Clowns are notoriously creepy, coming straight out of a Goosebumps novel or a classic 1980s horror film. However, there is a new phenomenon that has people dressing in frightening clown costumes and terrorizing citizens all over North America.
These so-called “creepy clown” sightings have been spreading like wildfire across more than 15 U.S. states and parts of Southern Ontario, leading to arrests, school lockdowns, public school warnings and intensive police investigations. The reason behind this sinister anomaly remains a mystery at the moment, but the eerie thought that clowns are lurking in communities are leaving people feeling disquieted.
The sightings first started around August in the Greenville area of South Carolina, when several kids told police that a group of clowns offered the children money to follow them into the woods. The suspects were never found.
Since then, police departments are cracking down on people for dressing as clowns and posting threats on social media. Department stores have gone as far as to pull clown costumes and decorations from their shelves in wake of these recent sightings.
Some have hypothesized that these clown sightings originally were part of a movie promotion. The remake of It, based on the renowned horror book by Stephen King, is set to hit theatres in 2017.
King made it clear that he just wants everyone to calm down. He tweeted on October 3: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria — most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”
So, where have these creepy clowns been spotted here in Canada? In Nova Scotia, RCMP say a 24-year-old man wearing a clown mask and a t-shirt with a clown image was arrested on Oct. 1 after he allegedly tried to grab a young boy in Clarks Harbour. The suspect is facing a charge of breaching a court order. There have also been sightings of clowns outside of schools in Halifax, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Hitting a little closer to home, Niagara Police say they are investigating reports of clown sightings in the region. A Facebook post being shared online shows pictures of a clown at the Welland Avenue Wal-Mart in St. Catharines, supposedly chasing customers in the parking lot and around the building. According to The Standard, a creepy clown was spotted and people were being chased on Welland’s Main Street Bridge on Oct. 6.
With Halloween upon us, watch yourselves. It truly is a circus out there. As Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine would say, “Beware! You’re in for a scare.”
-Loredana Del Bello, Assistant News Editor