Blairwitching and the Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan

image Five years ago the Blair Witch Project became a multi-million dollar box-office sensation thanks to a clever marketing scheme that pretended the Blair Witch was real (and offered a spooky companion website filled with pseudo historical background about her). Ever since then movie marketers have latched onto the concept of promoting movies via hoaxes. So much so, that I think we should just begin referring to the practice of promoting movies by hoaxing the public as 'Blairwitching'. For instance, a sample sentence using this term might be: Failing to think of any original way to promote their movie, the marketing team simply decided to Blairwitch it.

The latest movie to be Blairwitched is the Sci-Fi Channel's documentary about filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan (The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan) that aired last night. The Sci-Fi Channel's marketing team promoted the movie by promising that it was going to reveal a secret buried in Shyamalan's past, a secret that had driven him towards his obsession with the supernatural. Supposedly Shyamalan didn't want this secret exposed, which caused him to stop cooperating with the documentary team. This conflict between Shyamalan and his biographers managed to garner a fair bit of press. But then yesterday, when the documentary aired, the Sci-Fi Channel admitted that they simply invented Shymalan's buried secret as well as Shyamalan's disagreement with them (the big secret was supposed to be that he once witnessed a drowning).

I like the line in this article about the hoax campaign where NBC executives (NBC owns the Sci-Fi Channel) apologize, saying that "We would never intend to offend the public or the press and value our relationship with both." Yeah, right. Meanwhile, they're happy to accept all the publicity that the hoax generated (including having people like me write about it on their weblogs). And oh yeah, the hoax itself and the documentary were ultimately all big advertisements for Shyamalan's upcoming movie The Village, which actually looks kind of cool. (Thanks to Terry in the hoax forum for giving a heads up about this)

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Posted on Mon Jul 19, 2004


I watched the special hoping there would be some kernel of truth in the story. It was pretty obvious after about 5 minutes that it was a hoax. I'm still trying to figure out how the crew met the bellhop/computer expert (I was out of the room). I'm just disappointed how quickly Sci-fi rolled over on this one. Is the American public that 'offended' by the Sci-fi channel lying to them? If so, there are plenty of other networks that lie about far more important matters.

It's the Sci-fi network, not the Sci-fact network.
Posted by Michael  on  Tue Jul 20, 2004  at  09:10 AM
i missed that show
Posted by john  on  Tue Jul 20, 2004  at  02:22 PM
Actually, the secret wasn't that he witnessed a drowning, but that he drowned, and was "legaly dead" for about half an hour.

Still lame though.
Posted by Becka  on  Tue Jul 20, 2004  at  03:40 PM
I could tell when they were running the ads for the show that it was a fake documentary.
Posted by Drunk Stepdad  on  Thu Jul 22, 2004  at  03:35 AM
Well I thought it was pretty entertaining, Only a complete Retard would have thought it was real. Lot's of ggod laughs because of the over the top acting & events. I've seen better acting on Joe Schmo. and for the record, the computer expert was the pizza guy, who knew??
Posted by BoneStorm  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  03:59 PM
My friend made me sit through this and 5 minutes into it I was making fun of it and he was getting pissed off. I thought it was a cheesy attempt at re-hasing the Chronicles of the Blair Witch.
Posted by Big Popa Chubby  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  11:01 PM
Well I just found out it was hoax. I was pretty much suck in to the documentary. Yeah yeah say what you want fuck it I had nothing else to watch that night so really I dont care but I'm still planning to see The village hehe well I dont really care what scifi was attempting to do but at least they made it entertaining
Posted by Nameless  on  Thu Jul 29, 2004  at  04:34 PM
He didn't witness a drowning. They say he *did* drown, for like 35 minutes...
BTW- Nice new term.
Posted by Twilight  on  Fri Aug 13, 2004  at  10:06 PM
If this was a hoax and we're all fools M Night Shymalan can answer it himself. WHERE was he between 10-12 and if he didn't drown then was the local paper story a myth too? I mean, the guy could've made sure we all thought it was a hoax.. he has the money to do it. Personally, I think he's a bit creepy and there is SOME truth to the story!
Posted by Noels  on  Thu Feb 17, 2005  at  09:10 PM
i suppose it might of been a hoax. it sure does look to be well organized. Yet i ask has M. Night posted any response regarding that, did he actually confirm or admit such doings. Another thing that is interesting is couldn't this be a settlement agreement between the channel and M. Night to avoid a law suit of any kind. It might be all false but how were they able to get johnny Depp to talk was he also part of the hoax. Does a movie like "The Village" need so much marketing n lying and hoaxes to succeed especailly with "The Sixth Sense" attributed to the writer and director. Some scenes i must admit look like they have been fabricated but can still be true. I believe in these things and i dont see why it would be such a far fetched idea that its not entirely true. I think the truth isn't totally revealed even after they announced its a hoax. Maybe who knows.
Posted by Mike  on  Tue Feb 28, 2006  at  10:38 PM
can any one tell me what was that stupid website address where that documenter met that strange chat man who told him what he was wearing and stuff like that.
Wanna check that out.
And how did he he manage to get johnny depp in that documentry.
Posted by tejaswy  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  03:28 PM
Certainly too many consistencies in the documentary and research independently undertaken for all the 'facts' to be purely an invention.

However study of supernatural occurances throughout History have proven unequivocably that no human being has been brought back from death by dark arts. It is highly possible that whatever force, be it demonic or other, acted to put Shyamalan into some sort of metabolic stabilisation for the period he was under the water.

With the media being what it is we can only make up our minds on the man by what he has personally shown us. That being the case one would have to look closely at his 'art' to take an educated stance on his 'spirituality'. To one such as myself I would have to choose to say that M Night Shyamalan is involved in the dark arts (general term yes, however everything outside of the one living God must be assumed to be 'of the enemy' hence 'dark'). Such writing and interest stems from an unnatural fascination for that which the human psyche finds both fascinating and (whether as a child before being numbed to the supernatural or as adults still with some consciense) dangerous.

One must always be in mind of what can cause harm. Human beings are made up of body mind and soul. The body is not the only part of a person that can be harmed.

Christ be our Light
Posted by Joel Klein  on  Sat Apr 15, 2006  at  08:57 PM
One must not forget that what meets the eye cannot be the only truth.Is there any way to actually find out about the other forces which cohabitate with us on this planet earth?These forces make their presence feel very rarely and chances could be that Night shyamalan could have been a part of that rarity.The whole thing is not a hoax after all.
Posted by santomasto1  on  Sat May 13, 2006  at  07:10 PM
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