CBSN

Town Haunted by Witch Film

The number two film at the box office has become the number one headache for a small Maryland town, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob Fuss.

The hot film in theaters these days is the cult-like The Blair Witch Project. It's documentary style with a fast-moving camera, causing some people to get sick and some nauseous, but it's causing others to seek out the tiny rural town where the totally fictional witch story is set.

When they find their way to Burkittsville, about an hour north of Washington, they find a tiny town with 19th Century architecture and a few hundred residents. There is no store, no coffee shop, no business of any kind...which is why they often end up at the post office

"They're mostly taking pictures," Postmaster Larry Ott said. "I have been selling a few postcards with the Burkittsville postmark on it. Most of them are taking pictures of the cemetery and then stopping by here."

Ott told CBS Radio News there aren't any witches for the tourists to see.

"I've been postmaster since 1993. If they were here, I'd know about it."

The witches may not be around, but the witch movie fans are, and that doesn't please the sheriff in the nearby town who has had to send two deputies over to the cemetery every night to keep them out. It doesn't please longtime resident Linda Millard either.

"Especially at night," complained Millard. "They were up all night long, my mother was up, because of the people walking in the streets, back and forth."

And she doesn't really understand why, after seeing movie. "We totally thought it was stupid."

Her 14-year-old daughter Lydia agrees with the review.

"It was really dumb. It was," she insists. "It was just stupid." Was it Scary? "No,"

Down the street, artist Margaret Kennedy has seen the tourists, too, mostly just driving their cars around and slowing 'way down near the cemetery.

"I hope folks have a good time scaring themselves," she said. "Be my guest."

And as for the witches...well, she's not quite ready to make a firm judgement.

"You know, where there's smoke there could be fire," Kennedy admits. "The 1700's was notorious for its witchhunts. Poor ladies."

Even if there are no witches around, the film devotees are there, including 20-year-old Jeff Parker, who with his 17-year-old brother was checking out the cemetery

"I'm visiting my grandparents, so I thought I'd come by and check it out before I see the movie and see what its all about," Parker told CBS Radio News.

The other big stop on the witch circuit is the nearby woods, where all the really bad stuff happens. But Jeff's grandmother Peggy says the two boys, who were so anxious to see the town, seemed to having some second thoughts about the woods.

"They did not want to go through these woods, no way," she said. "I think they may be a little leery of whats back in here, the spirits, the witches and so forth."

But not so leery, says Jeff, that he won't see the movie, just as soon as he gets home to Florida.