Killer Clown Craze Creates Chaos

Justin Galinato, Copy Editor

They root themselves in the darkest recesses of our imagination, a far-off memory from a family trip to the circus. Goofy hair, red noses, incessant laughter: the stuff of nightmares. Clowns–equally as entertaining as they are frightening. And while the vast majority of clowns wish to bring happiness to their audiences, troublemakers posing as clowns are taking advantage of the growing sense of clown anxiety. Clown sightings and public threats have swept the nation, leaving everyone to question if this is really a laughing matter.

The creepy clown sightings initially began in Bakersfield, Calif., in 2014. Several people made calls  to the police reporting clowns holding weapons in public; however, these menacing jokesters eventually ceased their actions.

Sightings of creepy clowns began once again this year in Green Bay, Wis., when ominous photos surfaced of a clown carrying black balloons. The clown was nicknamed “Gags, the Green Bay Clown” by the locals.

Clowns also popped up in South Carolina during August of 2016. A clown in white facepaint appeared outside of an apartment complex, attempting to lure children into a nearby forest. Local children claimed that clowns offered them money to follow them to a house in the forest.

As a result of the widespread popularity garnered by these reports, copycat clowns have started creating pandemonium throughout the U.S.

In North Carolina, a man wielding a machete chased a clown after it appeared along the outskirts of a nearby forest. In Pennsylvania, a clown was seen staring through the window of a woman’s home, and in Alabama, more than nine clowns have been arrested, at least seven of which were juveniles.

Perhaps more frightening than the clowns themselves are the threats they are making. In recent weeks they have released threats to several schools nationwide.

On Instagram, a post by “sac.townclowns” released threats to seven schools in the Sacramento area, which they called their “School Hit List.” The social media page has received a following of nearly 6,500 people since its first post on October 3, 2016.

On October 5, 2016,  rumors circulated about a clown coming on Folsom Middle School’s campus. Although no one spotted the clowns anywhere near the school, the rumors caused concern among the school’s students, parents and staff.

“At this time, our administrators and school resource officers will continue to be extra vigilant in responding to and staying aware of any suspicious activity in or around school,” said John Bliss, the principal of FMS, in a statement released shortly after the rumors began,

It does not seem that the direct threats or rumors created by these clowns are legitimate, however, they are not being taken lightly by school administrations and law enforcement.

“We’re definitely keeping an eye on the grounds and making sure nobody’s coming onto campus that should not be here,” said Brian Zan, assistant principal at Vista.

Despite the shenanigans of the clowns, they are not representative of the entire clown community. Career clowns–those who adhere to the guidelines of ethical clowning–have spoken out against the behavior of the criminal pranksters terrorizing the nation.

Randy Christensen, the current president of the World Clown Association, released a statement condemning the actions of these impersonators. In it he states, “We at the World Clown Association are proponents of positive, family-friendly entertainment. We believe the art of clown is something to be treasured and enjoyed by audience’s worldwide.”

In Tucson, Ariz., there were even plans to hold a “Clown Lives Matter” march with the intention of showing people that not all clowns are evil. However, the organizers canceled the event in the wake of death threats made against the march on social media.

It seems as though the clown epidemic will continue spreading.