Clifton’s infamous (and kinda terrifying) Bunny Man legend has been made into a rock opera. No kidding! The Clifton-based Mantua Finials rock/folk band has written 26 songs about the Bunny Man, that white guy in bunny outfit with an axe who terrorized Fairfax County for a brief period in 1970, was never caught and later had Clifton’s Colchester Overpass unofficially renamed “The Bunny Man Bridge”.
The stories are a big hit at campfires, and now they’ve got a beat.
Band leader Jim Waters was 11 years old and living in Mantua when the Bunny Man first struck.
“Word of mouth over the next couple weeks was like wildfire,” said Waters to Patch. “And these two acts of vandalism (reported in the Washington Post) became viral and exaggerated to the point where it was then determined there was a man in a bunny suit that was an axe murderer and that it terrified all the local children.”
The first incident occurred in the Kings Park area of Fairfax County on Oct. 22, 1970. Air Force Academy Cadet Robert Bennett parked his car with a date in the woods when a man in a bunny costume ran up to the car and accused the couple of trespassing and smashed a window with an axe.
Then on Halloween night the night watchman around that same development was making his rounds and discovered the Bunny Man yelling about trespassing and hacking away at the front porch of a newly built home. The security guard ran to get his gun, but the Bunny Man skipped off.
And where does the Bunny Man like to hang out? At the Bunny Man Bridge, where police are often called because daring teenagers like to park their cars at night to get a glimpse of the haunting figure.
“Only when my own daughter succumbed to the temptation to go out to the bridge and we got the call from the police at midnight to identify who she was that I was telling my brother about it the next day, and we rediscovered this legend,” said Waters.
The Mantua Finials will be performing selections from “The Legend of the Bunny Man” on Sun., Sept. 15 at Jammin’ Java in Vienna.
Young Peter is living in Fairfax County with his parents Jack and Mary, who, it turns out are not what they seem. Jack - the Bunny Man - is an escaped convict who marries Mary, a resident of Clifton’s Ivakota Farm, which is a home for unwed mothers and their children. As events unfold, Peter’s growing awareness of his parents past culminates in a darkly comic resolution.
Waters, 54, sings and plays guitar, owned an insurance agency for 27 years and moved to Clifton in 1998. He is now a full-time musician with the five piece band.
“I’m just having the time of my life, and this project has taken a life of its own, and I’m clocking a good 8-10 hours a day, just from recording, mixing, producing and marketing,” he said. “My goal is to get someone more skilled in applying it to a screenplay. To be honest with you anybody can have their pipe dream. Mine is that Tim Burton picks this up.”
Mantua Finials Band Members:
- Josh Rowley
- Carol Gaylor
- Mark Johnson
- Chris Piller
- Jim Waters