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Send in the Clowns....with Malice and Menace

Updated on August 20, 2020

Sightings of evil, ominous clowns, are being documented in the news these days with equal parts bizarre and alarming frequency. The tales of evil clowns involve the mysterious harlequins chasing victims while holding bladed weapons are overshadowed by horrifying reports of attempts to lure little children into the woods. Even though our society continues to advance educationally and technologically, these sightings of evil clowns show mysterious, mythological horrors that may still creep into real life and shatter all illusions of safety and stability.

Such results are possible even when many stories of scary and frightening clowns bear all the marks of dark-themed practical jokes and hoaxes.

Blurry photographs along with eyewitness reports minus credible evidence - common elements of inconclusive proof in reports lake monsters and bigfoot creatures - have returned. Instead of Mothman of West Virginia or The Werewolf of Wisconsin or the Dogman of Michigan or the Lizard Man of South Carolina, humans are being terrorized by vengeful, violent clowns. The latter live deep in the woods and only turn up at night.

Those who remember the 1970's era news reports of cryptozoological humanoids and animals notice many similarities between Bigfoot creature-type sightings and evil clown sightings. Different unexplained phenomenon, same general sighting format.

There is one thing that does set evil clowns apart from mysterious monsters. Anyone inclined to become an evil clown just needs the costume, the greasepaint, and the motivation to terrorize a neighborhood. Evil clowns are, after all, only evil people.

Perhaps "hoax" is not even an appropriate term for evil clown sightings. A man who dressed up in a monster suit pretending to be Bigfoot wants to convince others a missing link creature exists. A clown is not a mythical creature. Being a clown is a profession and/or a hobby. Once someone dons a clown suit and goes about in public, he's not committing a hoax. He's a clown.

Are the tales of clown menace exaggerated? Are some persons or objects mistaken for vengeful clowns and reported as such due to media-induced clown hysteria? Are there people in clown suits running around the land trying to frighten others? Perhaps those questions all have to be answered based on the circumstances of each actual incident - an evasive answer perfect for any unsolved mystery and unexplained phenomenon.

Likely, people are dressing up as clowns and playing jokes on others. Inevitably, some persons see one thing and, with the mind working tricks on them, assume they have come across one of those evil clowns.

And there are probably some scary individuals out there who do dress up as clowns with malice in their hearts.

Strange Clown Incidents Occurring with Alarming Frequency

Clown sightings seem to be occurring all over the United States. Recent news reports are telling the chilling tales.

  • ITEM! After he exits a school bus, a young man in Ohio is chased down the street by a knife-wielding clown.
  • Item! A clown carrying balloons by roadsides scares residents in Staten Island, NY. (Later revealed to be associated with a motion picture company)
  • Item! Clowns with machetes and baseball bats have been terrifying people living in a small town near Bakersfield, CA.
  • ITEM! The sheriff in Greenville, SC, announces anyone dressed as a clown in public will be arrested on site.

"...if someone is dressed up as a clown and holding a weapon in a threatening manner, that's going to frighten people."

-- Statement from the Bakersfield Police Department.

The Strange Cinema Connection

Assumptions abound that the arrival of mysterious clowns on the fruited plain is related to the cinema-driven popularity of the grease paint adorned villains. Rob Zombie's 31 is forthcoming this Halloween season. The film features traveling carnival workers trapped in a warehouse and being forced to run a gauntlet of murderous, violent clowns. 31 follows the release of the D.C. Comics movie Suicide Squad, a film featuring two very evil clowns - The Joker and Harley Quinn. And a lot of buzz is emerging regarding the remake of the Stephen King classic It. Pennywise the Clown is returning to haunt children and adults again.

Motion pictures have driven myths in the past. The classic films The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) and The Mysterious Monsters (1975) both did a lot to stir up belief in and sightings of Bigfoot. Some have gone so far as to blame hype about the sneak previews for 31 for the rash of clown activity in South Carolina. How much of this blame on the film is provable is anyone's guess. The film may be a convenient scapegoat, but the increase in evil clowns in theaters over the past year has spiked interest in the nefarious characters.

And then there are the copycats who build on the actions of those inspired by cinema fiends.

Once someone gets notoriety and attention for doing something, another person is going to mimic the behavior. People attracted to pulling hoaxes - the hoax being the clowns are murderous or supernatural - try to top previous hoaxers. They also don't like to come forward and spoil all the mystery surrounding the hoax. Nor do they wish to go ahead and end up in any legal trouble - trespassing, disturbing the peace, and the like.

Why are Clowns Evil?

What is in the heart of a clown that leads to being evil, menacing, and dangerous? Are not clowns supposed to be delightful characters who seek to bring joy in people's lives? The traditional character of the clown is a happy one, although sad clowns were popular circus characters as well. The concept of an evil clown is simply a twisting of a typically "good" character.

A funny circus clown reflects levity, pure fun, and harmless humor. A simple, hobo-ish clown should threaten no one. When the image of a clown turns evil, then all the lightheartedness of the clown is inverted.

The evil clown is the opposite of the beloved good-natured character. Since the good clown is seen as being innocuous, the bad clown may very well be the devil incarnate. Malicious, evil, and harmful is that nefarious clown.

The evil clown, in a sense, reflects the Jungian "dark shadow persona," hiding behind a public image. Good clowns and evil clowns look the same. The way they act is what sets them apart. Where is it written a good clown cannot also an evil clown at times? Looks are, of course, outwardly images. What exists within the psyche contributes to behavior. The venerated image of a friendly clown could hide a devious monster.

The good clown who turns out to be evil ends up infusing humans with a feeling they find very difficult to accept: betrayal. Artists have borrowed the emotional uneasiness grim clowns present for decades upon decades.

Clowns are not new additions to the horror or dark folklore realms. Edgar Allen Poe presented a clown prone to do awful things in the classic 19th-century short story "Hop-Frog". 1874's play La femme de Tabarin by Catulle Mend├Ęs featured a team of murderous clowns....shades of 31.

In the 1970s, clowns, and horror fused in real life with the arrest of serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Gacy had donned the persona of "Pogo the Clown" for special events and parties. This led to him being dubbed "The Killer Clown." Grotesque as it is, the Gacy case contributed to the use of evil clowns in modern horror works.

And now the horror has come to life - again. A lot of mystery surrounds the continued presence and motivations of these mysterious clowns who are haunting roads and wooded areas under cover of night.

Unlike many creatures and boogeymen of folklore, evil clowns are not likely to just fade away. How could they? They're real.


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