October 20, 1994 - My cousin Heather Donnelly arrives in Burkittsville to make a documentary about the Blair Witch for her college film class. Her crew consists of two other students: Joshua Leonard as cameraman, and Michael Williams on sound. They arrive in Burkittsville and interview locals about the legend of the Blair Witch.
October 21, 1994 - After interviewing various local people, Heather, Josh, and Michael hike into the woods. They document virtually every moment of their journey on film and video tape. As the video tapes eventually reveal, they soon become disoriented, lost, and ultimately terrified.
October 24, 1994 - The students fail to return to class that Monday. Heather and her crew are never seen again.
October 25, 1994 - Police issue an A.P.B. Joshua Leonard's car is soon discovered parked on Black Rock Road.
October 26, 1994 - Maryland State Police launch an extensive manhunt of the Black Hills area. The search lasts ten days and consumes 33,000 man-hours.
November 5, 1994 - Following an exhaustive 10-day search of the Black Hills area, authorities give up, and the search is called off.
June 19, 1995 - The case is officially classified as "inactive," and left unsolved.
October 16, 1995 - Students from a University of Maryland anthropology class hike into the Black Hills and coincidentally began excavating near the burned out foundation of what used to be Rustin Parr's house. A backpack full of film equipment and supplies is discovered, Sheriff Ronald Cravens confirms the bag to be Heather's duffel bag containing her film and video tape footage, her journal, and a camera.
December 15, 1995 - The families were allowed to view sections of the footage, which provided a terrible glimpse of the last days and hours of Heather's life. It also raised numerous unanswered questions - questions I'm still trying to solve.
January 15, 1996 - Frustrated with the official lack of progress on the case, Heather's parents (my Aunt Angela) hired private investigator Buck Buchanan.
February 16, 1996 - A second group of clips are released, and Cravens raises the possibility that some of the footage may be faked.
March 1996 - Launch of TheBlairWitchFiles.com - the website I created to search for information about the evil that lives in the area around Burkittsville.
May 20, 1996 - The final case report submitted by investigator Buchanan to our family.
March 1, 1997 - The case is once again declared inactive, and remains unsolved.
July 14, 1999 - Artisan Entertainment releases The Blair Witch Project, pieced together from my cousin Heather's footage by Haxan Films. The film is distributed by Artisan Entertainment (which was sold to Lionsgate Entertainment in 2003.)
September 1999 - Inspired by the film, Jeffrey Patterson commits a series of grisly murders in the area around Burkittsville.
May 2014 - My cousin James Donnelly, Heather's younger brother, who had been working as a paramedic in Charlotte, North Carolina, was talked into doing a documentary, The Absence of Closure, examining the tragedy of ambiguous loss, by his friend Lisa Arlington.
Present - My search continues.