By Jethro Swain
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns, and in the past month, it has grown exponentially.
All across the United States clowns are jumping on cars, banging on windows, and running at children.
All over the internet, and particularly on social media, you can find videos of encounters with people dressed in elaborate clown suits. The suits range from just a person in a black cloak with a mask of the murderer from the movie “Scream”, to full make-up, rainbow afro, red-nose and big shoes, with a wide, painted on grin.
Some clown sightings are for the most part harmless, but some have been dangerous, targeted at younger children. The very first clown sighting was in Greenville, South Carolina, a city where I used to live. A young boy was outside of the low-income apartment complex where he and his mother lives, when two men dressed in clown suits and make up tried to lure him into the woods and into a house at the bottom of a path. The boy thankfully ran to his mother and told her what he had seen, and wasn’t hurt, but from then on the clown sightings have only been growing.
From Greenville, in the Northwest of South Carolina, the clown attacks have spread out, predominantly occurring in the South-East, but quickly, they’re spreading all over the country.
Reports of clown sightings have been popping up across Portland and Beaverton. One woman reported to have been sitting in her car near O’Bryant Square, only two blocks away from Powell’s Books, when a clown in black clothes, black gloves, and a silver mask came up and started banging on her window, trying to open her doors.
Senior Sahil V. had his own encounter with a clown the other night; “It was about 9:30 at night and I was driving from QFC in Bethany Village. As I was driving out of the parking lot there was a clown on the other side of the parking lot walking with his hands in his pockets. It was so creepy I was amazed that I was actually seeing a clown.”
While the clown Sahil saw was no harm to him, it raises eyebrows, and lets us know that, weirdly enough to say, clowns are out there.
“I hope I don’t have a bad encounter with clowns and if I do tell my family I love them,” said Abe H.
The biggest danger with the clowns, I would at least argue, is for the safety of children. Adults and teenagers in their cars have not been in real harms way when it comes to the clowns. Most have not been known to have guns or knives, although some have, and have not been seriously injuring anyone. In a lot of cases it’s the clowns themselves who have been getting hurt more, either being hit by cars intentionally or having weapons like baseball bats or even in some cases guns from civilians being pulled on them. Where I see this clown problem going wrong, is if children are put in danger by clowns, and the timing of this phenomenon could is particularly bad, because Halloween is only 25 days away, and the clown sightings don’t seem to have reached their peak yet.
“I’d be very worried if I was a parent. These clown things are freaky and there’s so many videos of them all over, thankfully no one’s getting hurt in them it seems like but still.” said Catherine L.
As of now the clown sightings are merely scary and slightly over the top pranks, but as a parent, it raises a lot of fears. “Reality is stranger than fiction” said Maria McIvor on the clown issue, “I can’t believe something like this is really happening. Our children, or children these days, don’t have enough freedom as it is. Parents are already operating on fear and this is just another reason for them to not let their kids go anywhere.”
As the clown epidemic breaks out, just keep tabs on it, either on the local news or social media. There’s no need to be afraid of going outside because of clowns, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind and be aware of.