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Phobia Of Clowns Examined: Understanding Irrational Fear

Updated on October 10, 2014

Fear of Clowns

Dreaded Fear of Clowns
Dreaded Fear of Clowns

Phobia Of Clowns

Phobia of clowns is known as Coulrophobia and like many other common phobias for the person who suffers from this, it is based on a real fear and often results in quite irrational behaviour towards clowns. It is one of the top ten most common phobias on the phobia list and is experienced by many people, so please don't think you are alone. There are many more people like you in the world who suffer from what many consider a strange phobia, but all phobias are real to those who are affected by them.

Age does not apply to this particular phobia but is more usual to find it in small children and teenagers. When this particular phobia extends into adulthood then it usually can become quite serious and although not highly restrictive, because it can often be avoided, it is still an annoyance to those who suffer from it. The normal phobia treatment that is used to cure this is sometimes termed as immersion, or in simple terms, coming face to face in a controlled way with some type of clown figure.

Real Life Example of Clown Phobia and its Impact

Sources of Clown Phobia

Coulorphobia can stem from a number of sources, and I believe that this is especially true when one is younger. Most often sufferers have had a bad experience at a birthday party, or a circus where maybe a clown had ran towards you and either startled or upset you. It truly can be created as simple as this and I have seen people startled like this before, and although it remains subliminal in the main, can often stir when activated. The fear of clowns may seem silly to many people, but to those who suffer from it, this can be a very serious issue.

I am sure you have seen or been to a circus and seen clowns picking kids from the audience. It was clear to me that some of them loved the experience and also clear that many didn't fancy it at all. Quite often family or peer pressure made them go along with it at the time, with little thought about how this could impact them in the future. I also remember at school a good number of children who had a real fear of going to visit Santa Claus, and many were even uncertain or wary about the elves. Again perhaps this has to do with not being able to see the face. I also know one man who got completely obsessed with fear having watched the film "It" by Stephen King. It is strange, especially in either horror films and books just how often clowns are portrayed as being evil, when this is clearly not true. The impact of all the above is that somehow the person develops a fear of clowns which can develop into a phobia and when that happens one should always try and find a suitable phobia treatment.

This particular phobia of clowns can often extend to a wider type of fear, where the sufferer develops a fear of anyone with heavy face make-up or even wearing a mask. This is clearly identifying the mask or make-up to their original experience from an earlier period.

Symptoms of Clown Phobia

The symptoms of clown phobia are typical and will include

  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nauseous feeling
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath.

People may suffer either some or all of these

Fear Can Be Strange

Suggested Treatment for Clown Phobia

There are many treatments for phobias but I would recommend that the best phobia treatment for coulrophobic sufferers is to try and come face to face with your demons. This should not be done very slowly and not as a "sudden shock" approach. Trying to do this too quickly could actually set back the healing process, and could often completely destroy the person's confidence. It should be a slow progressive step by step method and with full support from a close friend who fully understands your problem. My own recommendation would be this.

This is based on my past experience and knowledge of being with clowns. I grew up in a small town and the circus came here a couple of times a year. I was always the first there to help them set up and watch the big tent being hoisted high into the air. I just loved the thrills and spills of the circus. I was very lucky to get to know the clowns from a very early age, both with and without the make-up. I also met the jugglers, trapeze artists, animal trainers etc.

The truth is that clowns really are just normal people whose only aim in life is to make people laugh. They really are wonderful human beings and some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I can tell you one thing for certain that they work very hard and love what they do. Isn't it strange then they are viewed in such a poor light by so many people, especially in the film industry? I can promise you and I have met many clowns that they wouldn't harm a single hair on your head. So please think about what I have just told you, as I promise you it is so very true.

Please take some time, think about what I have just said and allow that to be your guide as you move slowly through the steps. I would suggest next that in the company of a friend to perhaps get a picture or photograph of a clown and glance at it, and try to see through the silly paint and powder. Try to imagine what I have just told you, and you will see a person who simply wants to make you smile. If it makes you feel uncomfortable, then put it away for now and try again at another time. Do please go back to it again when you feel stronger.

If you have managed to glance at it, then try to look at it, then repeat that process but extend the periods of time, until you begin to feel at ease with that. There is no time frame for this and there is certainly no rush, just keep repeating that until you get to the stage where you no longer feel threatened with the picture. The important thing is once you start then do keep going. Once you have managed the picture, then I would recommend trying to watch a film with clowns in it. Don't go overboard with this and again please do this with a friend and always keep in your mind, that the clown is simply a person who wants to make you smile. He or she poses no threat to you whatsoever.

Only when you feel relaxed and comfortable with all of these should you consider a real life viewing and again only with a friend. Don't start to get anxious when you do this as you don't have to shake the clown's hand or anything. Try watching from a distance until you are comfortable with that before beginning to get closer. A nice slow phased approach is the secret. Look at others around you and you will see them smile, that is always a sign that you have nothing to fear.

The secret with most phobia treatments that succeed are to take them slowly, have someone to support you and start to believe that you are safe. Good luck as you try because I know how difficult it can be.

Hypnosis is a great way for you to start to take control of your phobia and this one worked really well for me..

Hypnosis Treatment of The Phobia

Fear of Clown Help

Clown Phobia Comments

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    • profile image

      Jennifer Lockhart 

      7 years ago

      I just wanted to thank you for not plastering a big clown on your page. This really helps with those of us who are clown phobic.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Aww, i agree with you 100%. Clowns are kinda stupid things to be afraid of, that is unless you had a bad experience i can understand. Its just that its like being racist if you think about it. Im half and half wen it comes to clowns, they're just like everyone else...there's some to trust, and some not to. So hey, i feel confident to say the clowns from Killer Klowns from Outer Space were adorable!! So everyone should face this silly fear.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My best friend is absolutely terrified of clowns. I'm not sure why, but she is. As for me, I like them from a distance, but up close they creep me out.

    • EFTcuresPhobias profile image


      8 years ago

      Luckily clowns arent an everyday experience for people otherwise I think the world could end!

      Stephen King's 'IT' has alot to answer for.

      As for treatment, EFT can cure phobias very quickly :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i suffer from a phobia of clowns quite badly and will cry almost every time i see one. i am choosing to find a cure for phobias such as this or an assesment i have at school, your tips have made me realsie that maybe clowns wont all hurt me as much as i let myself think they will, thanks for your tips :)

    • fits4life profile image

      Cherri Brown-Jett 

      8 years ago from Richmond

      Well I guess there are phobias for everything. But this is a bad one,because they are supposed to make you laugh, not cry. Nice hub. I enjoyed it.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Great Hub - I love clowns so I can imagine this phobia must be really awful for the sufferer. Thanks for sharing.

      Love and peace


    • ladyjane1 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      Great hub when I was a child I wasn't afraid of clowns, but when I was an adult I watched a documentary about a serial killer that would dress up like a clown and do child partys and he was also luring young boys to his home and raping and killing them. It was that Gacey guy and ever since then do not let a clown near me and I don't consider it a phobia but just a serious case of the heebee jeebees around clowns thanks to that nut. Congrats and good luck!

    • EndaMac profile imageAUTHOR

      Enda McLarnon 

      8 years ago from Belfast

      Thanks for all the very kind comments and I did find it interesting to research and write.

    • GeneriqueMedia profile image


      8 years ago from Earth

      Haha, like obsexed, my step daughter has a fear of clowns. I wonder if it is more present in females than males, even if research suggests otherwise?

      I feel a certain pang for those who would become unsettled in the presence of clowns--because as you suggest, they just want to make people laugh.

      Hopefully those with this fear can use your advice wisely.

      Also, kudos to this line:

      "It truly can be created as simple as this and I have seen people startled like this before, and although it remains subliminal in the main, can often stir when activated."

      It just strikes me as wonderful prose.

      I posit that phobias can be acquired rather easily, if they're not just genetically inborn (such as fear of insects and spiders). I, for one, began a ridiculous fear of zombies that I still suffer from this day after seeing the remake of Dawn of the Dead all by my lonesome.

      It can make love bites a tad bit cringe worthy.

      Welcome to HubPages--I find your particular style of writing simply captivating.



    • obsexed profile image

      Katie Butler 

      8 years ago from Sensual, USA

      My daughter has hated clowns since the first time she saw one when she was 3 or 4. She does not freak out now when she sees one, but she still prefers to keep away from them, LOL.

    • shazwellyn profile image


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Not keen on Clowns... I think it is something to do with watching IT by Stephen King. So, there is my trigger! Thanks for a great hub x

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a surprise as I didn't know this was such a common phobia. You wrote a very good hub with some interesting information. Thanks.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      When I first heard about the phobia of clowns, a few years ago, I thought it was a joke. Until I continued to hear about it. As with any fear this phobia is very real to anyone who experiences it. Congrats on being nominated for the HubNugget Wannabes. Good Luck to ya!

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 

      8 years ago

      EndaMac - OMG! I have had to deal with many phobias and anxiety in my life but have never even heard of this one. You have written a very informative hub.

      I have learned so much. The video on the other hand was a little tough to watch. I had to shut it off and I love clowns. Go Figure! Thanks so much for this very interesting subject.

      Congratulations! on being nominated to HubNuggets and Welcome to HubPages.


    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      EndaMac, what an interesting read! I have been a witness to kids being afraid of clowns but never knew that it is classified as a phobia even into adulthood. Thank you for this information. Something new to tuck into my brain today :)

      Congratulations for your Hubnugget Nomination! ALright! The Hubnuggets Team are not afraid of clowns so we invite you to come and join the Hubnuggets feast over here:

    • manlypoetryman profile image


      8 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

      I do hate Clowns! Great Hub on the subject...By the way. I would approach your suggested treatment method...but they make me kind'a nauseas...Ha! Anyways...they don't scare much as they were just an over-the-top-displeasure to me as a kid. So...they can go there way...and me...I'll go mine...far from where I have to view 'em...Yuk, Clowns!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      My mother was plagued with this phobia, so I never went to the circus-with her at least! :)

      Congratulations on your nomination-great hub!

    • Green Lotus profile image


      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Wow! One of the ten top phobia! That's amazing. I know it's a serious problem for many, so forgive me if I let out a little chuckle, but I'm a silly clown myself and I so enjoyed your Hub! Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination too!



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