The Terrifying Power of the Blair Witch's Stick People Has Finally Been Revealed

When The Blair Witch Project hit theaters, one of the most chilling aspects of the film was that there was so much mystery surrounding everything. It's not just that people weren't sure at the time whether the footage was real or fake, but the very contents of the story left much up to the imagination. Was the Blair Witch real? She never physically appears in the film. Did the characters really find her at the end, or did they all go insane? This brings us to another perplexing component: the stick people that seem to haunt the characters throughout the film. In the 2016 sequel, Blair Witch, they're back, and the purpose and power they've been imbued with becomes much clearer.

In the first film, the stick figures appear as a warning. They're littered around the campground as an omen. It's the first big red flag for the filmmakers: turn back now. Other than their strange presence, though, the figures never really get any backstory. We never find out why the witch makes them, or what exactly they mean. At one point Heather cuts one down, a decision that may very well have angered the Blair Witch in the first place. But once we get to the sequel, we learn the figures are so much more than just a warning: some of them are voodoo dolls.

Here's what happens in Blair Witch: just as sh*t starts to hit the fan, the group wakes up to find their campground completely saturated with these figures. There must be dozens in all shapes and sizes, hanging from the trees. Talia, a member of the group and a Burkittsville native, realizes one of the figures has pieces of her hair wrapped in its fraying twine. It calls to mind a particular scene in The Blair Witch Project; just before finding the Blair Witch's dreaded house, Heather discovers Josh's torn bloody shirt, along with bones and teeth, wrapped in a bundle of sticks.

When Talia realizes her hair has been taken and incorporated into the figure, she starts to have a panic attack. Out of frustration, another member of the group, Ashley, snatches the stick figure from Talia's hands and breaks it in half. We hear a sickening crunch, much louder than just a snapping branch, and everything changes in one horrifying, stomach-twisting moment. One second Talia's upright, and the next she's down on the ground. Her body's been twisted in a strange way. She's bent all the way backwards, like her body's been folded in half the wrong way. She's twitching and gurgling blood. It's a moment that crystallizes the true, horrifying powers of the Blair Witch. Anyone can make little stick people, or litter a campground with piles of rocks, but not everyone can make a real voodoo doll.

For the record, the little people absolutely look like dolls, it's just that their power is never revealed until this moment. And, to be fair, all of the figures probably aren't voodoo dolls. Perhaps it's just a confirmation that they're more sinister than they look, that they're laced with a dark magic we couldn't previously comprehend — that, and the fact that, in this moment, the characters must finally recognize that the witch is very real, and so much more than a local tall tale.