News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Attention History Buffs: Were Reston's Previous Residents Homicidal Nudists? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)

colony-cover.jpegThinking back to Reston's ur-creation myth, we all know that Bob Simon created our earth-toned community out of a clump of russet brown Virginia clay and a fistful of oil company dollars back in the freewheeling 1960s.

Before that momentous event, the area's only residents were a bunch of squirrels (but not Earl), the remaining residents of the drunken village of Wiehle, which had been founded around the turn of the last century.... and, it turns out, another sort of "new town" with its own distinctive rules that residents were expected to follow to the letter.

An HOA? Not quite. Reston, it turns out, used to be home to a nudist colony, which in turn was home to a homicidal maniac who killed his wife and infant child back in 1949!

No, really.

The book recounts the major crime incidents in Fairfax between 1921 and 1990. They include Charles Holober's murder of his wife and child in 1949 in the nudist colony that is now Reston.
Wow. First of all, we plan to change the return address on all our voluminous correspondence to "The nudist colony that is now Reston, Va." Second of all, we literally leapt to the Google machine to try to learn more about this mid-century garden of Eden depravity, as did our favorite correspondent, the Peasant From Less Sought After South Reston, who knows a good story for history buffs (get it?) when he sees one.

Unfortunately, there's not much out there about the nudist colony.
The Green Forest Nudist Colony was located in Pender (modern day Reston), off Lawyers Road, overlooking the Snake Den Lake. It was open at least from 1940 to 1949. It was the site of the murder of Frances Holober and June Holober on February 24, 1949. It was also known as the "Green Foresters Club".
There's more information about the murder itself, thanks to Fairfax County Public Library Historian-Archivist Brian A. Conley, who explored the incident as part of a larger study on the county urban legend known as the "Bunny Man."
It would be hard to imagine a more disturbing event for a growing community like Fairfax than the gruesome murders of 37-year-old Frances Holober and her eight-month-old daughter, June. On Thursday February 24, 1949 Mrs. Holober and her daughter drove to Fairfax County in the company of her estranged husband Charles. All were residents of the District of Columbia. Charles Holober later told police that they had come to see the new lodge at a nudist colony to which Mr. Holober belonged.

Upon leaving the lodge the car became mired in some mud. The couple quarreled and Mrs. Holober took the child and walked away from her husband and never returned. Charles Holober spent the night in the car and got a ride back to Washington the next day. He returned with his brother-in-law and a friend to retrieve the car. Still finding no evidence of his family, the police were finally notified. An intensive search of the area was organized involving Fairfax County Police, Washington Detectives, and Boy Scouts.

About 5:00 p.m., just as the searchers were about to give up for the night, one of the detectives noted that the ground on which they were standing was very soft. Both mother and daughter were found in a shallow grave next to the lodge and less than 200 yards from where Charles Holober's car had been stuck. Frances Holober had been beaten and then shot once in the head and once in the heart. The baby girl had been buried alive.

The local community was shocked and horrified by the cold brutal character of the crime, especially when the investigation identified Charles Holober as the prime suspect. Holober later confessed to investigators that he had planned the murder for three weeks and had not intended to report the disappearance of his wife, but changed his plan when the car got caught in the mud.
BunnyMan_95662f3223_fullsize.jpgInitially found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair, Holober was later found not guilty by reason of insanity -- in part because he kept his dead pet fish in a drawer -- and sentenced to a mental institution. For that reason, Conley concluded that Holober was not a "likely candidate" to be the "Bunny Man," the spooky guy in a rabbit suit who has creeped out generations of Fairfax County teenagers.

But there's one little problem. The only legitimate documented Bunny Man incidents all happened around 1970. Holober was released in August 1968!

Be afraid. Be very afraid. And if you want to be really afraid, or at least lose all faith in your fellow man, try doing a Google Image Search for "bunny man," the end.


  1. To honor our history, perhaps we could name the new indoor tennis complex "The Green Foresters Club." Better yet, how 'bout the Snakeden area that has been denuded (get it?) of trees?

    Now what could we name after Holber...

  2. "Holberton". Three syllables. Sounds more sophisticated than "Reston".

  3. They used to hunt bare as well.

  4. I'd been wanting to ask where a person could go around here to get a good all over tan; apparently though I'm 60 years to late!

  5. Restonian, I'm increasingly distressed. Every time I come here to read the real news it starts up the video from Sunrise Valley. The music isn't so bad, and I don't have to scroll down to watch it, but then THAT VOICE STARTS and I twitch and then I have to go lie down.

    Is there some way you can turn it off unless someone clicks on it? Or is this a problem with MY computer (I'm so not a tech person)

  6. There's a lot more to the story than what is being told......................

  7. Ah yes, The Bare Witch Project.

  8. @anonymous 10:47 am:

    Like what? Inquiring minds want to know.

  9. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

    Just back from the iron man race still under way as I write. Getting up early I witnessed the launching of the entire race of swimmers.

    The most grueling part of the whole race for me was watching the participants just after their swim transform from wet suit clad swimmers to bicyclists. Most used shoes that would clip on to the peddles. Some went up the hill barefoot and had their shoes already on the pedal's and pedalled off with their feet on top of the shoe I guess hoping to later get into their shoes. Some took the trouble to put their socks on.

    The most difficult part of the whole race to me was the lady telling participants to mount up after the electronic gate and that the gate was slippery and to "stand over here" which I did't undertand. She had to say this to every participant.

    I was amazed to see on my drive home many of the participants already over to Hunters Woods Shoping center after their swim bike. Perhaps swimming biking and jogging will be the speedy way to commute Reston in the future. My compliments and admiration to all the participants.

  10. I remember tales of the Bunny Man as teen growing up in Reston!


  11. The Bunny Man roamed the woods of Shouse Village/Wolf Trap area are back in the late 70's.

  12. And also the Guinea Road area near Fairfax City. Plus Clifton! For an (alleged) recovering nudist, he sure got around.

  13. Actually, the Guinea Road incidents were back in the early 70s. They're among the few semi-documented activities of the Bunny Man.

  14. There's more to the nudist colony story than has been reported. Trust me.....

  15. Reston was the "Nude" town before it was the "New" Town.


  17. I had an uncle who was one of eight siblings. After his death my father and several of his surviving brothers talked openly of this nudist camp. My uncle had a habit of disrobing in the woods in Cleveland Park section of Washington. When he found out about the nudist camp he joined and sometimes spent days out in Fairfax County. He supposedly told one of his brothers that neew members had to stand in the middle of a circle of members while they judged his attributes.

  18. Actually, several Boy Scouts discovered the shallow grave(s) of the victims.

  19. Yes, Reston was a nudist camp.
    Some, including myself as a child, saw a woman, dressed in dirty and bloody white dress, holding a dead baby, quietly asking for help for her baby have been seen in the woods off of Fox Mill Rd. I ran all the way home asking family to help her when I was informed of the ghost. Wife murdered and baby buried alive with the mother.
    The author of this is wrong on Pender. Pender was/is the area around Fair Oaks Mall where 7-11, the Amoco Station and JJ jeans used to be.


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