Sunday, May 31, 2009

Beware...the Bunny Man!

May has almost withered away, and on today's menu is another ghastly installment of our Monster of the Month series. This month we descend into the delightful realm of urban legend. If the name "Bunny Man" doesn't exactly make your skin crawl, perhaps the following description will. Imagine driving along a winding road late one autumn night and seeing a man in your headlights. He's running towards you, and as your car draws nearer, you can see him more clearly. He's nearly six feet tall and about two-hundred pounds.

He's wearing a filthy white rabbit suit.

And he's carrying an axe.

Variations of the Bunny Man legend have been documented across Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. Similar to the notorious "Hook Hand" of campfire lore, the Bunny Man is said to be mythical killer who has been murdering teenagers for decades. Most versions of the story describe the Bunny Man as your garden-variety escaped psychopath, but a few accounts have a supernatural flavor and portray the Bunny Man as an evil ghost that returns every year around Halloween. Whatever the case, the Bunny Man's look remains consistent; a tall man in a grimy rabbit costume usually armed with a hatchet or axe.

How did such a freakish figure come about? Most urban legends have a tiny grain of truth, and the genesis of the Bunny Man lies in the town of Burke, in Fairfax County, Virginia. On October 22nd, 1970, Air Force cadet Bob Bennett and his fiancee, Dusty (who may or may not have been wearing a cowboy hat at the time) were driving back from a football game and pulled over to have a chat. It was around midnight. Suddenly they noticed a man in the rear-view mirror, clad in white. The man in white ran up and smashed their right window and mirror. Bennett wasted no time in speeding away from the scene, all while the man in white screamed "You're on private property and I have your tag number!" Bennett later described the man to the police as wearing a rabbit costume. Dusty's account differed slightly, saying that the man who attacked them wore white pointed hat and might have been in a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Nine days later, a construction site security guard named Paul Philips came to the police and said he encountered a man dressed as a rabbit. The man was in the process of vandalizing the half-constructed house and before running off, he shouted "All you people trespass around here! If you don't get out of here, I'm going to bust you on the head!" In the ensuing police investigation, fifty people called to say that they had seen the Bunny Man. The incidents were publicized in several newspapers and word spread quickly.

The identity of the bunny-suit lunatic has never been discovered, but his crimes spawned a larger-than-life bogeyman. There are those who say that the Bunny Man still lurks around a railway bridge in the town of Clifton, Virginia, and others report skinned rabbits dangling from trees every Halloween.

So, should you find yourself in Clifton, remember: stay on the roads, keep off the moors...and should you catch a glimpse of white fun-fur and tall, pointy ears...just run.

Would you like to know more?
-Read this splendid, elaborately researched account of the Bunny Man legend


  1. There are few word combinations that can create feeling of bone-chilling terror quite like "rabbit suit" and "carrying an axe."

    I'm just amazed that no one has decided to cash in on the commercial possibilities of a Bunnyman movie.

  2. Well, Donnie Darko alluded to the Bunnyman, but there has been no straight adaptation. I'm amazed that no one made a Bunnyman flick during the slasher glut of the early eighties. I mean, they could've even thrown in an Easter theme!

  3. Wabbits,wabbits everywhere