What's Up With The Creepy Clowns Terrorising People All Over The World Lately?
In the past few months, there have been widespread reports of creepy (and possibly killer) clowns running around in the US, Canada, and since the beginning of October, in Mexico, UK, Australia and New Zealand
Creepy clown sightings are believed to have started from the town of Greenville, South Carolina in August, where residents complained of people dressed in clowns talking to or trying to lure children into the woods
The incidents were first reported on Buzzfeed News, where town residents spoke of encounters that involve clowns whispering and making strange noises in the woods, clowns with green laser lights or blinking noses, and even clowns carrying chains or knives trying to lure children with money and candy.
Several children also claimed that the clowns have taken up residence in an abandoned house located in the woods, although an investigating deputy found no sign of suspicious activity or people dressed as clowns.
Before long, clown hysteria has spread across the US with clown-related sightings and threats being reported in more than 20 states including New York, Texas, and California
Many of these reports would later prove to be hoaxes, as fake news sites rushed to cash in on the paranoia. People are especially partial to articles about clown-related deaths, with made-up stories about people killing clowns, people being killed by clowns, or people being killed because they were mistaken for clowns getting thousands of shares on social media.
Nearly 30 people - most of them teenagers - have also been arrested since September for posting clown-related "terrorist threats" to public spaces and social media, falsely reporting clown sightings, and even in connection with robberies and stabbings.
At least four schools and an entire school district in Ohio were placed under lockdown, while dozens more amped up security in the face of clown-related threats. Memes, mostly created by teenagers, did not help to alleviate the paranoia.
Things escalated to the point where White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked to address the "creepy clown" phenomenon during a press briefing on 4 October:
“I don’t know if the president has been briefed on this particular situation,” Earnest said.
"Obviously, this is a situation that local law enforcement authorities take quite seriously and they should carefully and thoroughly review, you know, perceived threats to the safety of the community and they should do so prudently."
October saw the clown epidemic pop up outside the US, with creepy clown incidents being reported in Canada, UK, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand
Some reports allege that people dressed as clowns are scaring off passers-by (children included) and even chase after people, sometimes with weapons in their hands.
There were theories that the creepy clowns are part of a viral marketing stunt for the 2017 film adaptation of 'It' or the upcoming killer clown flick '31'
I read a theory that all of these clowns are to help marketing for a movie but they'll regret it when one of them gets shot— Morgan ✨ (@morgan_olivia99) September 8, 2016
However, the studios backing both movies have denied any connection with the clown hysteria.
“The company and the film '31' are not associated in any way with the creepy clowns and costumed characters found roaming the South,” a spokesperson from Saban Films told Buzzfeed News. Warner Bros., the company behind 'It', also debunked the rumours and stated that the clown sightings have no connection with the film.
How is the clown community reacting to this? To prove that not all clowns are scary and threatening, professional and amateur clowns have started the #RealClownsAreAboutLove hashtag to distance themselves from the creepy ones
Stephen King, the acclaimed author of 'It', also urged the public to "cool the clown hysteria":
Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria--most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 3, 2016
So, should we be worried about creepy clowns popping up in Malaysia? We hope not... but in the event that they do, local comedian Arwind Kumar has some killer tips on how to deal with them: