Since the release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, one of the most discussed topics, second to the speculation and deliberation to the fate of the three missing students, is the discussion to the history of the Blair Witch herself.
What is known is that in February of 1785, several children in the township of Blair, Maryland accused a local woman named Elly Kedward of luring them into her home to draw blood and terrified them in unorthodox means. Each child had a different story as to what they experienced, each one being more frightening than the next. As she cut each child to draw blood she would then instruct them to stand in the corner one child at a time and face the wall where she had scrawled what appeared to be ancient celtic runes. She then demanded they slap the wall with their blood soaked hands and scream. If they didn't slap the wall hard enough she would whip them with a leather strap. If they didn't leave a strong enough bloody handprint on the wall, she would cut their hands deeper and squeeze their wrists like a sponge to excrete more blood from their tiny bodies. If they didn't scream loud enough, she would scream hard directly into their ears. If they still didn't do so, she would then cut their ears.
When Kedward was complete, she would then send them away and told to never come back.
Some of the children were too paralyzed to ever discuss it, fabricating stories as to how they hurt their hands. Others wept in their parents arms.
When it became obvious the children who were covering their stories, and of how many children there were, and of those who did admit to what occurred, several of the men from town hiked into the Black Hills Forest and forcibly took Kedward from her home.
Locked and isolated into an ice house, because of her unusual and controversial behavior and accusations, Elly Kedward was charged with witchcraft and quickly found guilty. Blair had long since been founded and known for being a staunch region of pacifists, and although Kedward's accused actions angered and enraged the community, a direct execution by any one person was forbidden. The fact that she was claimed to be Catholic, yet living within a Protestant community, that assumption did not help her cause. If anything, it only exasperated her fate. As a result, in crude fashion, she was blindfolded, tied to an open cart with rope and drawn by horse deep into the woods of the Black Hills Forest.
That winter of 1785 in Blair was particularly harsh with sub-zero temperatures, ice and deep snow throughout the season. Kedward was tied to a large mulberry tree with the intent the elements of the brutal winter would take her life. The last words said to her as the ropes were secured and tightened around her legs, ankles, torso and neck were, "You took the blood of God's children, now it is His will that your blood freeze on His earth only for it to boil in the fires of Satan's Hell."
The blindfold was then lifted from her head.
"Let my blood boil, let it spill," Kedward responded, then continuing in quiet, calm but firm voice, "It is nothing new to me. I have known the fury all my life. Let it boil over and burn all mankind in its path."
With that, Elly Kedward, accused a witch, was left for dead, abandoned in solitude only to perish an isolated, frozen death.
Despite your evil ways, said the leader of the posse, "It is not our place, not our judgement to cause you direct harm. May our gracious pity upon you result in your sleep of death. You will feel nothing, you will feel no harm. You will simply drift to sleep as your body begins to freeze."
With that, the men all turned and walked away.
When they returned one week later to confirm her death and dispose of her body (with intent to burn her remains and rid the ashes far away from Blair), they returned to find no such thing, only the one tree surrounded by others in a massive forest. It was speculated she may have been snatched by wild animals, be it wolves, bear or otherwise. However, there was no evidence to indicate that assumption. The snow covered ground remained entirely undisturbed, there had been no new snowfall that week, no footprints mind for those of the team itself and of their horses both that day and the week prior that also included the wheelprints of the wagon.
There was no carcass, no bones, nor any rope at the base of the tree. This confusion forced the team to check elsewhere in the Black Hills Forest in concern they had returned to the wrong spot, or perhaps an incorrect path was taken into the woods. But there were no other snow prints mind for deer and simple rabbits.
It was though the banishment never happened. This bewildered, and more-so, frightened the team.
"As a witch was she, there is no doubt," claimed one of the men.
"But what will become of us? It is we who left her for dead..." asked another in fear as he looked at the empty trees.
"Nothing. She is with the devil now.""But what if she herself is the devil and has been so all this time?"
Some of the events and facts since her banishment are recorded as revealed in The Blair Witch Project motion picture, the timeline on our website, the Curse of the Blair Witch documentary, the published dossier and more.
The mythology of The Blair Witch Project begins with "In 1785, several children in the township of Blair, Maryland, accused Elly Kedward of witchcraft. She was found guilty, and banished in the middle of winter. It was assumed she died from exposure. The following year, all of her accusers and half the town's children had vanished. Fearing a curse, the entire township fled as soon as the weather broke and vowed never to the utter the name Elly Kedward again."
Much of what has been known of Elly Kedward by the public has always been open for speculation, discussion, interpretation and imagination, from her arriving to America to her settlement in Burkittsville, to the accusation, the verdict, the banishment and the repeated tragedies following that time in 1785 until the autumn 1994, with each event blamed on the "Blair Witch," aka Elly Kedward.
But who was this witch? As the tagline reads, To understand the witch, one must first understand who she was.
And again, as our timeline reads, "In 1785, several children in the township of Blair, Maryland, accused Elly Kedward of witchcraft..."
That was in 1785, the year assumed to be the last of Elly Kedward's life, or her life as we know it. All that has occurred in her name since then is, as mentioned above, open to speculation, interpretation, legend and folklore.
However, all that occurred prior to her death is not speculative, it is in fact a real timeline of the real life of a person, be it a witch or otherwise. Elly Kedward's blood could spill just as easily as that of any of her accusers.
The title "The Trial of Elly Kedward" can be a misleading. It is not about any legal trial as a result of her accusers. It is about the trials of her life, with a detailed timeline that explores the life of Elly Kedward, long before her journey to America.