The Bunnyman of Clifton

One Artist's Rendition of The Bunnyman

Image Source Location: http://braddockheritage.org/resources/item/26/
Image Source Location: http://braddockheritage.org/resources/item/26/

1904 Virginia

In 1904, Fairfax Country residents in Virginia successfully petitioned to have a nearby insane asylum/prison closed in Clifton. This meant that the current inmates had to be transferred to another facility.

As (bad, no - awful) luck would have it, during the transportation of inmates to another facility, the transport vehicle crashed, allowing all the inmates to escape!

The wreck was pretty bad and many inmates were killed from the crash, found right at the scene of the accident. Others who didn't die in the crash fled into the woods.

A search party was immediately engaged to find the escaped prisoners, and the search team found all but 2 inmates over a period of 4 months. There was not much that authorities could do about the 2 remaining missing men, however, I'm sure most people hoped that the two had sustained injuries in the crash and wouldn't get far or survive too long both from their injuries and from the out of doors.

Soon, locals began finding neatly skinned rabbits and half-eaten carcasses, hanging from trees in the area the two escaped men had fled to. This disturbed the locals greatly and obviously, so another exhaustive search was brought upon the area.

This additional searched turned out the body of escaped criminal, Marcus Wallster. Because of all the rabbit corpses turning up, the bridge in the area had already been named "Bunny Man Bridge," and at this bridge, the body of Marcus Wallster was found. Wallster's body was recovered from its hanging position and was found to have a strange man-made utility gripped in a dead hand. Like the rabbits, Wallster had been hung, and while he was hung from the bridge, rabbit carcasses swayed from the trees surrounding the area.

Authorities assumed the rabbit carcasses were the work of the remaining escapee, and named him "The Bunny Man."

Douglass J Grifon was the last escapee, and officials finally did locate him, shortly after having found Wallster, however, the authorities were not able to quickly apprehend the man. Grifon was chased and made it to the Bunny Man Bridge area, on Colchester Road but was hit by a train while fleeing.

People who were involved said they heard laughing sounds coming from the site of the Bunny Man Bridge, even after it was clear that Grifon had, indeed, perished due to a collision with a train.

Once the worry over the escapees passed, people learned that Grifon had been institutionalized because, on an Easter Sunday, he had killed his family, including his beloved children. People in the Fairfax/Clifton area were just glad that all the escaped inmates from the transport crash from a few months earlier were now identified and spoken for. Life could go on in the region.

Except that...

...several months after Grifton was killed by the train, on the evening of Hallowe'en, carcasses were again spotted in the trees and at the bridge overpass...

No sightings of an actual Bunny Man were recorded for several years, even if dead bunnies were visible. Sightings of an actual man sized Bunny Man began in October 1970.

However...from 1904 to 1970, The Bunny Man's presence was more than apparent.

The Stealthy Bunny Man - Not Fluffy and Fun - He's Dangerous!

On Hallowe'en 1905, a group of teenagers was hanging out (oops no pun intended - yet), partying at the Bunny Man Bridge. The teens drank a bit, and because most were still a little shaken up about the events from the very near past, all but three of the teens went home early, before midnight.

The three teens who didn't leave with their peers were all found dead the following morning. Their throats had been slashed and their chests were mutilated and cut as well - by a crude weapon - probably like the one found in Marcus Wallster's hand when he was found hanging by the bridge several months earlier.

The Bunny Man had slashed the teens, gutted them, and hung them by the overpass by their necks with their legs left to dangle in the clear view of any traffic which might use the bridge.

Halloween 1906 saw seven teens succumb to the same fate as the three teens in 1905 - or, at least 6 of the 7 teens suffered the same fate...while one teen witnessed, in part, the destruction of her friends.

One teen, named Adrian Hatala, had stood farther away from where her friends stood under the bridge just as midnight approached. She had wanted to give herself some room for escape in case the Bunny Man really did appear.

Naturally, as midnight arrived, what happened next would forever make a believer out of Adrian with respect to the reality of the Bunny Man.

Suddenly, Adrian witnessed a small, dim light 'walking' the railroad track just seconds before midnight. The light stopped right above the bridge at midnight, and then it disappeared at the same time that a bright flash appeared underneath the bridge.

Adrian heard the near-deafening screams of her peers, and when the flash subsided, she was horrified to be looking upon the dead bodies of her 6 friends. They were all hung from the bridge, slashed and gutted.

Adrian ran home as fast as she could.

Once the incident was reported, Adrian was actually charged with the murders of her friends and was committed to an asylum - Lorton Asylum.

Timothy C. Forbes tells the story about The Bunnyman

Busted!!!

Now, even though this legend/myth is technically busted - interest in The Bunny Man of Clifton still keeps growing.

This tail - oops, I mean 'tale' is busted because, according to the details that supposedly happened earliest in a series of events, a main component of the story NEVER EXISTED in 1904 Virginia!

There was never an insane asylum in Fairfax in the year 1904...or 1905 or '06 or even '07...

This VERY IMPORTANT and CRITICAL detail doesn't prevent people from still telling 'the story' of The Bunny Man from Clifton. Consequently, this tale is still highly spooky and hasn't lost its effect to frighten teenagers today.

It is almost as if people choose NOT TO INCLUDE the fact that Fairfax area in Virginia didn't have an asylum as far back as the real events supposedly happened in 1904, and away people go, still telling about a Bunny Man that haunts the area near Clifton.

Halloween is usually the new central focus of the Bunny Man legends told nowadays. Most likely, people are able to use the fear and hype of a questionable and spooky yearly date in order to draw listeners in - to hear a totally terrifying cautionary tale (don't stay out late, don't go where you've been told not to go - don't go to Bunny Man Bridge). People still get away with saying there is a crazed killer Bunny Man on the loose - who carries a man-made weapon and exacts death upon unruly teens who stay out too late on Halloween night or who go to close to the Bunny Man's territory.

The Legend - Alive and well for over 30 years.

Fittingly enough, this legend has survived for well over 30 years (1920's to 50's) between the time the first alleged Bunny Man 'events' (the transportation of inmates from the asylum, the transpotation vehicle crash, etc) occurred, until even now...and this legend has endured without even having had a real 'great event' to start with to use as a core story. To boot, it seems that every 20 years or so, the legend changes but is accepted quite well by a new generation of tale-tellers, teens and listeners.

The 'newest' versions of the Bunny Man Legend are becoming more spectacular, the Bunny Man - more sinister - as time moves forward. Perhaps these elements (spectacular claims, more sinister murderer) of newer versions are distractions to keep listeners away from the fact that no asylum ever existed in Fairfax in what should be an original truth in a first version tale from 1904...

The Bunny Man early versions were about a madman in the flesh, while newest versions are about some sinister ghost-like killer.

Though debunked already as a legend made up of untrue events or events that mainly could not have occurred, The Bunny Man of Clifton has already proven to be unstoppable!

In our present decade, tale-tellers are STILL scaring people by telling about The Legend of The Bunny Man...

Bunnyman of Clifton Short Documentary

About the Short Documentary Above:

When I viewed this documentary a second time, I noticed that one of the film-makers appeared very genuinely frightened in the telling of how an officer caught him and another peer filming the area around the Bunnyman Bridge late one night.

Althought I cannot verify information on this video, what I can say is that the young man being recorded seems to have had a very authentic experience on his visit to Bunnyman Bridge for the filming of this short documentary. I do not know if what he heard was the Bunnyman or any sort of spirit(s), but I was sure glad to see him announce something like, "It's ten minutes to midnight," and a few seconds later, "I'm getting out of here" or "I'm not sticking around."

As he and his partner were leaving, a police car pulled up and an officer warned them away from the area. The policeman noticed the cameras and confiscated them immediately (very strange), however, one of the men says some of this footage comes from another camera that the officer did not know was running, so some footage was saved...

I wonder why the policeman was so adamant about the men turning over their videotapes right away. Near the end of the documentary, one of the participants talks about this, so listen closely to what he says!

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Comments 8 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

WOW!! Another interesting hub. I always learn about so many mysteries from your hubs. Keep them coming. Thumbs up


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

I keep workin' on the hubs, countrywomen - it's hard not to get caught up in the research though...there are a lot of fantastic stories out there and sometimes I almost don't make it back to get them 'hubbed'!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Another new one on me, and yet just as eerie as ever, whilst giving me chills up my spine. Keep 'em coming :)


lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

"Why are you wearing that Human suit?"


Tim 6 years ago

what do you mean Ixxy?


KenWu profile image

KenWu 6 years ago from Malaysia

If this was real, the real bunny man would have died long time ago, unless he had a protégé.


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

I agree, KenWu - if the BunnyMan were still around after all this time, the entity would have to be a protégé. However, urban legends aren't always about the validity of any creature within the legend... Urban legends are at least partially made up of "cultural beliefs" - so a legend can be proven absolutely false - but members within a certain culture will still tell and believe in the legend if the legend continues to serve some purpose in that culture.

ie: venting out fear could be a reason for this legend to stay around long after its details have been proven inconclusive or implausible.


cant tell you 5 years ago

mabay the bunnyman is relateted to the goatman

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