By: Sally Nagia
Coulrophobia is defined as the irrational fear of clowns. Often times, people develop this fear during their childhood years, and their aversion to clowns stays with them throughout their adult lives. Personally, I never understood this phobia. I had always thought that everything about clowns, from the way they looked and dressed to the way that they acted, was hilarious. However, a slew of current events has caused me to reconsider my perspective.
A few months ago, in rural South Carolina, numerous children reported interactions with creepy clowns who were attempting to lure them into the woods using money as incentive. According to these children’s claims, the clowns live in an ominous house in the woods that is nestled near a stream. However, police investigations revealed that the strange house did not contain any clown paraphernalia, or clowns for that matter; the clowns seem to have appeared out of nowhere and disappeared shortly thereafter. These initial creepy sightings have given rise to clown hysteria all over the nation.
Clowns have been spotted in 33 different states so far, and, much to my own horror, they seem to be closing in on my current residence. These strange figures have been reported to be brandishing knifes, chasing down children, or simply standing under a streetlight in the dead of night waving at their victims. Although some of the clowns that have been sighted turned out to be teenagers playing pranks on their communities, other cases of clown sightings seem to be truly dangerous.
But how has this clown craze escalated so quickly? Creepy clowns have mainly targeted children and young adults, which are both populations that have a prevalent social media presence. I have seen countless Snapchats, Tweets, and Facebook posts of my friends or friends of my friends capturing glimpses of creepy clowns in their neighborhoods and on their campuses. With every retweet and Facebook like, we are amplifying the clowns’ power and spreading their horror. Horrifyingly enough, we are agents of these monsters.
We are currently immersed in a real-life horror story. The most horrific part about this narrative is that we do not know exactly how these creepy clowns operate or what they want from their victims. There is no way to predict where they will show up next or what antics they will use. We can’t even tell which clowns are dangerous and which ones are just pranksters.
I cannot say that I still think clowns are hilarious; in fact, I now have severe coulrophobia. These days, my walks home consist of me frequently jumping at the sight of a tree that my mind has morphed into a clown, with its branches waving at me. While I know that this fear is completely irrational, the true accounts of clown run-ins are constantly reminding they could be lurking at every corner. Although there have been no reported sightings of creepy clowns in my area, there is one thing I know for sure: They are coming.