The Crichton Leprechaun (known alternatively as the Mobile Leprechaun or Alabama Leprechaun) is an urban legend and internet meme involving a purported leprechaun seen in a tree in Crichton, a neighborhood of Mobile, Alabama. The Crichton Leprechaun rose to international fame in March 2006 following a news report filed at local NBC affiliate WPMI-TV. The video was posted to YouTube on St. Patrick’s Day 2006 and fueled media attention to the story and the city. The clip became one of the first YouTube viral videos and was referenced in mainstream media. Merchandise relating to the video and an alleged sketch of the creature also rose in popularity.
As of 2015, the video has over 24 million views.
The report received attention from MSNBC, radio personality Howard Stern and received a piece in The New York Times, in which columnist Virginia Heffernan called the clip “a local Alabama news segment that seems too hilarious to be real. Reporter Brian Johnson was interviewed by radio stations in Dallas and Los Angeles following the report. Political commentator Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor debated the video’s intentions, claiming that the piece purported racial stereotypes. The video was also lampooned on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Key and Peele, and South Park. Tosh.0 featured the clip in a “Web Investigation” segment, with host Daniel Tosh visiting Crichton and interviewing those involved with the video. Tosh referred to the clip as “the Gone with the Wind of Internet videos. It’s old. It’s famous. And it makes the South look terrible.” Many quotes and elements of the video, most notably the alleged leprechaun sketch, were printed on T-shirts, mousepads and other merchandise. WPMI-TV later auctioned off the leprechaun sketch for $1,100 on eBay, with the proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
The clip continues to receive media attention annually on St. Patrick’s Day. Walker now works for WDSU-TV in New Orleans and has written on his website about the report: “It’s fun to be part of something that’s talked about so much for so long, although some of my co-workers are probably really tired of it. But I never get tired of hearing about the Crichton Leprechaun.”
The Real, Crichton Leprechaun