Long before Universal’s monsters took over the big screen, we were content to terrify each other around the campfire or in caves before going to sleep with our mates. Storytelling is an innate part of what makes us human, and the Cold War wasn’t the only time in our history when we’ve been paranoid or terrified to get out of bed in the morning. We’re always scared of the unknown, of what may be out there, and hyperbole and gossip are two of the more consistent staples of human society. Put that all together, and that leads to hundreds, thousands, an infinite number of urban legends and monsters of folklore that have haunted us since we were children.
Every year there is a new mysterious spirit or monster lurking in the shadows, crafted to keep children at home during the night. Sometimes they’re ripped from the headlines and twisted to frighten, because we all know stories are better when there’s a touch of horror in them. Of course, many will claim these aren’t just “stories,” that the Chupacabra is real, that the legend of Bloody Mary is true, that the Pigman is out to get you.
They’d be right. The first of what will be a long-running series, this is Famous Monsters’ first Favorite Five monsters of urban legend and folklore. Curl up by the fire, hold your loved ones, and prey that you don’t stumble upon any of these malignant entities in dark alleys. They all mean you harm.
5. THE BUNNY MAN
Bridges and train tracks are common motifs in urban legends and folk tales. Lesson? Stay the hell away from them. Drive around bridges. Shortcuts schmortcuts. Plus, many bridges ARE train tracks (a double whammy), or built over water, two places guaranteed to be haunted by some ghost who got left at the altar or got screwed on train-fare.
One such story involving bridges and train tracks is the “Bunnyman Bridge” at the Colchester Overpass in Clifton.
The first incident happened in 1970, with a couple who “parked” their car to “talk” on their way back home. They stopped at the wrong place, apparently. Soon, the front passenger window was shattered, and someone in white was outside of the window, yelling at them for trespassing. They managed to escape, but found an axe on their car floor.
Let’s pretend like it makes sense that the passenger window was smashed and the axe made it to the car floor without any sort of injury to the couple, who were clearly drunk. When they cited the incident to the police, they mentioned that the man was in a bunny suit.
Sorry, but men in bunny suits? Horrifying. Case in point:
There is not enough pepper spray in the world if you find that guy coming at you in the street.
Just ten days after that original incident, a security guard spotted a man in a bunny suit grumbling about trespassing, and threatening to bash his head in.
The legend has since grown but begins with an insane asylum and a car accident, involving many inmates from Clifton’s asylum prison. Some prisoners were found dead, but others escaped. Around that time, bunny carcasses were found hanging from trees near the aforementioned bridge, along with a body cut and hung the same way.
Police soon tracked the man responsible down, but before he escaped, he was run over by an oncoming train. The worst part? After the train passed, the police heard laughter at the crash. Every year since at Halloween, corpses have been hung in the area. It’s all so obviously true. Here’s an investigation into the story.
Bunnies have the reputation of being the softest, fuzziest, cuddliest of animals. They’re adorable. But have you bitten into a carrot? It takes strong teeth. I grew up in the “Bunnicula” generation, so don’t blame me more not trusting these bastards.
They’ve long been considered one of the most dangerous forces in nature:
If you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with this awful GIF:
The story has even inspired a crappy horror movie. Here’s the trailer:
And, if you have 9 minutes, check out this documentary of the legend: