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Underground Societies: The Leapers


When journalist Gabrielle Calise stumbled upon an old, grainy, black and white photo featuring a couple, John and Sarah, standing in front of a billboard that read, “John Loves Sarah and will prove it on Feb. 29, 1992, ”it immediately peaked Calise’s curiosity. She wondered why anyone would choose February 29th? Especially when it came only once every four years. Thus her search began. And after her trail ran cold on John and Sarah, she ended up with something far more intriguing than she ever expected.

She discovered a whole group of people who called themselves “leapers.”

Her first run in with a leaper was a man named Peter Laches, a Tampa ‘leaper’ who works at MacDill Air Force Base.

Laches explained to Calise how, every four years, “Laches’ friends choose ‘age appropriate’ gifts to match how old he is turning in leap years. Think coloring books, a bal