Werewolf Radar: Mo Bunny Mo Problems
By Nate Balding
Published Issue 109, January 2023
Some would call Burke, VA — a DC suburb — an idyllic locale well-suited to raising a family. Movoto Real Estate calls it the 10th Most Boring Place in Fairfax County. And that’s compared to the constant susurration of governance thrumming from the hallowed halls of Congress just a few miles east-north-east that anyone who’s seen two seconds of C-SPAN can confirm is a mega-snoozer. Unless you’re playing that game where you take a drink every time someone you feel overwhelming spite for speaks, in which case you’re so bloody sozzled offa pig’s ear you’re second-guessing the entire revolution and ready for some argy bargy with the colonies yourself, mate.
What possible relevance could this cozy patch of townhomes and lawns subject to the Fairfax County grass heights ordinance have to the world of the paranormal? How about a homicidal lunatic dressed in a bunny costume.
Sure — it’s not truly paranormal but it meets many of the criteria for high weirdness. Costume that on at least one occasion was misconstrued as an anthropomorphic monster? Check. Hatchets, plural, hurled with deadly accuracy through car windows? Double check. Carrot-shaped butt plugs being sold as merch in the town souvenir shop, Fairfax Burke-tique? Not yet, but if you have the capital, a prototype exists and early focus groups are calling it “a total banger” and “still stuck.”
Bunnyman’s legend begins in 1904 when the residents of Clifton, VA — setting precedent for today’s NIMBYs in a callous act of dehumanization, property-value-Avengers — assembled to demand that a nearby asylum be closed and the mental patients moved. From the Seussian Times: “They did not want them near their home; they did not want them out to roam.”
So off they went to Lorton Prison.
Or would have had the bus not crashed. In the aftermath all but two inmates were accounted for — Marcus Wallster and Douglas Grifon. Shortly thereafter rabbit carcasses began appearing in the road near the crash site, gutted. Rumor was that the escapees were capturing and eating them. Then Wallster’s body was discovered hanging from the Colchester bridge, mutilated identically to the leporids, with a note left in the mud, inside the outline of a paw print: “You’ll never find me and you know it too, Signed the Bunnyman.”
Word spread and the kids got it in their heads that this was the kind of thing they should look into. The following Halloween a group of children went to the bridge around midnight. Supposedly they followed a bright light or a floating orb but it would be impossible to know as they (TW: kinderguts — if you haven’t already sent the young ones out of the room, their nightmares are on you) were found strung up and spilled out exactly as Wallster had been.
For decades it became a regular feat of childhood bravery to dare the stroke of midnight beneath “Bunnyman Bridge.” Sometimes he was a busted-ass mental patient; other times an actual Harvey poking into the real world from the shadows of anxious delusion. On one occasion he attempted to murder a boy for cold cereal in a Frasier-esque misunderstanding about who Trix were for. (Niles claims they’re for Maris; the Bunnyman simultaneously raises an eyebrow and his hand ax. Niles stammers and offers over the bowl. Classic.)
Those are the stories people used to tell, anyway.
Eventually the legend faded; people stopped seeing the Bunnyman. If he was a mortal surely he’d be near if not post-mortem. Perhaps he’d simply moved on. Maybe to the nearby township of Burke. Spoiler alert: See opening paragraphs.
It’s 1970 and Air Force Academy Cadet Robert Bennett is parked in the 5400 block of Guinea Road making time with his girlfriend. Things are going pretty well until a man dressed in a bunny costume comes bursting from the woods near the road brandishing a hatchet and screaming that they’re on private property. Adding the flourish that only a lunatic living out a Scooby-Doo episode from the villain side could do, the Bunnyman hurled his weapon at the car, shattering the passenger side window. Bennett and his girlfriend were unharmed but the terror of the experience anchored a darkness so deeply that their later coupling produced yet another lesser Wahlberg for Mark to feed on.
Over the following weeks there were other sightings. The Bunnyman slammed hatchets on the roofs and hoods of cars, shattered one more windshield with a +2 Enchanted Throwing Hatchet and generally scared the shit out of the community. Notably, security guard Paul Phillips confronted the Bunnyman as the maniac hacked at support beams on the porch of a newly constructed home a block from where Bennet had been accosted. He complained to Phillips that everyone was trespassing and fled.
And then he was done.
The Bunnyman was never caught. Two suspects were cleared within a day. The only evidence police ever got their hands on, the ax from Bennett’s encounter, yielded no forensic clues.
Witnesses said that this Bunnyman appeared to be in his late teens. Which means there’s a decent chance he’s still out there, blades to the grindstone, seething over property lines and planning to return. So if you’re one of the 41,055 people inhabiting the 10th Most Boring Town in Fairfax County, stay vigilant. You never know when that “Don’t Step On the Grass” sign is someone’s nice way of saying: NO FUCKING TRESPASSING, MEAT.
Have questions about the paranormal?
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @WerewolfRadar.
It’s a big, weird world. Don’t be scared. Be Prepared.
Nate Balding is a freelance humanoid who occasionally manifests in print and can most likely be seen at Werewolf Radar. Should you wish to hear him manifest audibly you can do so at the aforementioned Werewolf Radar’s associated podcast on Spotify and Apple, and if anything ever becomes humorous again, on a variety of stand up stages around the nation. If you’re truly craving further content there’s always @Exploder on Twitter — even if it is only a form of digital self flagellation at this point. His one thing that he considers actually accomplished was this time he was published in the journal Nature and then later collected into a volume called Futures from Nature, still available in places that have things.