No clowning around. Reports of “killer clowns” terrorizing and scaring people have been spreading across the country, and now people in more than ten states have reported sightings.
On Friday, September 30, schools in Reading, Ohio, were closed after a clown made a veiled threat to students while attacking a woman on her front porch. Kim Youngblood, 45, told police that she was outside of her home around 2:30 a.m. when a man in a white mask, red wig and striped costume grabbed her by the throat, the New York Post reports. “I should just kill you now,” the clown reportedly told the victim, before adding, “Some students and teachers would wish they were never born at the Jr. and Sr. High School today.” The creepy character was then startled by a nearby noise and let her go before running off.
South Carolina has been facing its own clown epidemic since August. In one report, several children in Greenville reported clown sightings and that the creeps tried to lure them into the woods with money, USA Today reports. However, police have been unable to locate anyone in connection to the case, but the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Master Deputy Ryan Flood said, “Obviously, this is the type of claim that we need to take serious whether it’s valid or not.”
The clown phenom may have made their way up to North Carolina, too. On September 4, two kids in Winston-Salem claimed that a person in white overalls, white gloves and red shoes with red hair and a red nose tried to get them to come into the woods by offering candy, according to the Associated Press. An adult also heard the clown’s voice, but did not see him. Winston Salem police said they are increasing police presence due to the unverified sightings.
The horror doesn’t end there. In Tennessee, two suspects — one in a clown mask — brought explosives into a Memphis, Tennessee, bank on September 28, according to USA Today. The duo stole money from the bank and drove off in a car, and police have yet to apprehend them.
In one of the most horrifying incidents, a 16-year-old high school sophomore was fatally stabbed in Reading, Pennsylvania, by a man in a clown mask. A suspect, Avery Valentin-Bair, was arrested on first-degree murder and other charges in connection to the crime, the AP reports.
The string of clown sightings doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Residents in Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia have also reported incidents involving clowns. However, some of the sightings have been investigated and turned out to be hoaxes.
In Kansas City, Kansas, police had to post a message to their official Facebook page to reassure residents that there’s no real threat of clowns. “There have been no actual sightings of clowns trying to abduct children in in the KCK area. Please be aware that there may be copycats incidents but there has been no credible sightings at this time. As of now it is just an internet hoax,” the message read. Real or not, this trend is truly terrifying.
One theory for the clown resurgence is that Halloween is coming up soon. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman makes the point that since the 1980s, clowns have made appearances in the months or weeks before the costume holiday. As Rolling Stone suggested, it may just be too many clown movies with a Poltergeist reboot last year and previews for an It remake that dropped in recent weeks.
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