One of the more weird, creepy, and — usually — non-violent fads to sweep the nation (and, now, apparently the United Kingdom and Australia as well) is the creepy clown craze, or at least the reported sightings thereof. Because apparently dressing up as a clown — often as a vicious-looking, perhaps killer, clown — was not enough for those who would twist a harmless entertainment into a frightful experience, social media has picked up on a planned “purge” by killer clowns that is supposed to take place prior to Halloween night.
Luckily for the gullible, Snopes.com, the hoax and urban myth-busting website, has investigated the rampant social media rumors of killer clowns taking to the streets the night before Halloween and executing a clown “purge” around the country. And, yes, “purge” is meant in the same context as the hit series of movies by the same name — The Purge, wherein a future world allows people to indulge their criminal desires for 12 hours on an annual basis. But are clowns going on an actual purge the night before Halloween? According to Snopes.com, no.
The conspiracy theory site tracked the rumor’s origin to a text shared by the Facebook page, “Clown Hunters,” on October 12. The text reads as follows.
“WARNING clowns are allegedly planning their own purge the night before Halloween. Stay inside, keep all pets inside and keep all doors and windows locked.”
The text ended with the must-have prompter to get things to the viral stage, “Share this post with your family and friends!”
Given its obvious design to play on both the fictitious “purge” idea from the movie franchise and the strange rash of (ominous, foreboding, evil-looking, killer — take you pick) clown sightings around the country, the text was shared directly by nearly half a million users within 48 hours of its original posting. And then there were the spin-off warnings of a killer clown purge that inevitably accompany such viral missives.
@BarsAndMelody meant to be a clown purge so no ????
— mess (@cerysanthonyx) October 14, 2016
According to Snopes.com, the killer clown “purge” text warning is a variation on various “purge” warnings for Halloween that have gone viral in the past. The rumors have thus far proven to be unfounded and relative crime on Halloween has been at roughly normal levels throughout the country. In fact, police have yet to be dispatched to intercede in a clown-perpetrated crime associated with a so-called “purge.”
Besides, as Snopes.com points out, criminal activities like breaking-and-entering, assault, and murder are illegal and still subject to legal ramifications. The Purge is simply a triad of fictitious movies with horrific storylines.
The creepy clown craze, however, is not a work of fiction (although some accounts may have been fabricated in a copycat effect, but since this has not been proven as yet, authorities have to take reports of clown sightings seriously and investigate). As the Inquisitr reported, the clown sightings began in South Carolina in August when some children and adults began reporting individuals dressed as creepy clowns in the neighborhood attempting to lure children into nearby wooded areas or toward a seeming abandoned house. The sightings soon spread to North Carolina.
But the clown sightings did not fade away. Instead, as the Hollywood Reporter notes, the creepy clowns went global, spreading sporadically throughout the U.S., then jumping the Atlantic and, finally, the Pacific.
The Mirror also reported as recently as last week that “killer clowns” have terrorized the Manchester area, creepily staring at children or into vehicles. Some, though, reportedly wielded air rifles and machetes and were actually chasing down and scaring pedestrians.
Australia’s ABC has reported 18 separate clown sighting incidents in the city of Victoria alone in the past two weeks.
But the “purge” rumors have not stayed relegated to social media warnings. As the Australian reported last week, a 23-year-old Victoria man was arrested after wearing a clown mask and carrying an axe. According to police, the man allegedly approached a lone woman in her car before moving on to menace several cars exiting a drive-through of a fast-food restaurant.
The man was later released, but police are expected to charge him with assault, weapons, public order and disguise-related offenses.
There have also been reports of clowns in New Zealand, including an assault by a duo of clowns on a woman walking home from a pub. Police are currently looking for the suspected clowns.
[Featured Image by Sergey Shubin/Shutterstock]