A Clown in Town

By: Gina Brandolino

In the horror course we talk about lots of horrifying figures in fiction, but click here to read about one that’s cropped up in real life in the English town of Northampton, which is about 70 miles north of London.  I was excited to be able to post this article on the blog, since a few students have mentioned King’s It as their favorite horror story and I’ve been feeling kind of bad not to have any clowns among the course readings (well, except for the one in Poltergeist).

I really wonder what the person dressing up as the clown is up to–why do it? What does this person gain from the experience?  Got ideas? Post a comment!



7 thoughts on “A Clown in Town

  1. I’ve never been afraid of clowns, so this story doesn’t scare me since this clown has clearly not been violent or hurting people. I think it is interesting that he has taken to social media, and it makes me think that he is trying to evoke some kind of response and gauge the public’s reaction. Maybe this person views himself as an entertainer and feels “clowning” has been dying and wants to stir up some news. Whatever his reason, when I read this article I thought of the Ann Arbor violinist that dresses up in the wolf mask. I googled it and was surprised to find that “Violin Monster” actually has identified himself – which makes him a lot less creepy and unfortunately a little less interesting. You can see his picture and read about his motivation here – http://www.annarbor.com/news/unmasked-zachary-storey-talks-about-life-as-the-iconic-violin-monster-of-downtown-ann-arbor/

  2. I am actually very afraid of clowns due to bad experiences with them in the past, so reading this story and seeing the pictures scared me a bit. This guy says that he doesn’t have a knife on him, and I guess he doesn’t really mean any harm in dressing up as a clown and walking around, but him doing that can really freak some people out. A phobia of clowns looks to be pretty common in a lot of people. He says in the article, “If what i am doing does get too much for people, I will have to stop.” I’m kind of hoping he does soon. The idea of someone walking around dressed as a clown sounds horrifying, especially if it’s at night and also, if it means people may start copying him. In my opinion, I think he is doing this mainly to get noticed and gain popularity through social media and the news. Maybe he just likes dressing up as a clown to give people a fright and shake things up in his town.

  3. To me, the whole thing sounds like this man’s idea of a joke. It doesn’t seem like he means any harm by what he’s doing, and if there’s no evidence he’s hurting anyone, I don’t think there’s an issue with it. To be fair, if I saw a clown wandering around my city in the middle of the night, I’d be scared senseless. But from this distance, it just seems funny. I’m not sure exactly what he gets out of it, especially if he’s out there by himself, but to each his own. It’s possible that this man’s just gotten bored with the hand life has dealt him lately, and has found a unique way to keep himself amused. Again, I am most definitely not saying that this sort of incident wouldn’t terrify me if I experienced it firsthand, but from here I’m just laughing.

  4. I’m not sure as to his intentions, but on the topic of clowns I’ve always wondered about the phobia’s origins. Besides the fear being created by bad/traumatic experiences, I’ve also talked to people who have no past experience as a basis for their fear of clowns, similar to cases of arachnophobia and fear of heights. In the latter case, how can something that is 100% a human construction be an inherent fear? Is such a phobia a recent occurrence due to circus culture, or was there medieval jester-phobia? I do not know the science behind phobias, but there are theories about arachnophobia and other phobias as being evolutionary in nature, and even if these were true it is hard to believe there is such a “natural” explanation for an inherent fear of clowns. Can it just be a case of “crossed neurons”?

  5. It seems a bit odd that a guy would just go around town posing as a clown. His intentions are not exactly clear, and I think that is what makes it the most unsettling. Interestingly enough, I found this article in Huffington Post about a guy who parents can pay that dresses up as a clown and will follow your child around for whole week leading up to the child’s birthday. Link Here: http://tinyurl.com/d389rse That’s seems like a pretty cruel joke, and I feel like that could start to induce legal implications. Is one practical joke worth paying for therapy later?

  6. I’m not afraid of clowns at all, I mostly find them irritating and question why a grown man or woman would want to wear crazy makeup and hang out with children all day (that sounds terrible). I am terrified of the circus though, which I suppose is strange, but there’s a very definite reason for my fear. My parents took my sister and me to the Barnum and Bailey Circus Museum when we little and the entire museum was basically a shrine to performers who died in freak accidents (which begs two questions: 1. Why did my parents think this was a good idea? and 2. What kind of circus museum, because who else is interested in circuses than children, dwells on the most horrible parts of the circus?). I’ve only ever had horrible experiences at the circus, but the fear curiously doesn’t extend to clowns.

    In response to Kyle, I’m sure that a fear of clowns is taught to children. There have been studies that show children learning to fear snakes from their parents, and having no inherent fear on their own (sometimes even playing with the snake).

  7. I’m not afraid of clowns, a few of my friends are very terrified of them and I can’t seem to understand why. I agree with Amelia on them being irritating. I’ve had encounters with clowns, both at circuses and children’s parties and I haven’t met any clowns that I’ve actually liked. I do think fears/all reactions of children are learned by parents (and I’ve actually read about this last year while taking Psychology). Personally, I have rarely seen any child run from or act out in fear because a clown was present. In all the situations that I have been in involving children and clowns, the child always seems to be magnetically attracted to the clown, and follows the clown around until the clown leaves, and sometimes even cries after the clown leaves from the area. Maybe its just the children that I’ve been around that are like this.

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