Photo suggests existence of car-stealing Leprechaun

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.
“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.
There are a handful of battle cries that have become so deeply woven into the fabric of our culture that they are iconic and timeless:


Okay, so that last one may only be iconic on this blog. Nonetheless, it’s a battle cry that goes out every Tuesday, moments before I let “Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel loose in our newsroom. At first glance, this doesn’t seem to make any sense. But, just like one of those 3D paintings, keep looking at it and things become clear. If you continue staring, though, there’s a good chance Skippy will bite you. So to save time — and possibly a series of rabies vaccine injections — I’ll take a moment to explain what’s going on here.

Each Tuesday, I utilize my investigative journalism skills to determine the circumstances within a photo selected from The Box: a collection of unidentified photos that have remained unclaimed in our newsroom since the 1980s. Think of it as an early form of Snap-Chat, except without all the nude selfies.

In order to ensure the selection process is completely random, I wait until my fellow reporters are deep in concentration (i.e., snoring) before dumping the contents of The Box onto the newsroom floor. This is when I holler “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” and Skippy goes to work in the newsroom. The photo closest to the first person to scream, whether it be a man or woman, is chosen.

See? I told you it wasn’t as crazy as it sounded!

That brings us to this week’s mystery photo which, at first glance, appears to be a standard traffic stop here on the Oregon coast. Nothing much out of the ordinary. Aside from the size of that ticket, which means it must’ve been a fairly serious infraction.

Seems like a fairly ordinary traffic stop, right?
Seems like a fairly ordinary traffic stop, right?

At this point, most reporters would probably be satisfied with that explanation and the investigation would end here. But I’m not like most reporters. In fact, my editor has remarked, on more than one occasion, “Thank God I don’t have any other reporters like you.”

But this post isn’t about me and my accolades; it’s about finding the truth. To do that, we must take a closer look at this photo.

We must study it.

Scrutinize it.

Dissect the photo section by section.

Um, then we must get Scotch tape and put it back together…

Investigative tip: When dissecting a photo, it's not actually necessary to physically dissect it.
Investigative tip: When dissecting a photo, it’s not actually necessary to physically dissect it.

As is often the case, I found myself in the “morgue” at our newspaper, which is where we have issues of Siuslaw News dating back to the late 1860s (Although I’m pretty sure my editor has issues dating back even further. But we should probably stick with newspapers…)

In our newspaper's morgue, pointing for dramatic effect.
In our newspaper’s morgue, pointing for dramatic effect.

It didn’t take long before I found the lead I was looking for, in the form of a series of mysterious car thefts back in 1985 — the last of which was a red Camero belonging to the local Masons lodge. Though eye witness accounts of the car thief varied, my investigative skills recognized two common denominators:

1) All of the witnesses had been interviewed outside the Beachcomber Tavern.
2) They all described the thief as resembling “A tall Leprechaun.”

Taking another look at the photo, all the pieces began falling together.

Tall Leprechaun...
Tall Leprechaun…


Red Camero belonging to the Masons...
Red Camero belonging to the Masons…

I’m sure many of you are way ahead of me at this point. However, for the sake of those who have been distracted by what they fear are sounds of a blindfolded, rabid squirrel somewhere in their office, I will summarize the irrefutable circumstances captured in this photo…

Like the Scotch tape holding this photo together, the evidence is clear
Like the Scotch tape holding this photo together, the evidence is clear

The officer, recognizing the Mason’s stolen red Camero, gave chase before eventually forcing the driver into this parking lot. It was at this point he discovered the driver was actually a Leprechaun. Don’t Leprechauns have a pot of gold? Haha! Of course not! They write a check…

A Leprechaun check, written in disappearing ink of course!
A Leprechaun check, written in disappearing ink of course. Sorry officer!

The final piece of the puzzle is the license plate, which literally dares anyone to catch him…

Leprechauns are so full of themselves.
Leprechauns are so full of themselves.

Though the series of 1985 car thefts remains “unsolved,” I think we can agree the power of investigative journalism knows better.

Now, if only the “power of investigative journalism” knew where Skippy went…

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)

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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...

29 thoughts on “Photo suggests existence of car-stealing Leprechaun”

  1. I usually get to you posts around 1:30 or so p.m. Today, I’m ahead of the game. Let me thank you for keeping me awake after lunch. This is the time I usually nod off but your investigative news keeps me from sliding off my chair. 🙂

  2. Ned, I find your investigative analysis to be superb, as usual. There is no doubt in my mind that you have solved the case. In passing, though, and at the risk of being blasphemous, I thought I should point out that I have serious doubts that Skippy is a squirrel. I suspect he is a ground-hog masquarading as a mad squirrel for a nefarious purpose as yet undiscovered. Wiki quotes a ground-hog expert trainer (Doug Schwatz) as saying :”Their natural impulse is to kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out.” This sounds exactly like a perfect psycho-analysis of Skippy. You should likely take action to keep this devious ground-hog from further tarnishing your reputation as a world class investigative jurnalist (sic) by refering to him as a “squirrel”.

    1. Paul, your eye is keen. The truth is, a lot of people have known for a while that Skippy is actually…

      *checks newsroom for any sign of Skippy*

      A groundhog.

      I’m not even sure he’s rabid. I think he’s just mean and pissed off all the time. But I DO know that neither I or anyone else I know wants to be the one to tell him. So for the time being, he’ll just remain a “rabid squirrel” with a blindfold — *wink*

  3. I think – no, I’m certain – that I am in the presence of the greatest detective who ever walked the earth. But whilst your investigative skills are undoubtedly supreme, it is really your ‘dramatic pointing accompanied by an incredibly serious stare in order to really get across the magnitude of the situation’ that elevates you to such lofty heights. It was an excellent stare and an excellent point, and I salute you.

    1. Thanks so much, Becky! The ability to stare and point dramatically is a skill I have honed as a parent. Whenever my kids consider arguing with me, it works like The Crane move in “The Karate Kid.”

  4. The squirrel/groundhog is superb as was your investigative ‘work’. However, the photo of George Sr and Barb caught my attention immediately.

  5. You really work for the FBI or as a British special agent, right? I knew that that all this writing stuff is was your cover…
    Do you also take your martinis shaken and not stirred (or is the other way around?)

  6. “Don’t Leprechauns have a pot of gold? Haha! Of course not! They write a check…”

    They also pay by VISA, MasterCard and Bitcoin but do not do American Express.

    1. It was another tough nut to crack, but they don’t call me “The Nutcracker” for nothing! Never mind that it came from the time I slipped on the monkey bars in the fourth grade…

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