The Blair Witch Breakdown

by Miranda Brumbaugh in

Searching for the Great Pumpkin, baking pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, scouting out secret camp sites, drinking flavored coffee with the likes of pumpkin and spice and everything nice, watching "The Blair Witch Project," fire pits, roasted pumpkin seeds...


Don't these things just Scream Fall?

You don't agree with "The Blair Witch Project," don't think that is very fallish in your opinion?

I know, I know, "The Blair Witch Project" is one of those you-love-it-or-you-hate-it movies. I, personally, love it, both the movie and the memories it has made for me. The first time I watched it I went with a car load of coworkers on a Sunday following our way-too-early waitress shift at the Steak House in Baldwin, GA, may you rest in peace. It was at a mall cinema with a gangster rap sheet. It was also the opening weekend when no one knew yet for sure that the footage was fake.

The mall movie theater in Gainesville, GA aka Gainesvegas, at Lakeshore Mall. Breathing butter fumes, the movie begins and.... 

and total  

Remember peeps. This was the beginning of the reality world that has invaded television ever since. K-K-W was only 19. Teen moms were still taboo. Everyone did not have a cell phone, and smartphones, what where those? We didn't even know if the world would come to its end on December 31, 1999. Our innocence was up for grabs.

Then, when the infamous eyeball close-up of the chick freaking out came on the screen...


The catcalls were just enough to keep the entire crowd from wigging out, so actually, in retrospect...

Wait, it doesn't stop there.

As we exited the mall, it was dark out, and raining fat and ominous plops. We made our way to the car that sat away from everyone else near a bunch of shady bushes.

In we went,

Cranked up the engine,

The car. Would. Not. Start.

The battery was as dead as those three campers we'd just witnessed on this cra-zany movie that was true stuff to us. Couple the freezing downpour with our total shock at what we'd just witnessed, did I mention we were in Gangland??

Thankfully someone in our group had driven solo and we scored some jumper cables and a jolt. No one lost an ear, we didn't walk in circles lost in the parking lot, and it didn't take long before the media exposed the movie for what it was not.

However, ever since, every time the leaves start shriveling and orange becomes the new black :) I get Jonesy to watch "The Blair Witch Project." Screw the sequel. I used to whip out my VHS double-tape, special edition, editor's cut each September, but now thanks to the ways of the world, it's all streaming, all the time.

The scenes still stick to me like pine sap. Watching those three characters trudge across rolling ground carpeted by death and decay, I catch the scent of freezing air on the tip of a puppy-wet nose. It takes me back to the woods and will-be-winters from my youth in the Southern Appalachia of northeast GA. See, I have been to those same woods as in Burkittsville, and I return there each time I work on my someday-to-finish book, "In Deep."

So to kick off fall, forget football.

For me, this weekend I'll be watching "The Blair Witch Project," camping out with 18 women on a retreat in the river hills of South Dakota, eating pumpkin puree out of a BPA-free can, sipping down the last iced coffee of the year, sprinkling pumpkin pie spice in my mouth--not necessarily in that order, but it's happening.

What about you? Do you have fall rituals? What's your weekend looking like? Any ears gonna go missing in your neck of the woods?

Until tomorrow,

Pending I survive the woods this weekend,

Miranda Brumbaugh