Conjecture Regarding Creepy Clowns

Theories regarding the current clown hysteria within the media.


Photo via WikiMedia under creative commons license.

  Recently, there’s been a large influx of clown sightings all across the United States. Even recently on Tuesday, there were two sightings in Huntington Beach.  It all began in August in Greenville, South Carolina where children in the Fleetwood Manor apartment complex building reported sightings of clowns trying to lure kids into the woods. Residents of the complex received a letter in the mail informing residents that if sightings took place they should inform the police and thus began an age of hysteria. Many still wonder how many of these sightings were legitimate or if they even ever happened. One could assume that it was simply a child’s imagination after staying up late at night watching one of the many forms of media which incorporate clowns such as the film version of Stephen King’s “It” or “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.

     There are many theories behind what caused this hysteria. In psychology, it is explained that most people only spread rumors if they personally believe that they are true or if they are anxious because of them. The current situation may remind some of the McMartin preschool trials and the hysteria surrounding preschool and daycare centers during the 1980s. Each and every accusation could have been attributed to child imagination or in some cases they were merely children reveling in the attention that they were getting. Similarly, it is theorized that most of the recent ‘clown sightings’ were just children crying wolf in order to get attention.

     Another theory is that most of these recent clown sightings are a P.R stunt by a media company which is certainly not uncommon. It was revealed that clown sightings in Green Bay, WA were purely a form of marketing for an upcoming independent film called ‘Gags’. In another case, a video was released in Agawam, MA featuring a sighting of ‘creepy clowns’ which was later revealed to be a marketing ploy for a local haunted house.

  The final theory is that it’s all just an elaborate prank started by someone who wanted to scare people and it took off due to the media. In the spirit of the Halloween season, everyone decided to  play along. Many teens dress up as clowns and cause havoc, but in any case they’ve caused a much greater stir than intended; police resources are being used to follow this hysteria and they listen to calls everyday reporting sightings. 

  Whatever the case, the hysteria, mystery and overall allure of this entire clown fad will pass. Stephen King, the writer of a famous science fiction novel “It”, which features a clown character, is quoted in saying, “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of ‘em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.” Hopefully, everything can go back to normal and people will see clowns as specifically a form of child entertainment rather than a threat. 


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