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Finally: America’s Creepy Clown Obsession, Explained

As if 2016 wasn’t already the most surreal year ever, on top of everything else going on, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a so-called “creepy clown epidemic.” All over the country, people dressed up as scary clowns have been reported lurking about, allegedly trying to lure kids into the woods. What started in South Carolina back in August has now fostered dozens of copycat clowns to spring up across the country, freaking everyone right the hell out. Residents in certain towns have even been asking local police if they are allowed to shoot clowns on sight, because America.

But when, exactly, did clown go from symbols of fun and happiness and laughter, to representing our worst nightmares come to life?

For people of my parents’ generation, clowns like Bozo and Emmett Kelly and even Ronald McDonald were what sprung to mind when someone said the words “clown.” For Gen-Xers the perception of clowns began to change thanks to movies like Poltergeist and Stephen King’s It. Nowadays, you say “clown” and most people think of the Joker, or worse, real life serial killers like John Wayne Gacy.

The folks at Vox have created a video detailing not only this current “creepy clown epidemic,” but also why we’ve come to fear clowns so much in the first place, and why the victims of these clown pranks may be more dangerous than the clowns themselves. Certainly the mob of angry frat boys from Penn State shouting “F$%# Clowns!” in the video were more scary to me than any clowns they showed.

Why do you think of this “creepy clown epidemic?” And are you terrified of clowns, or are you one of those people who just doesn’t understand the whole “scared of clowns” thing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Warner Brothers
GIF: PBS

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