Haunted Road Trip: Bunny Man Bridge  

Bunny Man Bridge 1

Previously: The Lemp Mansion and Brewery.

You know what a railway overpass looks like, right? Like a random little tunnel in the middle of the road, allowing a train to cross over said road without interrupting the flow of traffic? There’s one of those running over Colchester Road in Clifton, Virginia—but it’s probably not like most of the other railway overpasses you’ve seen. It doesn’t look like much at first glance, but one thing’s for sure: You don’t visit it at night. No one visits the Bunny Man Bridge at night.

The legends surrounding the bridge are said to date back to the early 20th century. It’s claimed that a mental hospital was built in the back woods of Fairfax County in the years following the Civil War; the burgeoning population of the area, however, didn’t particularly like having an “insane asylum” in their backyards, leading to the closure of the institution in 1904. The administration transferred its patients to the newly-built Lorton Prison—but, as is the case with all good ghost stories, some of the patients escaped into the woods during the transfer. Most of them were successfully rounded up and brought to Lorton; two, however, managed to avoid recapture. Marcus Wallster and Douglas Grifon remained in the woods, surviving off of the rabbits and other wildlife that lived there and leaving a trail of animal corpses littering the path behind them. Authorities followed the trail to a tunnel bridge crossing a wide creek—but it wasn’t just a tunnel they found. Wallster had been killed, his body strung up at the tunnel entrance with a note attached to his foot: “You’ll never find me no matter hard you try! Signed, The Bunny Man.” Grifon—the Bunny Man, as he called himself—was never caught.

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A Selection of “Ghosts” Currently Haunting the Daily Mail  

sheet ghost

I’m not totally sure why the Daily Mail has started featuring bad Photoshopping ghostly occurrences in their general news vertical; if it were Halloween, maybe it would make sense, but it’s not. It’s April. So: Why? No idea. Sensationalism, probably; after all, the Mail isn’t exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity.

However, in spite of everything they’ve got going against them—lack of seasonal appropriateness, any sort of believability, and so on—they certainly are something… and that “something” is “absolutely hilarious.” Anyone who misses the “JESUS CHRIST SPOTTED IN BAKERY MUFFIN! ‘I can’t believe I almost ate our Lord and Savior’s face!’ says devout breakfast eater” days of the National Enquirer will probably get a kick out of them. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the glorious little tidbits to which the Daily Mail has recently treated us:

1. Man Demands Realtor Take Back Haunted Mansion After Discovering Gruesome Murder Took Place There:

A Texas businessman by the name of Nir Golan has kicked up a lot of fuss with his realtor after he discovered that a property he had rented in Seabrook was on the site of a place locals call “Murder Mansion.” A little digging revealed that the land once hosted a mansion built by Texas millionaire Bill List in 1984; List allegedly would pick up homeless teenage boys and give them a home in exchange for sexual favors. Eventually the kids struck back at their abuser, shooting him dead. The home was torn down and the property subdivided; one of the subdivisions now holds the house the Golan leased.

And this, my friends, is why you always do a little extra research when a deal looks too good to be true.

Golan was furious when he discovered that his realtor had failed to mention the property’s sordid past; he doesn’t care that the mansion where the murder itself happened has been torn down, saying that the property self is still tainted and possibly haunted. He’s trying to break the lease without a penalty, saying, “If you paid me money, I would not move there. It’s against my religion. You cannot force me to move there.”

Well, no; no one can force you to move into a house if you don’t want to. What you can be forced to do is pay a fee for breaking the contract you signed, which is exactly what’s happening here. The homeowner agreed to terminate the lease, but won’t return the security deposit. This situation is exactly what security deposits are for, so to be honest, I don’t really think Golan has a leg to stand on here. A law professor sourced by local news site KHOU, Gerald Treece of the South Texas College of Law, agrees, noting that in Texas (unlike a lot of states), realtors aren’t required by law disclose the past of a property like this. Treece continued on the issue of religion, “There is no duty of the seller to be a mind reader and guess the religious objections a renter could have.” Zing!

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Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Crystal Palace High Level Railway Station

Crystal Palace High LevelPreviously: The House on Ash Tree Lane.

Type: VT (Victim of Time)

Period/location of origin: 1865, London, the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a disused railway station on the west side of Crystal Palace Parade in the south London borough of Southwark. At its height of operation, it was an outstanding example of Victorian architecture; red and terra cotta brick walls supported a glass and iron train shed roof, with square towers topped with short spires marking each corner. Brick arches divided the station’s interior, and a passenger concourse above the tracks hosted refreshment rooms, waiting areas, and a booking office.

Subject has been closed to the public since 1954 and is now securely gated on both sides. The majority of the station was demolished in 1961; its only remains are the high retaining wall on the west side of Crystal Palace Parade, the vaulted subway beneath the road, and the concourse at the east end of the subway (now roofless). Bricked up entrances to the station be seen in the wall on the west side.

Modus operandi: Subject is notable for its connection with various rumors dating back to the 1930s. A story popular with local schoolchildren claims subject was shut down due to the presence of a commuter train trapped in the tunnels by a collapse. According to the story, the train was unable to be extracted; neither was it possible to retrieve its passengers. The station is said to have been walled up upon discovery that rescue was impossible, leaving scores of souls entombed in the collapsed tunnel. They are said to have remained there ever since.

An additional story claims that a woman found the collapsed tunnel in 1978 and saw within it an old railway carriage filled with skeletons clad in decaying Victorian dress. Attempts to relocate the tunnel were unsuccessful.

Both stories have yet to be confirmed, although the persistence of the rumors is somewhat troubling.

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Unresolved: The Servant Girl Annihilator of Austin, Texas

Shadow man 2Previously: The Taman Shud Case and the Somerton Man.

Since the publication of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, the name of H. H. Holmes has his status as America’s first serial killer has become common knowledge. But nearly a decade before Holmes’ “Murder Castle” wreaked terror upon the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, there was another serial killer on the loose on the United States—and unlike Holmes, this one was never caught. Between 1884 and 1885, the city of Austin, Texas, had one very good reason to keep their doors locked and bolted at night: The Servant Girl Annihilator.

The term itself was, perhaps unsurprisingly, coined by a writer: William Sydney Porter, more commonly known as noted author O. Henry. Porter, who was living in Austin at the time of the murders, wrote in a letter to his friend Dave Hall dated May 10, 1885, “Town is fearfully dull, except for the frequent raids of the Servant Girl Annihilators, who make things lively in the dull hours of the night.” Although no contemporary newspaper articles referred to the murders by the name “The Servant Girl Annihilator,” Porter’s morbidly perfect phrase stuck after the letter containing it was published in his weekly, The Rolling Stone.

The Annihilator’s spree began on December 30, 1884 with Mollie Smith, a 25-year-old black cook who was found on the ground next to the outhouse behind her employer’s home. Eliza Shelly, another cook, had her head nearly hacked in two by an ax on the evening of May 6, 1885. Three weeks later on May 22, another servant, Irene Cross, was found having been stabbed a number of times by a knife; a reporter on the scene said it also looked like she had been scalped. Mary Ramey, the 11-year-old daughter of a servant, was dragged to a washhouse, stabbed through the ear, and raped on August 30. Her mother, Rebecca, had been knocked unconscious while she slept, ensuring the perpetrator wouldn’t be interrupted. Gracie Vance and her boyfriend, Orange Washington, met their ends on the night of September 28; their bodies were found behind Gracie’s employer’s house, Washington having been hit in the skull with an ax and Vance with her head beaten so severely it was described as “almost… a jelly.”

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For Sale: Poveglia, the Most Haunted Island in the World  

Poveglia at night

If you’ve ever wanted to live on a haunted island, you’re in luck: Poveglia, a small splotch of land in northern Italy located in the Venetian Lagoon and known as “the most haunted island in the world,” is for sale. As in, you could buy it. For reals.

Poveglia housePoveglia’s got quite a history behind it; the first reference to it dates back to 421 BCE, when citizens of Padua and Este fled to it to escape barbaric invasions. It grew steadily in the following centuries—so much so that in the 14th century, it became a battleground for the Venetians and the Genoese. Then in late 18th century, it came under the jurisdiction of the Magistrato alla Sanita—the Public Health Office—and became a checkpoint for all ships departing from and arriving to Venice. 1793 saw rather a large number of cases of the plague on two ships, resulting in the sealing off of the island after all the sick folk had been herded onto it. Poveglia became a permanent quarantine zone in 1805 thanks to Napoleon “I’m Definitely Over Compensating for Something” Bonaparte.

Plague ghosts? Awesome!

Poveglia chapelEventually the whole quarantine thing lost its charm (and, y’know, presumably the danger had passed), so in 1922, the island was made into a hospital for the elderly. It operated for almost 50 years, finally shutting down in 1968—but not before some nasty rumors broke out involving the unethical experimentation on its patients. Those unfortunate enough to be confined at the hospital were said to have suffered crude lobotomies carried out by a doctor who eventually threw himself from the hospital’s tower. So let’s add hospital ghosts, mistreated ghosts, and

Poveglia exteriorAlthough Ghost Adventures did manage to finagle their way into shooting an episode there once (am I the only who really hates those guys? Seriously—I’ll take the original Ghost Hunters over them any day of the week), Poveglia has been closed to visitors for quite some time. Now, though, it’s about to hit the auction block in an effort to pay off some of Italy’s enormous debt. The hope is that someone will swoop in, take the island off the government’s hands, and redevelop the property into a swanky hotel with a 99-year lease. But hey, if you wanted to snap it up yourself and have your own private, haunted island to hunt ghosts on whenever you felt like it, I’m sure that would be A-OK with Italy, too.

Who ya gonna call?

Recommended reading:

“World’s Most Haunted Island” Up for Auction. 

Poveglia Island: Like Hell, But in Italy. 

Strange Geographies: The Happy, Haunted Island of Poveglia.

Poveglia Is for Sale, So Naturally We’ve Got Decorating Tips. (This one in particular is amazing and you should read it. Just sayin’.)

[Photos 1, 2, 3, 4]

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The Most Dangerous Games: One-Man Hide and Seek

Abandoned dollPreviously: The Midnight Game.

Instructions for how to play a version of hide and seek with with only one player first began appearing on Japanese horror bulletin boards during the summer of 2007. The craze spread quickly in Japan; the instructions were copied, and pasted, and copied again on site after site, and YouTubers began uploading videos documenting their experiences playing it. It wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that instructions for One-Man Hide and Seek appeared on an English language site… but perhaps it would have better for everyone if it hadn’t been translated at all.

As always, play at your own risk.

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