Multi-state clown scare creates fear, worry


Clara Longo de Freitas, Staff Writer

 The “creepy clown” phenomenon started last summer in South Carolina, when residents of Greenville County reported that there were clowns trying to lure kids into the woods. Since then, the clowns became viral on social media and have appeared in 48 states in the US, including Alaska, Hawaii and the territory Puerto Rico.

   Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, has been sparked in many Americans because these events do not seem to be unrelated. The structure of the cases is very similar. In Salisbury County, Maryland, for example, three men were seen at night, two with white suits and one with a black suit, with the iconic puffy blue and orange hair. In the Winston-Salem area, in North Carolina, two kids reported that a man in a clown costume was calling them from the woods. A man confirmed to the police that he heard the so-called clown. However, in both cases, the police did not find the suspects.

   Many middle and high school students have taken advantage of this event and the mass hysteria involved. A 12-year old in Wisconsin sent text messages to classmates, alleging to be one of these clowns, and said that she knew where they went to school. She proceeded to say over the account, “If you see a red balloon, just know I was there”.”

    WJ has also been subject to these threats. A student received a message in early October with a warning that “WJ is next” and that the clowns would come on October 6, during fifth period. The head of security, Howard Baeubien, stated that the security is still investigating this case, but they believe that it was a student from Walter Johnson. Baeubien said that there is no reason to worry.

    “I’m not saying that I wouldn’t approach [the clowns ] seriously, but they are not a potential danger,” said Baeubien. “It probably just started as a prank and it took off from there.”

     On October 16, the World Clown Association’s president, Randy Christensen, spoke up, affirming his organization’s stance against such threats.

   “The World Clown Association shares laughs and comic relief everywhere for the positive, wholesome enjoyment of their audiences,” he said. “We hope our audience realizes that there are different categories in entertainment. We stay on the positive side of things providing fun, g-rated, child-friendly entertainment.”