If, for some reason, humanity ever reaches a low enough point to open a Viral Video Hall of Fame, "Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama" would be on the first ballot.
Uploaded exactly seven years ago today, a local news station's report on an alleged leprechaun sighting took the Internet by storm thanks to its quotability and memorable cast of characters, most notably this amateur sketch:
This video has been viewed almost 24 million times, which is even more impressive when you consider the lack of context the viewer is given. Everyone interviewed is a seemingly random person on the street. We never see a leprechaun, nor do we get the back story for why there would be one in Mobile, Alabama, of all places.
The more you watch it, the more surreal it becomes.
However, it would appear that something real is indeed going on. We see footage of police lights followed and throngs of people, all brought to us by the camera crew that has been called to the scene. We're told it's because of a leprechaun sighting, but that seems a bit unlikely.
What really happened that fateful night in Alabama so many years ago? It's pretty simple: the people of Crichton faked a leprechaun sighting to get on the news.
Here's a quote from Scott Walker, the anchorman in the studio who bookends the clip:
"It was covered as a real news story… at first. We heard reports of large crowds gathering in the Crichton community and police were being called out. We didn’t know WHY they were gathering. The way I remember it, we weren’t going out there to cover a Leprechaun sighting (that would have been a questionable decision). We were going out there to see why such large crowds were causing problems in the neighborhood. When our crew arrived, things sort of snowballed. People were looking up at a tree and saying there was a Leprechaun in it. We started shooting video and that’s when the people of Crichton took over and turned this story into an Internet sensation."
This would suggest that the story was not preplanned in anyway, at least as far as the news channel is concerned. There was some initial reason a crew was called out to the Crichton area, and it wasn't because of a leprechaun.
If you read Walker's quote the same way that I did, he seems to imply that the introduction of the news team to the situation kicked things up a notch. While the people of Crichton might have initially gathered for a different reason, an opportunity presented itself and they took advantage of it.
They saw a chance for a fantastic practical joke and jumped on it.
You see,"getting together in large groups" is not normally enough to get you featured on a local broadcast.
You know what is? A leprechaun sighting.
The biggest issue with this theory is that it rests upon the assumption that the people of Crichton were able to organically spread the word without anyone else becoming aware of what they were doing. Difficult? Sure, but definitely not impossible.
Additionally, the filming takes place over the course of a day, meaning the story had plenty of time to develop. It just makes sense.
Either that or there really was a leprechaun. One of the two.