The Legend of the Bunny Man
Man Wearing a Rabbit Costume who Attacks People with an Axe

The Legend of the Bunny Man
Man Wearing a Rabbit Costume who Attacks People with an Axe

The Bunny Man is an urban legend that probably originated from two incidents in Fairfax County, Virginia in 1970, but has been spread throughout the Washington D.C. area. There are many variations to the legend, but most involve a man wearing a rabbit costume ("bunny suit") who attacks people with an axe.

Many variations occur around "Bunny Man Bridge", the concrete tunnel of a Southern Railway overpass on Colchester Road in Clifton.

Story variations include the origin of the Bunny Man, names, motives, weapons, victims, description of the bunny suit, and the possible death of the Bunny Man.

In some accounts the Bunny Man's ghost or aging spectre is said to come out of his place of death each year on Halloween to commemorate his death. In some accounts, victims' bodies are mutilated.

Fairfax County Public Library  Historian-Archivist, Brian A. Conley, has conducted extensive research on the Bunny Man legend.

He has located two incidents of a man in a rabbit costume threatening people with an axe. The vandalism reports occurred a week apart in 1970 in Burke, Virginia.

The first incident was reported the evening of October 20th, 1970 by USAFA Cadet Bob Bennett and his fiancée, Dusty, who were visiting relatives on Guinea Road in Burke.

Around midnight, while returning from a football game, they parked their car in a field on Guinea Road to talk. As they sat in the front seat with the car running, they noticed something moving outside the rear window.

Moments later the front passenger window was smashed and there was a white-clad figure standing near the broken window.

Bennett turned the car around while the man screamed at them about trespassing, including "You're on private property and I have your tag number." As they drove down the road they discovered a hatchet on the car floor.

When the police asked for a description of the man, Bob insisted he was wearing a white suit with long bunny ears, but Dusty remembered something white and pointed like a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

They both remembered seeing his face clearly, but in the darkness they could not determine his race.

The police returned the hatchet to Bennett after examination. Bennett was required to report the incident upon his return to the USAFA.

It was later confirmed in Fairfax Police records that the man was in fact wearing a bunny suit with ears instead of a Ku Klux Klan suit.

The second reported sighting occurred the evening of October 29th, 1970, when construction security guard Paul Phillips approached a man standing on the porch of an unfinished home in Kings Park West on Guinea Road.

Phillips said the man was wearing a gray, black and white bunny suit and was around 20 years old, 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 meters) and weighing about 175 pounds (79 kg).

The man began chopping at a porch post with a long handled axe saying "All you people trespass around here. If you don't get out of here, I'm going to bust you on the head." The man then ran into the woods.

Both incidents were investigated by Fairfax County Police. The investigations were eventually closed for lack of evidence. In the weeks following the incidents, over 50 people contacted the police to report sighting the "bunny man".

Several newspapers reported the incidents, including the following articles in The Washington Post:
  • "Man in Bunny Suit Sought in Fairfax" (October 22, 1970)
  • "The 'Rabbit' Reappears" (October 31, 1970)
  • "Bunny Man Seen" (November 4, 1970)
  • "Bunny Reports Are Multiplying" (November 6, 1970)
In 1973, University of Maryland student Patricia Johnson submitted a research paper that chronicled precisely 54 variations on those two events.

During this time, locals allegedly began to find hundreds of cleanly skinned, half-eaten carcasses of rabbits  hanging from the trees in the surrounding areas.

Another search of the area was ordered and the police located the remains of Marcus Wallster, left in a similar fashion to the rabbit carcasses hanging in a nearby tree or under a bridge overpass—known locally as the "Bunny Man Bridge"—along the railroad tracks at Colchester Road.

The legend of the bunny man tells a story about a man running around Fairfax County in a bunny suit threatening people with an axe.

A detailed description of the bunny man from a witnesses described the unknown individual wearing a gray, black and white bunny suit, was approximately 20 years of age, standing 5 feet 8 inches and weighing around 175 lbs.
Some individuals thought it was some angry person in a Ku Klux Klan suit but Fairfax police records confirmed that the man was wearing a bunny suit.

In total, over 50 people contacted the police to report sighting the "bunny man".

Most of the strange incident occur around what is called the "Bunny Man Bridge", the concrete tunnel of a Southern Railway overpass on Colchester Road in Clifton.


Donnie Darko
Life is one long insane trip. Some people just have better directions.

  Donnie Darko is a 2001 American surrealist psychological thriller film directed and written by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Mary McDonnell. The film depicts the reality-bending adventures of the title character as he seeks the meaning and significance behind his troubling Doomsday-related visions.

The movie Donnie Darko has been said to come from the legend of the bunny man. Although there are some similarities, it is believed that it is pure coincidence and it is not based on the legend of the bunny man.

Deep Under Bunny Man Bridge

Officials name the last missing inmate, Douglas J. Grifon also known as Antonella Saavedra, as their suspect and call him "the bunny man".

In this version, officials finally manage to locate Grifon but, during their attempt to apprehend him at the overpass, he nearly escapes before being hit by an oncoming train where the original transport crashed.

They say after the train passed the police said that they heard laughter coming from the site. It is eventually revealed that Grifon was institutionalized for killing his family and children on Easter Sunday.

For years after the "Bunny Man's" death, in the time approaching Halloween carcasses are said to be found hanging from the overpass and surrounding areas.

A figure is reportedly seen by passersby making their way through the one lane bridge tunnel. Conley says this version is demonstrably false.

Among other inconsistencies, Conley notes that "there has never been an asylum for the insane in Fairfax County" and that "Lorton Prison didn't come into existence until 1910, and even then it was an arm of the District of Columbia Corrections system, not Virginia's." Court records show neither a Grifon nor a Wallster and, writes Conley, "there is not and never has been a Clifton Town Library."

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, via his blog Cryptomundo and in the book Weird Virginia, which has a section on the Bunnyman, sees a direct association between the legend of Bunnyman and that of the Goatman of nearby Maryland.