s fate was sealed as a tourist destination long before the residents even knew about the movie.
Let me tell you from experience: this town is not scary!
Yes, there is a ghost story attached to it: Ghosts of soldiers from the Civil War are said to push idling cars up the spook hill (yes, the same spook hill that the 4-miler is named after). But, guess what! Sorry to burst your bubble, ghost enthusiast, but this is actually a scientific phenomenon, and spook hills can be found all over the place. I’m not a scientist so I can’t begin to explain it, but you can actually read a pretty good explanation about it here.
See? No ghosts. Just mind-boggling physics.
So let’s leave Burkittsville alone and stop stealing their welcome signs. They didn’t ask for it, and they hardly got paid for it.
I survived that race in Burkittsville, and I plan to test fate again at this year’s Spook Hill 4-Mile. Who’s with me? Are you ready to let go of the legend and give the people of Burkittsville some peace? Or are you holding on to Blair Witch Project till the end of time? Let me know in the comments below!