On March 14, 2006, bedlam broke out in the Crichton neighborhood of Mobile, Alabama. According to some locals, there had been verified sightings of a Leprechaun in the vicinity.
Seeing how it was just a few days before St. Patrick’s Day, the whole thing likely originated with somebody’s goofy grandpa or crazy uncle teasing some young-uns about a mystical little green creature and his pot of gold. As these words fell on the bewildered and naive little ears, it probably elicited a few “nuh-uhs”. So, goofy grandpa/crazy uncle, built on his case exclaiming “they are real! I saw one up in yonder tree!” From there, word of a bearded pipe-smoking little man and the treasures to be had if he was caught spread like wildfire throughout the neighborhood.
If you ever played the game some call “telephone” where a phrase is whispered in one ear and passed on down a line to see how accurate it is by the time it gets to the last person, you probably know how this innocent teasing turned into mass hysteria in the neighborhood. Word got back to a local TV news crew and thankfully the whole episode was preserved for the ages.
You suspect most of the participants were just out having fun. A few kids may have been true believers. But then there was a mix of other folks who are just plain crazy. Combine all the ingredients, add a pinch of salt, stir, and bring to a boil.
The whole incident is an interesting study in mob mentality and how people can get swept up in a hysteria. But mostly, it was just another funny chapter of life in Alabama.