The Walking Dead may trip over this week’s edition of The Box

image Welcome to The Box, an exciting Tuesday feature that combines the drama of investigative journalism with the thrill of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. Think of it as “BJ and the Bear,” but with the potential of “Bear” biting “BJ” and giving him rabies.

Each week, I put my 15 years of journalistic experience to the test by identifying a randomly chosen photograph that has remained unclaimed in our newsroom since as far back as the 1980s. What makes this feature especially riveting, aside from its well-timed use of exclamation points! (see?!), is the selection process, which involves:

1) Me dumping The Box of photos directly onto the floor, and
2) Yelling “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” before turning “Skippy” loose in the newsroom.

The photo nearest the first person who screams is selected!

Make sense? Of course not! But that’s just the rabies talking.

As it turns out, this week’s photo was actually chosen by an electrician who happened to be in our newsroom repairing an outlet when “Skippy” was released. This was followed by a loud scream, a blue flash, and a different kind of release from our electrician. Regardless, we have this week’s photo, and that’s what matters. Although getting rid of the aroma now lingering in our newsroom is a close second.

Now for this week’s mystery photo…

They say never wake a sleepwalker, even if they are a stranger and fondling your hair.
Sleepwalker or zombie? And what’s her fixation with that woman’s hair?

As always, my first step was to determine a timeline to work from which, for obvious reasons, was extremely challenging. But thanks to my trained eye, if you zoom in and look closely at the reflection in the left eye of the woman who is sitting, then flip the photograph over, you will see this…

Deciphering these types of subtle clues takes years of training. And a local Rite Aid.
Deciphering these types of subtle clues takes years of training. And a local Rite Aid.

At first glance, I’m sure many of you believe you have determined the timeline. It seems obvious, right? However, I assure you the photo was not actually taken “one hour” ago, in spite of what it says. That is what we in the investigative journalism business call “a red herring,” was is a term meaning something smells fishy like “a red herring.” The real time stamp is to the left — 31OCT05 — which stands for Oct. 31, 2005.

That’s right: Halloween.

With a timeline established, I went to our newspaper’s “morgue,” which is home to dozens of leather-bound issues of Siuslaw News dating back to the late 1800s. That’s when I discovered a series of unsettling reports in the police log dated Oct. 31, 2005, describing people who “had their hair unwittingly fondled” by complete strangers who were “either sleepwalking or zombies.” Today’s image is the only known photograph documenting this strange occurrence. My investigation also revealed that the sitting woman, Blanch Beauregard, remained motionless for nearly nine hours before she was discovered in her sewing room by family members, who then snapped this photo…

After remaining motionless for nine hours, Blanch Beauregard succumbed to an itch on her chin.
After remaining motionless for nine hours, Blanch Beauregard succumbed to an itch on her chin.

The zombie-like woman fondling Beauregard’s hair was never identified and remains at large. Police believe she may be working the graveyard shift at a SuperCuts…

Police warn that if you encounter this woman fondling your hair, and she appears to be sleeping or in a zombie-like state, it's best not to wake her.
Police warn that if you encounter this woman fondling your hair, and she appears to be sleeping or in a zombie-like state, it’s best not to wake her.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Publications. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

25 thoughts on “The Walking Dead may trip over this week’s edition of The Box”

  1. Are you sure that photo wasn’t taken an hour ago? I mean, why else would it say that on the back? Then again, I’m not an expert on investigative journalism.
    Either way, it’s a scary thought. Next time I have an itch on my head, I’ll wonder if this mystery woman might be standing next to me, scratching. Naturally, I will alert the authorities right away if that happens.
    Indeed, this is scarier than The Walking Dead…and I really like The Walking Dead (the TV series I mean. Real life dead people that walk I don’t care much for).

    1. Though I consider myself to be an expert, investigative journalism isn’t an exact science. Those may not even be women in that photo. Either way, I appreciate you remaining resolute on this issue, depending on the kind of hair gel you use.

  2. A few notes…(you know I have to)…

    I’ll start with the pic…that elder woman looks like Syvlia Brown..with short hair.
    Speaking of SB, do you think she knew she was going to die?

    Blanch…I love her. (loved) I LONG to be her. She is my mantra.

    And Ned…you cant put the word BJ in a sentence, and expect me NOT to go there…

    1. I am impressed by your decorum, your mantra, and the self restraint you have shown by merely mentioning BJ in passing in spite of what I’m sure was a definite, uh.. longing to take it further.

      Thanks for remembering this is a family blog. Twisted and sometimes highly inappropriate, but a family nonetheless 😉

      1. …Ned…where is your mind!?

        I simply was talking about the BJ’s wholesale club. I love that joint.

        However, on another note. I just opened my twitter acct. I went to go press my WP to twitter. It seems someone else thinks I am on bad behavior. Twitter has suspended my acct. I only had 7 followers. And the only tweet was a retweet from the FDA. they musta heard I was onto them….

        1. I had no idea there was a BJ club. And wholesale? Must be some sort of volume discount.

          And as for Twitter, that happened to me when I first started, too. I Tweeted a recipe for “cat head biscuits” and someone from PETA thought I meant real cat heads. Obviously not from the South.

  3. Pingback: not news |
    1. Given your expertise in this area, I may have to rethink my whole investigation. I just hope she didn’t think she was picking her nose. That would be very sad.

  4. It’s nice to see a real zombie in action, as opposed to one of those Hollywood movie zombie. Thank goodness there are responsible journalists, such as yourself, out there to provide us with more accurate zombie information. Otherwise, we’d be on the lookout for the movie zombies and doomed when the apocalypse hits!

    1. Thank you for recognizing the depth of my commitment. As a responsible journalist, it’s my job to inform people not all zombies are easy to recognize by their rotting flesh and blank stare. Some, like Justin Bieber, just have a blank stare…

No one is watching, I swear...

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