04 Oct “I Played the New Blair Witch Game and Now She’s Stalking Me”
"I Played the New Blair Witch Game and Now She's Stalking Me"
Written by Brandon Wills
Before I begin, I guess I’ll tell you about myself first, and maybe that will establish some credibility. My name is Mason, and I am a 35-year-old third grade English teacher in a suburb outside of Columbus, Ohio. As far as I know, I’ve never had a history of hallucinating, physically or audibly. I’ve been married once, and divorced, and I have no kids. My husky, Dagger, is probably the closest I’ll ever come to having a kid. Now that you know all that, I hope you can view me as an ordinary, sane person and that the following story isn’t a psychotic breakdown.
This story will seem hard to believe but hear me out. This is all true. Every word of it. It cost me two and a half days of sleep and I am certain that my mental stability was on the verge of snapping. By the end of this story, you will probably think I didn’t have any mental stability beforehand.
Here is a word of caution: before you play the Blair Witch game, say a prayer, drink holy water, wear rosary beads — I don’t know or care, but do something to protect yourself. The Blair Witch is real… and she’s in the game.
Oh, and all the names of the children mentioned in this story are fake to hide their identities.
* * * * * *
The game came out on August 30th of this year, but I couldn’t buy it until September 6th. After seeing it at E3, I was sucked into the idea of hunting down the Blair Witch in a game. Everybody has seen the movie, so they should know the plot, but I’ll explain it for the kiddies reading this.
In October of 1994, these college students travel to Burkittsville, Maryland to learn about the local legend about the Blair Witch. They ask the locals about a hermit that lived in the woods and kidnapped eight children in the 1940s. The story goes that the hermit killed seven of those kids as a sacrifice for the Blair Witch.
They eventually go into the woods and are never seen again. The kids go missing and the film footage is supposedly “found” during a search-and-rescue to locate them. The Blair Witch Project kicked off the found-footage film craze of the early 2000s.
I won’t tell you anything else about it because if you’re too young to have seen it back then, I won’t spoil anything else because you really should watch it.
They never actually see the Witch, but the cinematography makes you think she’s there with them, and some people swear to have caught glimpses of her in various shots.
* * * * * *
I purchased the game digitally because I didn’t feel like waiting for it to come in through Amazon Prime. It was a Friday night, and with no other plans, I intended on playing the game until I passed out. After a couple of hours of downloading, and about four beers, the game was ready, and I dove in. In the game, you play as Ellis, a former cop, who brings his German Shepherd, Bullet, to help find a missing boy. Over the radio, I heard, “Nine-year-old Mitchell Jenkins, has been missing for four days. Police are actively searching for the young boy and are taking volunteers to assist the search in the Black Hills Forest.”
It took a few seconds, but I realized something.
I have a student in my class named Mitchell Jenkins.
“Weird,” was all I could say. I didn’t think too much of it then, so I resumed the game. Ellis guided his Ford Bronco down the road, listening to the radio, and eventually turning off into the forest heading toward the place the police were gathering for the search.
There are no police there for the character to talk to, so I did the typical thing in a game and started searching the cars for clues. I found a picture of the missing boy and dropped my controller. It was my Mitchell, my student, not some imaginary kid created for the game.
The resemblance was startling. I had to take out my phone. After spending some time reading various websites that summarized the game’s story. None of the websites mentioned the missing boy in the game as being named Mitchell Jenkins, but Peter Shannon. It just didn’t make sense. Nothing made sense. The more that I read about how Mitchell should not be in that game, the more panic set in. My mind began to calculate how this could be possible
Was it some very complicated prank? Probably not. I have a brief idea of what video game programming is like, so this was deduced easily.
Was this a glitch in the game? Nothing on the internet mentioned this kind of issue or anything similar.
Did my download somehow corrupt? Nothing else seemed to be wrong with the game, so I doubted that.
Was it possible for the game to know things about my personal life and incorporate it into the game? This one didn’t seem as farfetched as the rest. We all know that the big tech companies track everything we do online, so I thought this possibility was the most logical. Perhaps this was a feature that most people hadn’t discovered yet?
I decided to keep playing, and I’m glad that I did.
I had Ellis and Bullet search the other police cars. We found notes from the police about possible leads and a note from one of his former co-workers that was expecting him.
“Ellis, I know this is hard for you since Mitchell is one of your students, but try to not let your emotions get the best of you. We are all here with you, all in this together. We will find him and bring him home.”
The high-pitched shriek of an emergency alert coming from my actual phone startled me.
YOUNG MALE, AGE 9, NAMED MITCHELL JENKINS. MISSING FOR 48 HOURS. HE IS ROUGHLY FOUR-FEET-NINE-INCHES IN HEIGHT, AND EIGHTY POUNDS, BROWN HAIR, BROWN EYES. PLEASE CONTACT LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT IF FOUND OR IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER INFORMATION.
“Yep, that’s Mitchell,” I declared.
I wandered through the trees in Black Hills Forest, not finding anything but a few strange animal noises. After what felt like an hour of wandering, I found myself back at the parking spot. Frustration and annoyance at the game for giving you no instructions to go by, other than the clues you find, made me feel exhausted. I looked at my phone at the time.
“Shit,” it was much later than I thought it was. I rubbed my eyes, feeling the burn of sleepiness.
After completing my ritual of brushing my teeth and staring at my phone for a while, I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke at some point in the middle of the night. I didn’t slowly come awake, but within a second, I was fully awake… and paralyzed. Nothing would move except for my eyes. I tried to speak, but not a sound came out. I heard something shuffle at the foot of my bed.
Why is Dagger acting like that?
A blackened hand slapped onto the bed near my left foot, then another by the right. With a speed that seemed in slow motion, I watched a shadowed figure pull itself onto my bed. The weight of the figure on top of me made it very difficult to breathe. The panic was flooding throughout me, but my body still did not move. The figure slowly crawled its way up to my face, then it bent and began whispering into my ear.
I am immortal.
You cannot stop me.
You cannot save the children.
Kill yourself and avoid the torment to come.
Her breath reeked of rot and decay, making vomit bubble up my throat.
In a second, she was gone. My limbs regained movement and I was able to get off the bed. My sheets and clothes were soaked in sweat. I checked my phone.
I decided to shower, trying to rid myself of the stench of that figure’s breath. As I was drying off, I felt something burn on my neck. I checked the mirror and saw a burn on my neck in the shape of the human-shaped stick figures from the Blair Witch Project. The cut was red and angry, burning like I had been branded like a cow.
That proved to me that all of what happened was real.
Those words kept popping in my head as I attempted to go back to sleep.
I am immortal.
You cannot stop me.
You cannot save the children.
Kill yourself and avoid the torment to come.
Thoughts of poor little Mitchell, scared and alone, would not leave my head. He’s a quiet, loner kid who I sometimes forgot was even there, the type of kid to sit in a corner and read by himself rather than play with the other kids. Knowing that he was by himself with some psycho that would probably kill him angered me, made me want to hunt the bitch down and kill her. But, notice she said “children”. There were others. She had more kids to use for her devious desires.
The beep of the Xbox turning back on snapped me back to reality. I heard Dagger in the living room, whining like he was scared. I calmed him down by patting him on the head and reassuring him that nothing was wrong. I didn’t turn the Xbox on. I don’t know if the Witch was taunting me, or if it was something else nudging me to it. On the couch was my controller, and it was powered off, so that couldn’t explain how the Xbox came on. Shrugging it off, I continued the game.
Back at the parking lot, I decided to look for clues around the cars again. This time, I found two more photos of missing children from the area. Cassandra Holland and Milo Lawrence. Two more of my students.
Cassandra was an outgoing girl with a very high intellect for a third-grader, and Milo was a hyper kid with a tendency to be sporadic. From what I could tell, the Witch was nabbing kids at random with nothing in common, other than they were all my students. Maybe that was the reason she was specifically targeting them. But why?
After searching for more clues in the cars, I found out all three disappeared on the same day. Mitchell’s family said he was walking down the block to a friend’s house. Cassandra was playing in their fenced-in backyard while her mother was tending to her flowers that lined the house. Cassandra’s mother reported that they have a six-foot privacy fence that would be difficult for an adult to jump, let alone a child. Milo’s family said that he was packing his bags to stay with his grandparents for the weekend when he just vanished from his bedroom. Milo’s parents reported no windows were open, and it was a straight drop from the second floor to the ground, so that seemed unlikely. I just shook my head, because I knew why.
A question popped into my head; were they trapped in the game? Had the Witch somehow made her way into the virtual world of the internet to steal kids? Was that even possible? If she were in there, that would mean she would have access to the millions of people that would buy the game.
I had to stop her.
Back in the game, I started traveling in the opposite direction that I began. Bullet, the main character’s German Shepard, started going crazy and running toward an area directly ahead of us. In the brush, he led me to a pair of sneakers. I checked the reports for each kid, and these belonged to Mitchell. He took off again, and a few yards later, he found a dirty baseball cap that belonged to Milo. Not much further was a jacket that was Cassandra’s. It was straight that these were all leading in a straight line. Common sense tells you that it’s a trap, but I assumed it was just part of the plot, so I kept going.
Up ahead, I found an old, rotted cabin located in the middle of a clearing. I could hear voices, but they were too far to decipher. Bullet took off as soon as we got into the clearing, charging straight into the old cabin. I ran over there, finding Bullet licking the faces of three happy, disheveled kids.
None of them would speak. They just stared at me, but the way they stared looked as if they were looking through me and not at me. It took a few moments to look through their dirty, maddened states to determine that they were my students. They all sat in a circle on the floor, looking in my direction but not blinking or even moving.
“Kids? You okay? You’ve had everyone worried. I think it’s time to go home. Kids?” not one of them responded, or even flinched. I watched them for a few minutes, noticing that they didn’t even blink.
“Okay, kids. It’s time we head back now,” they cut me off. Their mouths opened in an expression of terror, but they didn’t make a sound. Their little hands lifted, index finger extended, pointing directly behind me.
A chill crawled up my neck, goose pimples upon the overwhelming animalistic sense of fear that swarmed my mind.
A cut scene started.
Ellis turned, the Witch floated a few feet above the ground, her black gown flowing in some ethereal wind that I couldn’t feel. Her face was obscured by a long, black hood. She pointed back, cackling. Bullet ran at her, but he collapsed to the ground with a pained scream.
“Come, my children. Come to me. It’s time that we go home.”
Ellis screamed, “No!” and rushed the Witch. After a few steps, he stopped in his tracks and collapsed. Gasping for air, he clawed at some unseen hand that was trying to choke the life from him. Bullet was by his side, licking his face, confused at his master’s pain. As he thrashed about, a crucifix that he wore around his neck fell out of his shirt. The Witch hissed in pain and relinquished her grip on Ellis.
Ellis led the kids back to the cars with Bullet on guard. All of the cops who were there have now disappeared. He loaded them all into his Bronco and climbed into one of the police cars. Finding a radio, he keyed up, “All units, this is Ellis Lynch. I have located all the missing children. They need medical attention. Anybody there?”
After a few agonizing moments, an answer came back; “We read you, Ellis. Are you in the parking lot at the entrance to the Black Hills Forest?”
“10-4. I will have them in my Bronco waiting for EMS.”
The credits begin to roll. An ambulance arrives and examines the children. Ellis walks by himself to the edge of the parking lot, staring into the thick forest. Something catches his eye.
The Witch stood on the ground between some trees.
I’m not done with you yet.
The credits kept rolling as the game ended.
I looked at my phone.
I hadn’t slept in twenty-nine hours. The exhaustion hit me then. I climbed into bed and dreamed the worst dreams I have ever endured.
The kids are all fine. They were discovered in the woods outside the town just hours after I finished the game. They were scared and, from what I was told, had no idea how they got there. The police have stated that they are still investigating if there is a suspect in their disappearances.
Since then, I have been awakened repeatedly every night, dreaming that she is standing beside my bed and whispering threats. I also wake up with scratches, always in threes, on random places on my body. Dagger, my husky, won’t come in my room at night anymore — the closest he will get is in front of the door.
I decided to write this, as a warning to everyone. The Witch told me her plans, what she wants to use the game for. She said that she is going to keep taking kids, and if you don’t succeed in the game, they will never be returned. And she’ll become more and more powerful.
After that? I don’t know.
But for the love of everything holy, don’t play the new Blair Witch game.