Halloween Haunts: A Halloween Urban Legend: The Bunnyman by Pamela K. Kinney
Everyone knows the urban legends of the man with the hook in Lover’s Lane, the Halloween campus murder, and the babysitter story. Still here in Virginia, we have the Bunnyman. This serial killer wears a bunny costume.
I know; you ask what’s scary about someone dressed as the Easter Bunny? What does he even have to do with Halloween anyway? Well, for one thing, he carries a hatchet, and not an Easter basket of decorated eggs. You never want to meet him at the Bunnyman Bridge when the clock strikes midnight on Halloween. Otherwise, he might add you to his many victims.
The myth about this charming killer first popped up in 1976. It had the Bunnyman responsible for the deaths of two children in Clifton, Virginia. Rumors of the disappearance of other children and horrible mutilations of animals circulated that same year. No one dared go out at night, especially not near the tunnel beneath the train tracks where this psycho hung around. The problem was that there was nothing of this in the newspapers or local news.
More tales circulated over the years about more murdered children found hung in the front of the tunnel. There were whispers of rabbit skins hanging from nearby trees. The Bunnyman also earned his nickname not just from the costume but by skinning rabbits he caught, eating the flesh before hanging the skins from tree limbs near the bridge. Other variations of the tale had him hunting rabbits and using their pelts to make clothing for himself.
When people began to use the Internet, this terrifying legend got a new rebirth. No longer was it a local legend, but one spread in a forum in cyberspace. One widely circulated version told of inmates from an insane asylum who escaped in 1904 while being transferred to Lorton prison. They never caught two inmates, Douglas J. Grifon and Marcus Wallster. Marcus’s body was found dead near the bridge. The police believed Douglas had murdered him with an ax.
Many claimed that if you walk down the tunnel around midnight, the Bunnyman will snatch you before you get a word out, slash your throat with his ax, and hang you from the entrance of the bridge. Your body will swing back and forth like a Halloween decoration left over after the spooky night itself.
Another take concerning the legend has a young man from Clifton, Virginia, who came upon the bridge while traveling. Later, he killed his parents and dragged their bodies into the woods to hang them from the bridge, and afterward, he committed suicide. In 1943, three teenagers, two boys, and a girl, decided to go to the Bunnyman Bridge on Halloween night. The following day, the police found their bodies slashed open and hanging in front of the tunnel. The kids’ feet had notes attached, with the words,” You’ll never catch the Bunnyman!” scrawled across the paper.
Interestingly, the Bunnyman legend has inspired a cult horror movie, Donnie Darko. It even had a librarian from a local library do some research to find if the Bunnyman may have had a basis in truth.
I’ve been to the tunnel. as at the time I was writing a ghost book then and the Bunnyman became a chapter in it. The tunnel is big enough for only one car to pass through it at a time. No Bunnyman waited for me, nor did I see any anything hanging from nearby trees. The only thing on the bridge above the tunnel entrance was rat’s nest of vines.
Like all urban legends, the Bunnyman found life through those believing in the stories and who passed them on. If you decide to check out Bunnyman’s Bridge for yourself on Halloween night, watch out for rabbits, especially if one of those bunnies is big as a man and is clutching an axe: RUN!
Author Pamela K. Kinney gave up long ago trying not to listen to the voices in her head and has written award-winning, bestselling horror, fantasy. science fiction, poetry, along with nonfiction ghost books ever since. Her horror short story, “Bottled Spirits,” was runner-up for the 2013 WSFA Small Press Award and is considered one of the seven best genre short fiction for that year. Her horror poem, “Dementia,” that was published in HWA Poetry Showcase Vol VII in 2020, got her name mentioned as one of the five whose poems the editor liked in Best Horror of the Year, Volume 13 released in 2021. She has six nonfiction ghost books published by Schiffer Publishing, and has a nonfiction book, Werewolves, Dogmen, and Other Shapeshifters Stalking America released April 26, 2022, from Dreampunk Press. Pamela has an article included in Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2, released at end of April 2022. Plus, she has a story included in Dreampunk Press’ Halloween horror anthology, Blame It on the Pumpkin. The book releases October 4, 2022.
Today’s Giveaway: Pamela K. Kinney is giving away an electronic copy of the Halloween horror anthology, Blame It on the Pumpkin. The anthology includes her story, “Pumpkin Hollow.” Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title HH Contest Entry for a chance to win.”
Wow. Was the Bunnyman ever caught Chilling.
I can totally see this growing up into a full blown horror novel.
Loved this telling of the myth of the Bunnyman,,,,,,,I remembered some part of it from your book, but some I did not know. Very interesting!
Great write up about the terrifying urban legend from you state, Pamela. Way to HOP on it! lol