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The Bunny Man: haunting our nation's capital

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George Washington University

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The Bunny Man: haunting our nation's capital

Hop. Murder. Hop. Murder.

Max Skidelsky

10.27.17

There is a man, dressed up as a bunny. He haunts the residential neighborhoods around our nation’s capital. He is the Bunny Man.

In the early 1970s, the Bunny Man had been reported in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Fairfax Virginia. His infrequent and widespread appearances tended to occur in secluded locations and usually tell of a figure clad in a white bunny suit armed with an ax threatening children or vandalizing property.

By the 1980s the Bunny Man had become an even more sinister figure with several gruesome murders to his credit. Fairfax County Archivist Brian Conly says “It’s our own homegrown urban legend.”

"On October 19, 1970, a couple driving near Colchester Bridge had to slam on their breaks when they came across a man wearing a full-body grey bunny suit carrying a hatchet. The man threw the hatchet through their windshield and ran into the woods."

Maryland researchers compiled local lore relating to the Bunny Man. The Bunny Man legend started in the 1970s and has its roots in real-life events. "On October 19, 1970, a couple driving near Colchester Bridge had to slam on their breaks when they came across a man wearing a full-body grey bunny suit carrying a hatchet. The man threw the hatchet through their windshield and ran into the woods."

Over the next few weeks, the Fairfax County Police received a total of 54 reported run-ins with Bunny Man. Accounts varied. The Bunny Man was said to have called the authorities himself, saying he was against the spread of new housing divisions into the local woods. Police supposed he was a local teen upset with the new housing development. Police say it remains “unsubstantiated as to whether or not there really is a white rabbit.”


It's just a myth, right?


Though the legend has evolved and changed over the years, it follows these lines: In the early 20th century, deep in the woods that divided the town of Clifton from Fairfax Station, there was an insane asylum. When it closed, the prisoners were bused to Lorton Prison. On the way, the bus crashed, and one of the convicts—Douglas Grifon—escaped.

Several weeks later, on Halloween night, a few teens stopped by to hang out under the bridge. The next morning, they were found hanging from the bridge, gutted like bunnies.

While searching for him, the police found a trail of half-eaten, gutted bunnies with many hanging from the Fairfax Station Bridge. One of the convicts was hanging disemboweled from the bridge; the other convict was on top of the bridge, waving an ax and wearing a makeshift bunny mask out of rabbit fur. As he laughed, he was struck by an oncoming train.

Several weeks later, on Halloween night, a few teens stopped by to hang out under the bridge. The next morning, they were found hanging from the bridge, gutted like bunnies. The Bunny Man was said to be responsible for the deaths of disobedient children in the Clifton and Fairfax area. Others talked of animals found horribly mutilated.

It is said that if you are at Bunny Man Bridge at midnight on Halloween night, you too will meet the same fate.

As legend has overtaken the facts of the story, and replaced the unknown with the impossible, many argue that the Bunny Man is just an urban myth. However, while the true story may be unknown—as it cannot be verified one way or the other—there is no way to say it didn’t happen in some manner unknown.

To this day, no one knows who the Bunny Man is or what motivated him. However, if the Bunny Man was in his 20s in 1970, then he likely would still be alive today. According to Radford University, the average serial killer is 27.5 years old at the time of his first kill. There are still several dozen unidentified serial killers who were never caught.

The Bunny Man may well be real. He may well be alive today. He could even be right behind you now…