Clown Sightings – Patrick Deary

It seems like clowns took over America this Halloween season.  Throughout the U.S. there have been sightings of people dressed as clowns on the side of the road or even walking around a school’s campus.  It has even landed a spot in our social media where you can go to a Facebook page called @clownsightings, and find out where the nearest sightings are located.  Many of these clowns have even posed as a legitimate threat as seen in cases where they have tried luring kids into the woods or even walking around with a weapon of some sort.  The other negative side to this new craze is the new wave of “clown hunters” who go out looking for clowns to beat up, and in some cases kill, whether they pose a real threat or not.

   This whole clown ordeal is actually not that new, it has just been reoccurring every few years.  It started back in Boston in 1981, (five years before Stephan King’s IT was released), when a social worker was wondering what was up with all the recent clown sightings.  He later on went to send letters to other cities asking if they had the same issue, and turns out they did.  This was even before there were social media sites to spread the word about the fad.

   This new craze isn’t just one big prank either, it is actually quite dangerous.  There are many so-called “clown hunters” who want to go out and harm anyone dressed as a clown though only a select group of these clowns are actually trying to lure kids into the woods or are armed with weapons of some sort.  There is a definite sense of paranoia focused around this internet craze.  Many innocent people who were just creepily waving to someone across the road as a joke were beaten up or even murdered.

   Some schools were even put into a lock down or shelter-in-place due to clown sightings on campus.  Some cities have even gone as far as to ban clown costumes during the Halloween season. Hundreds of individuals were planning on dressing as clowns, myself included, making for a huge inconvenience this past weekend. To close a school or ban a costume over what is usually an unarmed clown is kind of ridiculous.  Some amateur college students have even gone on what’s called “clown haunts”. This is when their school is on lock down and they believe violence is okay if you’re wearing a clown costume.  As someone who is a clown at a local haunted house, I have to be careful where I go after work as I am often still dressed in my clown attire.  Those most affected by the paranoia are probably the professional clowns you see in the circus or at birthday parties.  This whole craze is ruining their image and possibly their career as everybody is starting to be afraid of clowns all over again.

   Social media has definitely played a major role in the paranoia surrounding this new clown craze.  Many people were not able to be a clown for Halloween this year like they wanted to.  Those who did dress like clowns had to watch themselves as many people were out looking to do actual harm to these individuals.  The fame around this trend is also causing some really sick people to dress as clowns to help get away with whatever evil act they set out to do.  The paranoia around the clown craze is making it progressively more dangerous than it already has been.

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