Sunday, October 25, 2009

Attack of the Bunny Man

While some versions of the Bunny Man legend have his story extending back more than a century, the oldest recorded account of the Bunny Man appearing dates back to October 1970. On October 18, 1970, a Virginia couple had their vehicle attacked but what appeared to be a man in bunny suit with a hatchet (see Bunny Man: First Encounter at Guinea Road). Less than two weeks later the mysterious man in a bunny suit would once again appear, vandalizing property and menacing a security guard with an axe (see Bunny Man: Second Encounter at Guinea Road). If this indeed is the genesis of the Bunny Man legend, then the legend turns 40-years-old next year.

The legends of the Bunny Man vary from a mentally ill young man hacking up his family at Easter to a malevolent spirit that has haunted a Fairfax County culvert for nearly a century and likes to kill victims at the stroke of midnight on Halloween. Whatever the story, it is always bad news for those who see the Bunny Man.

Pay a visit to Bunny Man Bridge to learn more about the legends, but should you spot a rabbit... Run away! Run away!

-Tom GPS: Feel free to let loose with the Monty Python quotes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Investigators Needed for Possibly Haunted Theatre

I was recently approached by The Little Theatre, an art house movie theater in Western New York, about writing an article about their Halloween film festival. In the process of gathering information about the place, I found that some employees of the 80-year-old movie theater had experienced some possible paranormal activity over the years. Theater workers have witnessed doors opening and closing with no apparent physical cause and a voice that calls out the name "Anne."

While I was writing my article, one of my relatives came by and asked what I was writing. When I told him I was writing about The Little Theatre, he told me that he had been hired to install a pair of stained glass windows there. The windows were originally from the Powers Building. I instantly had an odd sensation and a vague memory about the Powers Building. I zipped over to my bookshelf and pulled out a couple of books about hauntings in Rochester, NY. Sure enough, there it was... the Powers Building and the attached Powers Hotel with their stories of haunted elevators that sometimes kill... and the first elevator victim back in the 1890s was a woman named "Annie."

I passed this information along to my contact at The Little Theatre and she asked if I could possibly find a group of paranormal investigators who might be interested in performing an investigation of the historic theater. I told her I would pass the word along. If you represent a group who is interested in conducting an investigation of The Little, you can contact their management through the contact information on their Web site. Ask for Beth.

If you'd like to learn more about The Little Theatre, it's possible haunting, and their upcoming Halloween event click here.

-Tom G

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Haunt of Moundsville Penitentiary

By now, most everyone is familiar with the infamous West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia. The facility (and its "Sugar Shack") left a rather impressionable mark as the setting of the debut episode of the MTV reality series, Fear, and kept the momentum going with recent appearances in the likes of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. Well, today marks a rather notorious date in the facility's history. 110 years ago to this day, October 10, 1899, inmate Shep Caldwell was executed for murdering his mistress. His death marked the first execution in West Virginia Penitentiary and there would be 93 more before the prison closed in 1995.

Today, the facility is open to the general public as a living museum where guests can see what life was like behind bars for the inmates of the Moundsville prison. In addition, it also offers ghost tours/hunts for the would-be ghost hunters to hone their skills and attempt to shine some light on the facility's mysterious happenings. It is run by the Moundsville Economic Development Council who takes advantage of this time of year to turn the prison into the Halloween haunted attraction, Dungeon of Horrors. Intended to raise funds for the general upkeep of the prison and keep it open to the general public, the haunt has become one of the more popular Halloween attractions in the United States - drawing around 10,000 visitors each year.

This week, a minor controversy erupted in Wilmington, North Carolina over a similar fundraising haunted attraction that transforms the USS North Carolina into the annual Ghost Ship. Local area news reported on a veteran of the ship's objections that the Halloween haunted attraction was not respectful of those that served and died on the vessel. The staff that run the haunt defended the attraction by saying that the ship did not receive state or federal funding to keep the memorial open and that the group relied on dollars raised from the haunt (and other events throughout the year) to keep the ship open to the general public.

So a question for you all - Do you believe it is disrespectful to run a Halloween haunted attraction at a facility where lives were lost - be it a prison, military vessel, or similar public venue? Does the money raised that help keeps the facility open to the general public justify the means?

For more information on West Virginia Penitentiary and Dungeon of Horrors, check out our articles on Dark Destinations:

West Virginia Penitentiary
Dungeon of Horrors

-Casey H.