Legend of the Bunny Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban legend spawned from the internet tells a fantastical tale of Northern Virginia's "Bunny Man".   This version of the tale is actually quite notable because of the number of specific facts given. The legend claims that in 1904 inmates from an insane asylum escaped while being transferred to Lorton Prison. One of these escapees, Douglas J. Griffon, murdered fellow escapee Marcus Wallster and eventually became the Bunny Man. Not only is the location identified, but also the names of several victims and the dates of their murders. 

 With a little research, this urban legend is quickly dismissed.  First, there has never been an asylum for the insane in Fairfax County, Virginia. Second, 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. Third, neither Griffon nor Wallster appear in the court records of Fairfax County at that time. Finally, the date of 1904 would put the Bunny Man into his 80-90s by the time of the most documented incident of the Bunny Man from 1970; which does not match any description of the assailant from police reports and statements taken at that time.

 October 22, 1970

The Bunny Man was placed into the spotlight based on two incidents in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1970, but has been spread throughout the Washington, D.C. area. The legend has many variations; most involve a man wearing a rabbit costume who attacks people with an axe.  By 1973 the so-called "Bunny Man" had been reported in Maryland and the District of Columbia. His infrequent and widespread appearances tended to occur in secluded locations and usually tell of a figure clad in a white bunny suit armed with an axe threatening people or vandalizing property. By the 1980s the Bunny Man had become an even more sinister figure with several gruesome murders to his credit. Although he has been reported as far south as Culpepper, Virginia, his main haunt has been the area surrounding a railroad overpass near Fairfax Station, Virginia.

1940-1964

But from where did he come?  While investigating the statements of the urban legend and the murders going back to 1904 we did begin to uncover some kernels of truth - all which lead back to Laurianne Woods.  There was a Douglas J. Griffon, though he was born in 1940 to Edith and Walter Griffon of Gainesville, VA.  Griffon was left fatherless after Walter was killed while serving during WW II.  Griffon's mother smothered Douglas after the death of his father.  He was never let too far from her sight or allowed to socialize with other children.  The two lived in a secluded home left in disrepair in the area that is now the Laurianne Woods.

Starting in 1958, numerous missing person reports for children in the Prince William and Fairfax County areas began to crop up. None of the missing persons were ever found until a case in 1964.  June Holober, a student attending Barat College, went missing when returning home on winter break.  Two weeks later her body was found in a wooded area near Bull Run.  Clues lead police to Laurianne Woods before the trail went cold.  Griffon was questioned by police as a person of interest, but there was nothing to tie him to the case.  Shortly thereafter Griffon disappeared. No records of Griffon exist in the Northern Virginia area until 1970 when court records show several misdemeanor charges for trespassing.

It is our suspicious Douglas Griffon fled the area, but was still active in his crimes in other parts of the country before returning home to pick up his obsessions.

Was Griffon the true Bunny Man? Was it all a hoax? Have there been multiple people in the role to keep the legend alive?  Enter Laurianne Woods and travel back to 1964 to uncover the origins of the Bunny Man and see if you can stop him before he strikes again.

 

​HAUNTED LAURIANNE WOODS | GAINESVILLE, VA | hauntedlauriannewoods@gmail.com

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