The creepy clown sightings of the summer of 2016 haven’t let up yet. Despite initial beliefs that the creepy clowns, which were originally seen in South Carolina, were nothing more than the overactive imaginations of children, the seriousness of the summer of the creepy clown sightings has gone from laughable to deadly in the last week. On Sunday night, a Pennsylvania teen was stabbed to death by an as-yet apprehended suspect in a clown mask. While police continue to search for that person, creepy clown sightings keep spreading across the U.S., and people (including law enforcement) don’t believe there’s anything funny about what’s going on.
Summer 2016’s creepy clown sightings originally began at an isolated apartment complex in South Carolina. At first, parents thought their kids might be making things up, but then things took a creepy turn as parents began to see and hear the clowns that were reportedly trying to lure their young children into the surrounding woods with promises of candy and money.
Things got so bad that the apartment complex management sent out a letter warning residents to be on the lookout.
Even so, many people who hadn’t yet experienced the creepy clown sightings thought that they were nothing more than hogwash. Until witnesses in multiple communities, then multiple states, began to witness the creepy clown sightings for themselves.
Within a couple of weeks, police departments in multiple states, including South Carolina, North Carolina, and Ohio, began working active investigations into the clown sightings. All to no avail. One Ohio teen even claimed to have been chased by an unidentified assailant in clown garb near a school bus stop. That teen said that the costumed and masked clown was wielding a knife. A handful of people claimed to have evidence of the creepy clown sightings in the form of photos or videos, but still no identification or arrests were made.
Fast forward a few weeks and to the state of Kentucky. That would be the first real break in the multiple cases of creepy clown sightings in the U.S. On Friday, September 23, a 20-year-old male named Jonathan Martin was arrested near a Middlesboro, Kentucky apartment complex. He was decked out in a black-and-white clown costume, complete with a creepy clown mask, and he had been reported to be lurking in the woods near an apartment complex (remember South Carolina?) attempting to lure children away.
Prior to Martin’s arrest, Kentucky police had warned would-be clowns to knock it off, threatening to arrest anyone caught “lurking” in a creepy clown costume. Many other states impacted by the summer’s creepy clown sightings have done the same.
“Dressing as a clown and driving, walking or standing in public can create a dangerous situation for you and others. While dressing up is not, in and of itself against the law, doing so in public and thereby creating an unnecessary sense of alarm is illegal.”
Even though an arrest has finally been made in connection with the creepy clown sightings, the trend hasn’t stopped. It’s unknown whether the sightings that have spread across multiple state lines are even connected, and even with Jonathan Martin behind bars, the clown sightings have continued.
As USA Today reports, the creepy clown sightings have been reported from Georgia to South Carolina and even as far west as Colorado. Just a day ago, in the wake of the deadly, clown-related, fatal Pennsylvania stabbing, a car full of creepy clowns was spotted driving on campus at a Pennsylvania college. Some believe that carload of clowns may have even been armed.
Recently, in LaGrange, Georgia, police dealt with reports of a clown trying to engage kids. Things in that state got so bad that a school was put into “soft lock down” after multiple reports of creepy clown sightings. Arrests were even made in that state, but neither of the two people taken into custody was actually a creepy clown. Rather, they were people who allegedly lied about seeing clowns trying to lure children.
In Alabama, someone was arrested for making “clown threats.” However, that someone was a 10-year-old child threatening local schools with clown-related nonsense. Two high school students were also arrested for a controversial and threatening clown-related Facebook page.
Other states that have reported sightings and/or crimes related to the creepy clown sightings include Wisconsin, North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida.
Just today, reports WKTV, the creepy clown sightings have spread to central New York state. Reportedly, a “creepy killer clown” was seen near a K-Mart in Herkimer, and a second sighting was reported hours later just blocks from the first.
So far, nobody really seems to know what’s going on with the creepy clown sightings. While a death was reported in Pennsylvania, allegedly perpetrated by an assailant in a clown mask, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the clown sightings across state lines are related. In many instances, the clown sightings have been reported to be softly threatening but non-violent. In even more cases, the sightings have been determined to be nothing more than hoaxes.
Police departments in many states have declared dressing as a clown in public as probable cause to be arrested. Despite the threats, the clown sightings haven’t stopped.
With Halloween fast approaching, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a decrease in people appearing in public in clown costumes anytime soon.
What do you think? Are people right to be wary? Are the clowns a threat? Are they nothing more than a fabrication or a prank? What would you do if you experienced one of the creepy clown sightings firsthand?
[Featured Image by Joe Prachatree/Shutterstock]