Creepy clowns have been spotted dozens of times in more than 10 states across the country and terrified residents are starting to worry the menacing trend may be the new normal in America.
This week a gang of clowns stopped traffic in Brentwood, schools were closed after a woman was assaulted, and most horrifically a high school student was fatally stabbed by a man in a clown mask.
The reports of creepy clowns are getting weirder with each sighting; they’ve gone from trying to lure children into the woods to openly attacking pedestrians and robbing banks, Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller told the Daily Mail.
“It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. It’s inappropriate, and it’s creating community concern so it needs to stop.”
Most of the creepy clown sightings are probably pranks, but police have warned the public to be on their guard if they spot people dressed in circus attire.
Here’s what we know.
The creepy clown sightings started in Wisconsin with Gags the Green Bay Clown, a viral marketing stunt gone wrong, but quickly spread across the country as copycats imitated the menacing trend.
An apartment complex in South Carolina warned residents to keep track of their children after clowns were reported trying to lure children into the woods with money, Greenville Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Flood told the USA Today.
“Obviously, this is the type of claim that we need to take seriously whether it’s valid or not.”
In another sighting, a woman was stared down by a middle-aged man dressed as a clown outside a Laundromat.
Then, in North Carolina, children told police a clown tried to lure them into the woods with candy; an adult overheard that conversation but didn’t see the man.
In Georgia, police have received several reports about creepy clowns trying to lure children into the woods and one school was placed on lockdown because of the threat to students. A Facebook page appeared Sept. 20 threatening local students with abduction by clown; four people have been arrested in connection with the event.
Alabama police arrested two high school students and separately, a 10-year old for making clown based threats and officials area still hunting another suspect who used social media to threaten students.
In Mississippi, Police Chief Kenneth Hampton spotted a clown carrying a machete Sept. 21, but the man ran away from the patrol car and hasn’t been spotted again.
Salisbury police in Maryland received reports of people dressed as clowns jumping out of bushes to scare people but were unable to find any suspects.
In the Virginia town of Fort Defiance, where it’s illegal for an adult to wear a mask, police have received numerous reports of people dressed as clowns hanging out in a wooded area.
Florida police have been plagued by creepy clown sightings. One woman was surprised by a clown jumping out from behind a tree while others reported clowns chasing children, but none of the people were armed.
This week, a high school student was stabbed to death in Pennsylvania by someone in a clown mask and campus security at York College responded to eight different reports including one about a car full of armed clowns.
An Ohio teenager was arrested for making clown based threats and Reading area schools closed after a woman reported being attacked by a masked clown who was threatening students.
Robbers in Tennessee dressed as clowns to carry explosives into a bank and steal an unknown amount of money and social media threats caused a school to go into lockdown.
In Missouri, clowns were spotted in the Ozarks before Facebook threats prompted mid-state schools to go into lockdown Sept. 30.
Students at Poudre High School in Colorado were threatened with a clown-based Facebook page and in Oregon a clown pounded on a woman’s driver side window at an intersection.
Professional clowns are outraged at the creepy clown sightings spreading across America and Randy Christensen, president of the World Clown Association told ABC News people should stop dressing up this way.
“People dressed as horror clowns are not ‘real clowns. They are taking something innocent and wholesome and perverting it to create fear in their audience.”
In an interesting twist, the creepy clown sightings have spread across America during the same time that Stephen King’s IT is being remade by filmmaker Andres Muschietti, as the master of terror, said the Daily Mail.
“The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying. I suspect it’s a kind of low-level hysteria.”
What do you think of the creepy clown sightings sweeping America?
[Featured Image by inhauscreative/iStock]