Most viewers watching The Blair Witch Project know today that the horror film was made with unknown actors on a shoestring budget. But when it hit theaters in 1999, an air of mystique still surrounded the production. To legitimize the film’s “found footage” story, the filmmakers forbid the three stars from doing press. Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard (who shared names with their characters) were even listed as deceased on IMDb. One of the most memorable aspects of the unconventional marketing campaign was the co-director of the website that Eduardo Sánchez built himself.
According to The AV Club, blairwitch.com was registered when the Internet as we know it was still in its infancy. Sánchez was the only member of the production team with expertise in creating websites, so he volunteered to upload the film’s mythology online.
The website included pamphlets showing the missing filmmakers, photos of their abandoned possessions, and a timeline of unusual events in Blair Township’s history. Browsers could get a taste of the film by downloading video and audio clips purportedly scavenged from the woods. The website even featured bonus material that was not used in the film, such as interviews with investigators and excerpts from Heather’s diary.
As is the case with the movie itself, the site’s low-budget feel works in its favor. Even if you know the three “directors” are actors, the website makes it easy to buy into the story of their disappearance (especially if you read it late at night). It’s also a goldmine for brave souls looking for more Blair Witch material after seeing that weird final shot.
The original blairwitch.com is no longer active, which means you can’t log on to the discussion forums and dissect the mysteries of the movie like it was in 1999. Fortunately, the archived version is accessible via the Wayback Machine and looks like this than she was 23 years ago. . We recommend checking it indoors, even if you get good Wi-Fi in the haunted woods behind your house.