Some blamed it on the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's IT, others thought Rob Zombie was playing a viral trick for his upcoming thriller 31, but as it turns out, the creepy clown sightings sweeping America have nothing to do with any upcoming movie. And it could be connected to something far more terrifying. What started out as a seemingly innocent prank has turned into a real life nightmare. And now, these scary killer clowns first spotted lurking in the woods of South Carolina have spread to upstate New York. Will the rest of America soon fall victim to this bizarre plague?
A new report in Rolling Stone attempts to answer the question: What is going on? But their report never arrives at any clear cut conclusion. As there doesn't seem to be one. These clowns have begun to seemingly manifest out of nowhere. They hide in the woods, trying to lure children away with candy and other treats. Now, they have gotten brazen enough to stand on the occasional porch, banging chains and loud objects. Some have even been caught on security cameras.
It was on August 21 this past summer that one of the more notorious reports happened. Clown Sightings surfaced near Fleetwood Manor, an apartment complex just outside Greenville County, South Carolina. Police in the area did investigate, taking the matter seriously, but nothing was every found and no arrests were made. Soon afterwards both children and adults alike were reporting these clowns. One woman saw a scary clown with a blinking nose just standing beside a dumpster at 2:30 am. The clowns have also been spotted deep in the woods, at laundromats, and in residential neighborhoods.
Guns have been fired at the clowns, machetes have been swung, yet no reports of injured men or women in clown costumes has surfaced. The police were unable to locate or track down anyone in a clown costume. This left many wondering if it was all just a hoax or viral marketing scheme. Now, nearly a dozen cities to the East have been hit with these strange sightings. And some authorities believe the ruse will end in violence.
Caden Parmelee, a resident in Marion County, Florida, posted a Facebook video that showed a clown lurking in the brush alongside a dirt road. That video has since gone viral. Another woman in the state reported a similar incident. Walking her dog in Palm Bay, she claims to have seen two clowns. About the sighting, she says this.
"I never run but I turned and ran back to my home as fast as I can."
Florida has become just the latest state to be plagued by this haunting epidemic. It has spread like wildfire through Forsyth County, where a clown was seen wielding a large machete, to Winston-Salem, where children claim the clowns tried to lure them with money and candy, to Henrico county, where a number of parents have reported clowns leering at them from distances too far to catch the perpetrators.
There is one answer delivered in Augusta county. Local woman Holly Brown reported a creepy clown lurking in the nearby woods. It turned out to be her 12-year-old son, who has autism. He reportedly donned his Halloween costume early because he was excited about the holiday. Brown insists that her son meant no harm, and will not wear his costume again until the 31st.
The clown epidemic has spread into Pennsylvania, where local authorities have found themselves flooded by clown reports. Some have been spotted driving around in trucks, scaring children. In Ebensburg, one woman saw a Peeping-Tom clown peering through her window. And at York College, a safety alert has been issued after eight different scary clown sightings were reported near or on campus. Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and New York have also succumbed to this nasty outbreak of painted men and possibly women.
Now, police are starting to arrested anyone dressed like a clown on suspicious behavior charges. In Alabama, 7 individuals are facing felonies due to making terrorist threats. And two juveniles are facing lesser charges. In Middlesboro, Kentucky, police arrested a 20 year old man who was found dressed as a clown, hiding in a ditch. In Virginia, two teens were locked up after they decided to don clown costumes and go around scaring small children. In this past week, the list of incidences continues to grow with no end in sight.
While the creepy clown phenomena is just starting to sweep across the nation, the problem actually stems all the way back to 1981. Yes, three decades ago, sinister clowns were known to terrorize Boston and neighboring towns throughout New England. During this rash of outbreaks, the clowns were only ever seen by children. No adults ever reported the sightings. But that all seems to be changing with social media and the heightened use of security cameras across the country.
At the time, cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, who studies the finding of animals not yet categorized or discovered by human kind, named this epidemic the Phantom Clown syndrome. throughout the decade, these Phantom Clowns spread to Kansas City, Denver, Omaha, and Pennsylvania. These clowns were usually spotted in the weeks, and sometimes months, leading up to the Halloween holiday. The Phantom Clown theory is rooted in the philosophy of the "primal dread that so many children experience in their presence." John Wayne Gacy is noted as the first creepy clown, when his alter ego Pogo the Clown was unveiled in 1979 at the time of his arrest for serial killings. Pogo was known for frequenting children's birthday parties. Scary clowns also became more notorious after a certain scene in the 1981 horror classic Poltergeist, which had a sinister clown doll terrorizing a child. And then Stephen King immortalized his killer clown Pennywise in the 1987 novel IT. The character reruns to theaters next year in a big screen remake of the book and 1990 miniseries.
At this time, a solution to the Phantom clown phenomenon remains unknown. Beyond bringing this hoax to an end, it seems authorities are more worried about some of the violent acts innocent men and women might succumb to in protecting themselves from these scary clown sightings. Child psychiatrist Dr. Steven Schlozman of Harvard University says that the clown phenomenon is not the problem, but the aftermath is what people should be afraid of. In his own words, 'It never ends well.'