Freaky Friday: CLOWNS!!!!
May 17, 2023
There are many things that people fear: spiders, snakes, heights, and enclosed rooms. These are fears that people will most likely have to face every once in a while. However, the fear of clowns is a fear that, if you’re lucky, you can avoid facing by staying far away from any circus. But what if you were walking home from school one day, and at the corner of the street you see a clown watching you?
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. This fear could be because of their unsettling makeup, their odd costume, or their creepy behavior. This fear has likely arisen due to the negative portrayal of clowns in popular culture.
Stephen King’s It didn’t help how clowns are viewed. This book and movie series is about a group of children, and later adults, who face off with a clown named Pennywise. Many people became terrified of Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of the character. There is also the horror movie, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and multiple other clown horror movies that have terrified the public over the years. Of course, this isn’t the first time a killer clown has scared America.
Pogo the Killer Clown
From 1972-1978, a man named John Wayne Gacy was convicted for killing 33 young men and boys in his suburban Chicago home. Before his arrest, he was a member of a clown club and performed dressed as one of two characters, Patches the Clown, and the more well-known, Pogo the Clown.
Gacy performed at multiple different functions and parties in his community, even staying in his costumes after performances. Due to his association with clowns, the public began to call him “Killer Clown”. This is likely one of the reasons why people now see clowns as being creepy.
2016s Killer Clowns
In August 2016 reports of people seeing clowns started. The activities of these clowns varied, ranging from creepily watching people, chasing people in the street, and, in one case, attacking a family while they were buying ice cream for their little girl.
The sightings happened in the US and parts of the UK. The authorities believe that it was all a hoax people were participating in to scare the public. A possible reason behind this scare was it being a PR stunt to gain hype for the new Stephen King It movie that would come out a year later, though this was later denied. Even still, authorities urged people to quit the mischievous behavior and cease causing panic in the public.
Effects of the Sightings
As the internet was very popular compared to the century prior, news of the creepy clowns was heard far faster than before. Costume stores pulled clown costumes from shelves, circuses, and other clown businesses were hit with controversy, and McDonald’s had to keep Ronald McDonald under the radar for a time to avoid loss in profits. It all got to a point where the president of the World Clown Association, Randy Christensen, had to take a stance against the idea that clowns are meant to scare people.
The Halloween of 2016 had people worried that there would be an attack or ‘clown purge’ during the holiday. Fortunately, these rumors proved to be false and the clown sightings quickly came to a halt. Were these sightings all part of some massive hoax meant to scare the public? Or was there always something under the surface about clowns that we hadn’t noticed before 2016?
If you’re walking home from school and you see a clown, I’d be cautious if I were you. You don’t know whether the clown is a killer or not. And even if it’s not, that doesn’t mean that its purpose is to spread joy. It may be there to spread horror and make people scream. Maybe even make you scream.