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When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

The White Rabbit is a fictional character in Lewis Carroll's book Alice in Wonderland. He appears at the very beginning of the book, in chapter one, wearing a waistcoat, and muttering "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" Alice follows him down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. The Rabbit shows up again in the last two chapters, as a herald-like servant of the King and Queen of Hearts.

The term "Wonderland", from the title, has entered the language and refers to a marvelous imaginary place, or else a real-world place that one sees as "like a dream come true!" It is widely referenced in popular culture— books and film (see below) and pop music. To note just one example, there is a book by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami entitled Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

"Down the Rabbit-Hole", the Chapter 1 title, has become a popular term for going into an adventure to the unknown. In the film The Matrix, Morpheus says to Neo: "I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?" He also says, "You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you just how deep the rabbit-hole goes." In computer gaming, a "rabbit hole" may refer to the initiating element that drives the player to enter the game. Going down the rabbit hole is also a commonly used metaphor for taking drugs.

In an Alternate Reality Game, the rabbit hole is the first puzzle, or first event signalling the beginning.

A "white rabbit" has similar connotations, as a signal to the start of an adventure. In The Matrix, Neo's adventure begins after a message on his computer urges him to "Follow the white rabbit." Episodes of Star Trek and Lost also referenced the white rabbit.