There has been an increase of unrelated clown sightings across America that has families concerned for their children’s safety.
In Greenville, South Carolina, a police report detailed a clown that was offering money to children in exchange for going off into the woods. Later, on August 31, a boy spotted a person dressed in black, wearing a clown mask, apparently walking toward the backyard of a home. On the same day, a 45-year-old woman said that a middle-age man, wearing what appeared to be a clown getup, “was standing outside the laundromat, and stared at her as she exited,” according to a police report.
Two weeks, later, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, similar reports emerged. The Winston-Salem Police Department said officers responded to a call around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. The report said that the man in question was wearing white overalls, white gloves, and red shoes, as well as possessing red bushy hair, a red nose, and a painted white face. Four hours later, and two miles down the road, a second incident was reported to the police involving a suspected clown.
“The Winston-Salem Police Department is aware that similar incidents have occurred recently in South Carolina and is taking this matter seriously,” the department said in a statement, adding that patrols would be increased in the area.
Then there is Green Bay, Wisconsin, which has had its own share of clown sightings in the form of Gags, a clown that comes complete with its own Facebook page. It is a part of a marketing campaign for an upcoming horror short film featuring a creepy clown that lurks around Green Bay, according to local actor C.J. Guzan who spoke with the Green Bay affiliate of ABC.
Even so, residents seem to be taking what’s meant to be a joke far too seriously.
“It’s getting a little bit scary because people are starting to believe it a little bit more, and we’re starting to see some of those unsettling pictures on Facebook,” C.J Guzan said the local actor. “Not of the clown, but of people armed and preparing to defend themselves, saying ‘I can’t go outside because I’m afraid of clowns or whatever. That’s just a little too far.”
People have been reacting violently to the clown sightings. In Greensboro, North Carolina, there was a report of a man who chased a clown with a machete.
Many believe that the hysteria is unfounded and will die down soon. Captain Warych of the Green Bay Police says he’s dealt with dozens of calls about Gags, but wants people to know that the clown hasn’t engaged in any illegal activity.
“At the end of the day he’s doing nothing wrong,” Warych said. “So for people to post threatening comments or damaging pictures on the internet, we hope they don’t act on that, and if they do act on that, they’ll be held accountable.”
Mike Becvar, a professional clown who goes by the alias of Sir Toony Van Dukes, says that clowns are trained to encourage family friendly appeal. They are trained to interact with people in a positive way, though this approach doesn’t always work for everyone.
“I am not sure if you have ever been to the mall after Thanksgiving and watched the kids’ reaction to being placed on Santa’s lap,” he wrote. “There will be some kids who cry and scream. Should we all assume that Santa is scary too?”