If you grew up anywhere near Fairfax County, Virginia, then you've likely heard the tale of the Bunny Man. The Bunny Man- an escaped patient from an insane asylum who lives in the woods around the Colchester Overpass near Clifton, eating rabbits to stay alive and dismembering anyone who dares come close enough with an ax.
As the legend goes, the asylum near Clifton soon became a concern to the residents in the town. You see, what was once a small farming community was now expanding. In 1904, the old asylum was shut down and the patients were being moved to the newly-built Lorton Prison. As the bus came to the bridge at Colchester Overpass, it broke down. In the chaos that followed, all the patients were accounted for.
That is, all but one: Douglas Griffon. Griffon had been sent to the state asylum after brutally murdering his parents with an ax on Easter Sunday. He'd been the tender age of twelve years old. Any searches conducted by law officials after this point only turned up the severely mangled corpses of rabbits. There was no other sign of Griffon.
The story continues with a few variations that all ultimately end up with the same outcome. A group of teenagers end up under the bridge on Halloween night, doing what all teenagers love to do on a night for mischief. A man dressed as a bunny, wielding an ax comes upon them and viciously attacks them, hanging their mutilated bodies from the overpass, looking much like the rabbits scattered about the woods.
Although this sounds like the typical local folklore parents tell their children to keep them from doing mischievious things, there are some true occurences that relate to the Bunny Man legend. In the 1970s, there were a string of instances where a man who appeared to be wearing a bunny suit and wielding an ax terrorized locals trespassing near a bridge in Fairfax County. In one case, he even threw a hatchet at a young couple's windshield.
It's hard to say how much truth lies in all of the claims, but over the course of the next few years, the Fairfax police received over fifty reports of Bunny Man attacks.
So- is this just a creepy tale? Some like to think that the Bunny Man is the spirit of Douglas Griffon. Others believe it to be just a pranking local who took the story a bit too far. There is one way for you to find out, though, if you dare. Go out to the Colchester Overpass near Clifton, Virginia, and walk the bridge at midnight.
(Image courtesy of atlasobscura.com)