Photo from ‘The Box’ reveals evidence of possible Liberace séance

"Skippy" the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

“Skippy” the rabid, blindfolded squirrel.

There are certain iconic phrases woven into the fabric of our collective experience. They are phrases which, upon hearing or seeing them, create an anticipation that has been engrained in us since childhood…

Once upon a time…

It was a dark and stormy night…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!

Only that last example, however, means it’s Tuesday and time for this week’s edition of The Box in our newsroom! For those who might be unfamiliar with this weekly feature, possibly because your parents never read you the fairytale about a magical newsroom that lives in the shadow of a rabid squirrel named “Skippy,” I should probably take a moment to explain so this all makes sense.

Each Tuesday, with the help of Skippy the Rabid Squirrel, I utilize my investigative journalism skills to uncover the mystery behind a photo selected from The Box: a collection of unidentified photos which — much like Dolph Lundgren movies — have remained unclaimed since the 1980s.

Because credibility is important when it comes to journalism, particularly when it involves rabid squirrels, I utilize the following random photo selection process: While my fellow reporters are deep in concentration (playing Farm games on Facebook) I dump the contents of The Box onto the newsroom floor, then yell “RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!” and toss Skippy into the room. The photo closest to the first person to scream — including myself — is chosen.

See? I told you it would make sense!

As some of you may remember, last week’s edition was postponed when I was tapped out as a volunteer firefighter to respond to a car accident involving a cow. The driver was unhurt. And due to the investigative skills gained by reading this weekly feature, you have probably deduced by now that the cow — who we’ll just call “Patty” — was not driving. Though I wasn’t able to get my post up (Yes, I already regret saying that) I WAS able to reveal the photo that will be the subject of today’s journalistic investigation…

I think it's safe to rule out Navy Seal  reunion.

I think it’s safe to rule out Navy Seal reunion.

As always, the first step is to identify clues establishing a timeline. There are two telltale pieces of evidence that helped me conclude this photo was taken 1989. The first is the use of the nylon eyeglasses strap worn by the guy on the far right…

After ruling out that he was wearing an iPod or hearing device, it was clear that we were dealing with a late 1980s fashion sense...

After ruling out that he was wearing an iPod or hearing device, it was clear that we were dealing with a late 1980s fashion sense…

The second piece of evidence, which is perhaps more definitive, is this guy. Or more precisely, his shirt, which I donated to St. Vincent DePaul in 1989…

How do I know it's MY shirt? Because, mercifully, they only made one of these horrible shirts before the designer was fired and later found work at Aeropostale...

How do I know it’s MY shirt? Because, mercifully, they only made one of these horrible shirts before the designer was fired. He later found work at Aeropostale…

With our timeline established, it was time to figure out what was going on here. This sent me back into the archives here at Siuslaw News, where I began searching through the year 1989 for more clues…

In the Siuslaw News archives, also known as "The Morgue," demonstrating how pointing adds an extra element of drama to an otherwise meaningless moment...

In the Siuslaw News archives, also known as “The Morgue,” demonstrating how pointing in a place called “The Morgue” adds an extra element of drama to what is essentially a collection of old, dusty newspapers…

This led to the discovery of an article with the headline:

Local Liberace and Séance clubs cross over

In the article, members claim the pianist, who died two years earlier, made an appearance “during a ‘joint’ meeting of the two clubs.” Note the placement of quote marks in that sentence, which could be important.

Along with the article was this photo, which could also be important…

I'd be willing to bet that one of these guys is named George...

I’d be willing to bet that one of these guys is named George…

Because there was no Photoshop back in the late 80s, and the guy who faked the Lee Harvey Oswald photo was no longer alive by the 80s, I had to conclude that both photos are genuine. My guess is that the photo that includes the spirit of Liberace is probably somewhere safe, next to someone’s candelabra.

My bet is on that guy with the horrible shirt.

(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, Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.)

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34 thoughts on “Photo from ‘The Box’ reveals evidence of possible Liberace séance

  1. Now, Ned, I actually was looking for clues on this last week, and started with that guy, too. From what I recall of ’89, there were no goatees. In fact, I don’t recall them until 1995. Then again the guy in your thrift shop shirt has longish hair, which makes me think you might be right about ’89. I actually think I might have couple-skated with him to Journey.

    The equally exuberant handpresser (why can I hear Morrissey singing “Ouija Board, Ouija Board?”) seems to be sporting some very Guttenberg (Steve, not Bible) tresses, so maybe they were delighting over securing primo seats for the release of “Three Men and a Baby.” The wee one in the front with the REM skater hair is harder to tackle, bc that hair existed through 1994. I will defer to your journalisting sleuthing, but just know they may have all been really out of style, and it was 2011.

    • Kerbey, I am impressed with your sleuthing and yet unsettled by your willingness to reveal couple-skating to Journey. Then again, I had REM skater hair and have no room to talk. The thought that this photo could have been taken as recently as 2011 did cross my mind. Especially since I recently saw a mannequin wearing that horrible shirt last week at the mall.

      And “primo seats to Three Men and a Baby?'” Hahahaha!

    • That’s what I thought, too. Then I realized it’s probably the result of him concentrating so hard. I’ve seen that phenomena many times on Ghost Hunters. Not on the show, but coming out of my son’s head.

    • You nailed it, Hipster! I started it several months ago after I found the box — full of unidentified pix from the 80s — when we were rearranging the newsroom. I picked out the strangest ones, found a rabid squirrel and the rest is history. Kids will read about it one day.

      Glad you like it 😉

  2. OK, this is pretty eerie, but no one seems to have noticed the super freaky, unearthly, yet bizarrely flesh-toned appendage that appears in the photo. My God, what could Liberace have been trying to say?

  3. Spooky. Not the Liberace séance because I am used to strange from reading this blog.

    I am curious (not that kind of curious, in case you were going to go there) — how did Skippy become rabid? Your editor, perhaps?

  4. Skippy bears an uncanny resemblance to a beaver. Not to blow fluff on your parade (we are talking of Liberace, after all) but a non-rabid beaver is far, far better at picking photos than a rabid squirrel. Stick with the beaver.

    Oh… and the back two guys seem to be anticipating some sort of liquid refreshment from the roof. If you’re truly trying to narrow down the time of the photo, I’d look for a hurricane or monsoon that occurred in your 1989 time-frame.

    • You know, Chris, I have had my suspicions about Skippy from the start, but have not been able to approach the topic of him possibly being a beaver without him getting mad. Someone from Australia sent me a photo of a white beaver and the resemblance is uncanny (To Skippy, not me.)

      As for the two guys in the back, I’m thinking I have a better chance of nailing the timeframe by researching any major marijuana busts in 1989…

  5. You know Ned, I still think the most obvious answer is the best – there was a time traveller involved. He (or she) no doubt went back to Liberace’s time, kidnapped him and brought him forward to the seance. Because of time dilation Liberace arrived in a much smaller version. The picture was taken and then Liberace was returned to his own time. The time traveller then placed the picture in The Box and came back to the present. There have been quite of few of Skippy’s photo finds that seem to have involved time travel. It’s possible that he is trying to send a message. This little treasure trove of time related photos seems just too convenient to be coincidental. I am starting to suspect that Skippy himself may, in fact, be the time traveller. He could be testing your investigative junalistic talents to determine if you are the right operative he needs for a big operation he has coming up. He may very well be an associate of Dr. Who. Don’t scoff, stranger things have been know to happen. After all Superman was from Smallville, a little town about the size of Florence, and look at how world renowned he became.

    • I think you may have a point there about Skippy possibly being a time traveler and utilizing tests to find a suitable fellow time traveler to join him — or possibly take over, like in Green Lantern — at some point in the future.

      Or maybe YOU’RE the time traveler who left The Box thousands of years ago after bringing it here from the future (now the past) knowing the “chosen one” would find it and demonstrate his or her worthiness.

      Then again, we might both just have rabies…

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