Thursday, October 13, 2016

Creepy Clown Confrontations

       I am sure you have heard by now the rash of creepy clown sightings all over the United States and now United Kingdom. These clowns either emerge from the woods to lure children in with promise of candy or money or stand on the shoulder of roads to stare down drivers. The year so far has been a crazy mess in many different respects. So what is this lunacy all about?
       Clowns mysteriously appearing in order to scare people is not new. The trend dates back to at least early 2014 when weird clowns began showing up in various towns around California. The clown appearances were thought to be a massive prank or perhaps an odd marketing campaign for the new remake of Stephen King's It, which features a clown named Pennywise who terrorizes children.
       The clown sightings soon spread to other locations. Security camera footage caught the bizarre instance of a clown ripping a pumpkin apart on the front porch of a home in Jacksonville, Florida in October 2014. Sightings increased in number throughout October 2014 as Halloween approached. The timing, along with the lack of any criminal acts committed by the clowns, lent credence to the idea these incidents ere young people pulling pranks Times have changed. 
        In addition to the incidents in which clowns attempted to lure children into the woods this summer, someone dressed as a clown was caught on security cameras brandishing a knife and rattling doors in Teas four days ago. A quick YouTube search will bring up lots of smatphone footage of alleged recent encounters with varying degrees of fright.
       Are all these videos real? Of course not. I am inclined to think most of them are staged for the views the videos are receiving due to heightened interest in the clown mystery. There have been several instances, including one man who claimed he was injured protecting his son from a clown, that were later admitted to be hoaxes. I remain skeptical of reports of clowns appearing from the woods to lure children with candy or money. The aforementioned fictional Pennywise utilizes a similar technique.
       So is any of it real/ Well...define “real.” Are there people dressing up like clowns making random appearances to scare people? Yes, it would appear so. Is this some massive criminal enterprise of which we should all fret over? More than likely not. While I am certain there will be some unhinged copycats who cause trouble, there is no need for hysteria.
       Unfortunately, there already have been instances of panic. Schools have shut down over alleged threats on social media. Anyone would worry about a pedophile posing as a clown to trick kids. But there has yet to be any school incident, and does anyone remember the warnings from the '80's kids should be wary around ice cream trucks? Our fears do not always reflect reality. This has not stopped clown costumes from being banned this Halloween for many events open to the public. It is a move I think might be an overreaction.
       The fear of clowns is actually natural. We innately look towards people faces and manner of dress to determine ow we should react to them. Painted on grotesque miles and wild costumes make it difficult to guess a clown's intentions. Therefore, we can be uneasy around them. But it is this aspect of clowns that make them such perfectly frightening elements of pop culture and Halloween. I would the to see a few pranksters ruin Halloween for everyone.    

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