The Bunny Man Bridge
of Clifton Virginia
|First posted Oct 29, 2003|
Last update May 3, 2012
Between 1901 and 2010, I lived in Clifton Virginia. This tale was obtained from another website and is riddled with inaccuracies. However I think it makes a great Halloween ghost story so I am including it here with some grammar and spelling corrections.
Be aware, the area around Bunnyman Bridge (Cholchester Road) is mostly private property and trespassing is prohibited. Both the local resedents and the Fairfax County Police patrol the area frequently and trespassers are routinely arrested. Visit http://www.colchesteroverpass.org/ for further information concerning trespass and the real dangers one faces in the area. (active as of May 12, 2012)
I have been accused of being an old grouch in my reporting on this story. I just think that if someone is going to actually publish a good ghost story, a little research and including real events and places can make the story so much better. This rendition of the Bunny Man has so many things that are wrong, even conflicting statements within the story, that it frustrates me. The blue words indicate major errors in the story.
Hover your mouse over the blue words for descriptions of the errors. For a well researched paper on the Bunny Man check out "The Bunny Man Unmasked" by Brian Conley, Historian-Archivist, with the Fairfax County Public Library.
If you have Google Earth installed on your computer you can fly to the bridge at
Some background on the bridgeThe Orange and Alexandria Railroad was first constructed about 1850. Between Fairfax Station and Devereux Station (now Clifton) there is a small tributary stream, feeding Popes Head Creek, which crosses the path of the railroad. The original bridge was a wooden trestle similar to the photo to the right, except on a smaller scale.
Between 1890 and 1910 the railroad was rebuilt and improved. This was when the current bridge of stone, brick and concrete was constructed. At that time the road was dirt and most likely forded the stream in line with the bridge. You would expect to wade the stream while traversing the tunnel. The stream now goes under the paved road in a 12 inch corrugated steel pipe.
Old Colchester Road is the oldest road in this area. It originally went from the farmlands of northwestern Fairfax County to the wharf town of Colchester which was a major port along the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac River. Colchester Road predates Washington DC and even the port of Alexandria Virginia. The town of Colchester slowly faded into obscurity after Alexandria was founded; however, it is still shown on many maps and still has a few residents.
Amongst others, one little recognized reason for the establishment of Alexandria were the poor farming practices of the period. Lack of soil conservation, caused major erosion within Fairfax and adjacent countys. The resulting silt filled up the Occoquan River making the port of Colchester inaccessible to ships.
The demise of Colchester also spelled the downfall of Colchester Road as other roads were developed to take crops to the new port of Alexandria. There are now only a few short stretches of Colchester road which retain its original name. Most of the route is now taken up by major 4 lane highways such as Braddock Road, Fairfax County Parkway and Ox Road, also known as State Route 123.
The Bunny Man Bridge StoryThe tale of the Bunny Man goes back many many years. It originally began in 1931, after many murders had already been committed. For verification of the story, you can visit the "Old Clifton Library" located in Clifton, Northern Virginia, USA. What we are about to tell you is entirely true, although we've never seen the Bunny Man, or visited the location. Everyone who lives in Clifton, Northern Virginia believes it to be true.
(Quick reference to help you understand the story)
The Bridge is a one lane auto road passing underneath a dual railroad track, within the woods along a gravel road. Back in 1903, there used to be an Asylum buried deep within the wilderness of Clifton. After the Civil War people started inhabiting the area, population grew to around 300 or so. It was a very small town. Nonetheless people didn't like the idea about having an Asylum just a few miles down the road, so they all got together and signed a petition stating for the Asylum to relocate elsewhere. The petition passed and a new Asylum was built which is now known as " Lorton Prison Facility".
In the Autumn of 1904, some of the prison convicts were gathered and piled into the bus which was to transport them to Lorton. Somehow during the drive not too far from where they left, the driver had swerved to avoid something in the road and the bus driver lost control and collided with the trees. Most of the convicts were injured but had managed to escape the bus and had fled into the night woods. Later on the next morning a local police investigation had begun, and they had begun rounding up the escaped convicts. Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months. Every one was recovered after 4 months, except for 2 people, Marcus A. Wallster and Douglas J. Grifon.
During the search for the men the police randomly found dead rabbits half eaten and dismembered in a horrific way. Finally they were to find Marcus dead by the Fairfax Station Bridge (now known as Bunny Man's Bridge).
In his hand he held a man-made hammer / knife like tool, made with a sharp rock and a pretty sturdy branch as a handle. They thought nothing and cared not of how he died, only that he was apprehended and no longer had to worry about him. They had a name for Marcus, but later on they would realize they had named the wrong person the Bunny Man. Still searching for Douglas, they kept on finding dead half-eaten bunnies every-so-often. Finally they were to name Douglas the Bunny Man from then on.
3 Months passed by and the police had given up their search on April 7th 1905. Everybody assumed the Bunny Man was dead by now, if not gone, so they went on with their small town lives. Come October people started seeing dead bunny's reappearing out of the blue, and starting to fear the unseen. Halloween Night came around, and as usual a bunch of kids had gone over to the Bridge that night to drink and do what ever kids their age in the 1900s did.
Midnight came around within minutes and most of the kids had left, only three of them remained at the bridge. They were all found dead the following morning. Their throats were slashed with what seemed to be the same type of tool that was found next to the other escapee. Not only were there throats slashed, but all up and down their chests were long deep slashes gutting them. To top it off the Bunny Man hung the kids from one end of a bridge with a rope around their necks, hanging from the overpass with their legs dangling in front of the passing cars.
This happened on Halloween in 1905. After that, they didn't see or heard anything from him for another year. Halloween 1906 was approaching and parents as well as the teens in Clifton still remember the incident that had occurred one year ago at the bridge, his bridge, Bunny Man's Bridge. That night seven teens were left remaining right before midnight at the bridge. Thinking little of it, six remained underneath the bridge while one, Adrian Hatala had remained a good distance from the bridge hoping to have enough time to escape if the same thing happened again.
She witnessed a dim light walking the railroad track right before midnight, and stopping right above the bridge at midnight, then disappearing at the same time a bright flash was seen underneath the bridge. She heard the deafening sounds of horrific screams coming from underneath the bridge that lasted only seconds. She watched in horror as the bodies were hung from the edge of the bridge, same style as the corpses a year earlier. Horrified she ran home, she didn't tell everything she saw, just spattered words here and there that some of the folk put together to come up with her story. No one understood it, or even believed her. They charged her with the murders, and locked her up in the Asylum of Lorton.
In 1913 the same thing happened with nine teenagers this time. Halloween night again. Adrian was still locked up. They dropped her sentence, but it was too late. The insanity had finally conquered her. Even if she was released, she was too far gone to have a decent life, so she spent her remaining years in the Asylum until she finally died in 1953 of shock. No one knows what exactly she died in shock from, but supposedly she had died in her dreams, possibly dreaming of that one dreaded night. Perhaps the Bunny Man had finally gotten to her.
More murders were to take place however, although after the murders in 1913 most people stayed clear of the bridge on Halloween. 1943 rolls around, and six teenagers go strolling out on Halloween night. A couple hours later, all of them are apparently dead, same way as all the others. Investigations took place, but as usual nothing was discovered.
In 1976 the same situation occurs, this time with only three people. The only other incident that occurred since then was in 1987. Janet Charletier was enjoying the night with her four friends. Halloween night had finally come and they had gone driving out to enjoy the night after invading the children's candy bags. They had settled around 11:00 p.m. at the bridge, waiting for midnight to come. They didn't believe in the myth so they had decided to see for themselves and were bound to be the only ones who actually withstood the Bunny Man. They had waited around 55 minutes or so. It was almost midnight, Janet started getting a little scared. They all had been pulling pranks on each other, jumping out the bushes and screaming, so she was already a little worked up. Midnight came, and Janet was just walking out from underneath the bridge when the lights on the inside wall of the bridge get really bright. Apparently she then felt something suddenly tear at her chest but could not see anyone. She manages finally to exit the bridge. Completely horrified she hits a hanging body and knocks herself out. When she awakes she finds out her hair has turned grey in parts and she has been bleeding rather badly. She was lucky that the cuts on her chest were not too deep. She left and never returned to the bridge again. She has been seen sitting on a swinging bench on her balcony every morning just staring in the direction towards the bridge a couple of miles down the road. To this day, you can still find her on that bench every morning.
From then on the story dwells untouched, and unmoved. Halloween night, you will find a bunch of kids gathering around the bridge, drinking, smoking, but within minutes of midnight, everyone apparently leaves. It's been like that for the past several years.
So there you have it... A true story. Of course, things get added on over the years, but many believe in the story...
Halloween Night comes around and 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 underneath 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.
STAY AWAY FROM THE BUNNY MAN BRIDGE...