Clown Crazed

By: Sally Nagia

clCoulrophobia 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.

It All Started When…

By: Katelyn Colter

I never used to be scared by scary movies or stories. I enjoyed the cheap thrills, but I rationalized everything, thinking it would never actually happen. That was the case until I went to Wiard’s Night Terrors in Ypsilanti a few years ago. It’s rated one of the best in the country, and I went with my sister for her birthday. We had a huge group of people, thinking that would keep us safe and be more fun. At Wiard’s there are six attractions: four haunted houses, a tractor ride, and a haunted maze (now turned into haunted paintball). The tractor ride was alright; the best part about it was it ended with cider and donuts. The maze was also alright, nothing too spooky. As for each of the haunted houses, though, I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that much in my life. I didn’t even have a voice the next day, and I vaguely remember crying after the clown house. Don’t take this the wrong way, though, this was one of the most fun times I’ve had. Yet, again, I was never one to be that scared, but this changed everything.

After that experience, I started to be scared by everything. I couldn’t even watch cheap scary movies without screaming or jumping. One movie, I believe it was “The Grudge,” that I watched on my laptop got me so bad I flipped my laptop off my lap and broke my headphones. I also had my first nightmare in the few months following. I don’t remember much, just that there was a creepy man in my living room that I could only see from the headlights of cars that drove by. It was pretty rough.

I believe my terrifying reactions to scary movies and stories started because I was subjected to the “reality” of horror when I went to the haunted houses. When I watched movies, I was always an outsider, and I was not involved with the movie in any way. However, the haunted house put me in a role like I was in a scary movie. It was like I was in my own personal horror movie. Now when I watch scary movies, I relate much more to the characters, and I can feel their terror or dread. I watch through almost closed eyes or cover my face with a blanket. I’m afraid to watch them by myself, and when I do watch one, I have to occupy myself with “fluffy” stories for a while afterwards. Even though this haunted house slightly messed me up in terms of viewing horror, I highly recommend it. Check out their website by clicking here.

And now I ask you, has anything you’ve done or anything that’s happened to you changed how you perceive horror?

Wir Sind Alle Freaks

By: Courtney Keller

*Spoiler Alert*

Come one, come all, it’s a Freakshow! American Horror Story is a television series on FX and each season has a new horror to premiere. Season one was a haunted house, season two an asylum, season three a witch coven, and finally season four a freakshow! It is set in Jupiter, Florida in 1952 and follows one of the only surviving Freakshows in the country that is clearly dying out. It is also cross sectioned by a dark entity in the town that threatens the lives of both the freaks and the townspeople.

This season has many different elements of horror. One of the first being the “freak” element. Many of the characters in this season could be seen as almost human monsters. Some of the main human monsters or freaks are a woman with no legs, the tiniest woman in the world, a man with seal arms, a transgendered giant, a bearded woman, a man with “lobster claws”, and a two headed woman. One of the interesting aspects of American Horror Story is that many of the “freaks” are real. This may be unconventional and controversial, but I believe it really adds to the storyline. The Freakshow does not show the people in the Freakshow as different or especially freaks, but that there is a little freak in all of us. The tagline for the season is “Wir sind all freaks,” or we are all freaks in German, as the main ringleader (Jessica Lange) is a German citizen that moved to America.

The part that makes this season most terrifying is the murderous clown running rampage through Jupiter. We first get a look of the clown as a young couple is having a picnic. In the beginning it appears that the boyfriend had hired the clown as he said he had something special to ask her, but things never are what they appear to be and the clown ends up murdering the boy. The clown has also murdered a few other victims in the town of Jupiter, but no one has caught onto the fact that it is a clown just yet. As we talked about in class with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, women and children are seen as pure and innocent. Although women and children are what Mr. Hyde attacked, the clown did not kill women and children, only men. The clown has kept the girlfriend of the boy he murdered and a young child in his trailer. It seems as though the clown just wants someone to enjoy his tricks and when they do not he gets very angry.

The first episode was so packed full with information and horror that I can hardly imagine and maybe do not want to imagine what will happen in the rest of the season. This season seems to be scarier and have much more gore. I am sure all of the viewers are in for a big surprise! So do not waste anytime and watch FX at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays! You won’t be sorry……or maybe you will be.

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!