“Halloween Night comes around. Nothing happens until midnight. Right before midnight supposedly a bunny or two enters the bridge. Right before midnight his soul (a dim light) walks the tracks above the bridge. When Midnight hits, his soul stops right above the bridge (dead center), and disappears, only to reappear inside the bridge. From then on it’s his soul which lights up the whole area, so brightly that you can’t even see him. That’s when he instantly kills you by slitting your throat and slashing your chest, only to hang you at the edge of the bridge. You can even see the rub marks that have worn away at the rock where the body’s were swinging. Who ever is inside the bridge ends up dead.” -Forbes
This informant grew up in Washington D.C., she would always hear about the urban legend of The Bunny Man Bridge in Virginia, which she claims was also the inspiration for the bunny in Donnie Darko. There is a very old tunnel with an overpass in Virginia. She says that in the early 19th century, an accident occured over the tunnel and it was transporting all these convicts, violent types. Some of the passengers escaped and the police were eventually able to find all of them except for one men. When they were searching for these men, they kept finding half eaten rabbits. So, they named him The Bunny Man and now that tunnel is called The Bunny Man Bridge. Also, my informant said that she heard from her friends if you go to the bridge and you walk halfway through and then turn around you will see The Bunnyman standing there. She had never tried it, but many of her friends had.
The legend of the Bunny Man is actually a very prominent legend in Virginia. The tale goes back to 1903 in Clifton, Virginia where there used to be an asylum, which was later relocated and is now called “Lorton Prison”. In Fall of 1904, many convicts were put on a bus and to get sent to the prison, but an accident happened and many of them fled to try to escape into the woods. They actually had trouble finding two of the convicts, Marcus and Douglas. However, they never found, Marcus, whom they later named The Bunny Man. Then, that October, people started seeing dead bunny’s along the roads again. On midnight Halloween night, a few kids that had gone to the bridge saw a bright light in the tunnel and then were murdered by the same kind of tool that they found in Marcus’ hand almost a year before. “Not only were their throats slashed, but all up and down their chests were long slashes gutting them” and then both guys were hung from the bridge and then the woman on the other side. This then happened for many years in the same way.
So, for this piece of folklore there was a legend component as well as a myth. My informant told me that many teens today still go and try to see the Bunny Man, but the murders only occurred around midnight on Halloween night. Some of the variations on the legend also involve the murderer wearing a bunny suit. Although this story seems farfetched, many of the articles regarding it swear on its truth. I think that these kinds of myths represent the country’s fascination with ghost stories and mysterious unknown. Also, by creating haunting figures and urban legends like the Bunny Man, it could be an attempt to stop teenagers from going to the bridge at night or partying on Halloween Night. In my research about this story, there was actually one girl who stayed away from the bridge at midnight while her other friends stayed to see if the Bunny Man legend was actually real. Supposedly, at midnight, she heard the screams of her friends and by the time she got to the bridge, all her friends were hung. In fact, she was later accused of their murders and ended up being put in an insane asylum for shock. Like other sinister figures, such as Bloody Mary, it seems like each folklore has a myth component as well as a legend behind it and they get more complex in variation as the stories get spread around.
Annotation/Additional Comments: This legend and myth can be found at this source: http://www.castleofspirits.com/clifton.html and http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/vr/bunny/
Supposedly, the Bunny Man had been reported in a few other towns in 1973 and the Fox Family Channel series “Scariest Places on Earth” did a segment called “Terror on Bunnyman Bridge’ in 2001.