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More Witches Mad At Blair Witch Project
August 16th 1999 4:38 P.M. EDT
Horror film causing a stir among real-life witches By Alexis Chiu, Associated Press, 08/16/99 22:59

SALEM, Mass. (AP) It may be the surprise horror hit of the summer, but one group is counting itself out of the ''The Blair Witch Project'' fan club: real-life witches.

''We're not an ominous lot,'' said Wiccan High Priestess Gypsy Ravish, one of a number of witches who say the low-budget flick contributes to negative stereotypes of the pagan religion Wicca.

''It defames us and it makes us less human,'' said Teri Kalgren, a 49-year-old witch and cofounder of the Witches Education Bureau in Salem. ''We still get people asking us if we fly on brooms.''

Witchcraft is a touchy subject in this town on Massachusetts' North Shore, where a witch hunt in the late 17th century led to the hangings of 19 men and women, the crushing death of one man and the deaths in prison of 17 more.

In the pseudo-documentary, three student filmmakers set out into the Maryland woods to make a film about the legendary Blair Witch, who was said to have killed children in the 1940s.

Their ''recovered footage'' tells the story of how the filmmakers become lost, are tormented by a mysterious presence that leaves creepy stick figures dangling from trees and small rock piles outside their tent, and eventually disappear after stumbling upon the truth about the legend.

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