When building your Halloween “set”, keep the traditional, but bring in the new: New if you lived in the 1700’s that is! A movie that I suspect most of you have seen is the The Blair Witch Project. It is based on a legend that supposedly occurred in the 18th century.
One thing in that movie that generates fear and trembling is the “stick figures” that hang from trees around the hiker’s tent when they wake up one morning. They are, presumably, the icons of murdered children, and some are dressed in cloth made from the children’s clothing. I still have nightmares from watching that movie.
To capture the effect the hiker’s felt when first seeing the stick figures, try this: As your trick ‘n’ theaters approach your front door, make them walk through a maze of these icons “hanging”, literally, from tree limbs or from your “tunnel” you’ve created.
I live on a farm in a secluded valley nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, and legends are aplenty here. One of my neighbors, who is not a witch but is a master gardener and weaves willow baskets, made an icon similar to the Blair Witch stick figures for me while I photographed the procedure for you to follow.
The Blair Witch Project … urr … Project
- To start, all you need are a 6 to 8 inch square cloth (my neighbor uses burlap for the effect, but any cloth with a little “blood” will do).
- You’ll need a material to make lashings (she used Virginia creeper vines), or use hot gun glue if you are “knot” challenged (pun intended).
- And, you’ll need two sticks: One with a fork and one straight. The forked stick should be between 8 to 12” long, and the straight equally so. “Straight” is a relative term here; a little crooked makes it scarier, I think. Any type of stick will do.
First, you are going to lash or tack the sticks parallel to each other, the straight stick about one to two inches down from the top of the forked stick. To learn about tying a lashing, visit http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/skills/b-p/wb/lashings.
Start the lashing with a clove hitch and then cross the “arms” stick perpendicular to the “body” and tie the lashing.
Size the burlap: Set one corner at the fork, and measure the diagonal along the arm.
Once that is done, take the cloth and fold it diagonally from corner to corner. Repeat so the cloth is folded into quarters.
Using scissors, snip the apex of the triangle you’ve formed to make a small hole in the cloth, big enough to slip the “head” of the stick figure through, and unfold the cloth.
Cut a slit toward one of the corners for the front of the “dress”.
Now you’re ready to slip the cloth over the head of the stick. You’ll want to adjust the cloth so that the apex of the triangular cloth touches the split in the forked stick. Tack this down by tying it with the root material or string, or simply tack it with hot gun glue.
Now all you have to do is make a noose to hang the figure, and find an appropriate tree to hang it from!
You can make all kinds of versions of the stick figure. If you want to make the exact copy of the Blair Witch icon, you’ll need four straight sticks:
Two to make and “X”, one to tie to two tips of the “X”, and one to make the “head”.
Tie the “X” a little above center to give the “legs” a longer length.
Tie the “head” to the cross piece and to the intercept of the “X”. These don’t have any cloth, and you have to do a lot more tying.
Be creative and Happy Haunting!