Nothing against those of the jester profession but lots of people fear clowns (my hand is in the air at this point!). Perhaps the phobia is unjustified, rooted in television or novels, in which case Mr. Stephen King is to blame! However, the recent epidemic of creepy clowns sweeping across the US has found its way to the UK, reinforcing why clowns should scare the crap out of us.
Here’s what we know. The first sighting took place this past August in Greenville, South Carolina. Police responded to a report of a clown trying to lure kids into some nearby woods. Witnesses said the clown had a green light, accompanied by the sound of clanking of chains. Other children in the area stated the clown offered them money to come with him and claimed to live in a house near a pond in the woods.
Classic urban legend. Right? But then the following week, another boy reported seeing a man in a clown mask three miles away from the original sighting. Then a woman saw a creepy clown the next day, watching her outside a laundromat. After this, sightings spread like wildfire, including reports by a 14-year-old in Columbus Ohio who claims a clown holding a knife chased him and a report by two kids alleging a clown near Winston-Salem offered them candy.
Interestingly, authorities found no photos, videos or other forensic evidence left behind by these clowns to verify the accusations. While there’s obviously a touch of hysteria overshadowing these cases and certainly coulrophobia (fear of clowns) has compounded public fear, it doesn’t explain why so many people have reported encounters.
At the time of writing, creepy clowns have been spotted engaging in possibly nefarious activities in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, and even across the Atlantic in England. So, will we find out these incidents were nothing more than hoaxes? Only time will tell, but for now, I’m going to keep an eye on my little ones this Halloween.