Horrifying Clown Epidemic

Jacob Legallais, Layout Artist

Thanks to the dread-inducing “clown sightings” as of late, we have all begun to view the already frightening characters in an even more sinister light. The fad began in late August, when sightings of clowns trying to lure children into the woods in South Carolina surfaced. Since then, reports of more terror clowns have cropped up in over 30 states, ranging from Alabama to Wisconsin. The trend has even made it overseas, where authorities in England and Australia began receiving reports. Social media, the news, and the Internet have all succeeded in drawing massive amounts of attention to these pranksters, which is what they are really looking for. Although this craze seemed amusing at first, matters have become more serious.

It is clear that a fad or trend has gotten out of hand when it begins to affect non-involved persons in significant way. In this instance, two Nashville, Tennessee, high schools had no other choice but to initiate a lockdown when talk of a clown in the region was circulating on social media. This clown phenomenon has even reached our own communities. Schools in both the Manassas City Public Schools system and in Prince William County were recently on alert for possible clown disturbances. Just last Tuesday, hundreds of Pennsylvania State University students flooded campus streets while conducting a mass clown hunt. With these types of clown hunts occurring, violence is sure to ensue. After violence, what chaos could occur next?

It is no coincidence that these “attacks” have been taking place around the Halloween season. Teenagers around the country are being warned not to dress up as the frightening creatures, or risk being misunderstood. Yet, it seems that this only promotes the trend and it is expected that a large number of children this year will be taking part in the frenzy.

One unique aspect of this clown craze is that it has begun to affect businesses and even corporations on a worldwide scale. “Professional clowns,” who perform at events like birthdays, are outraged at the terrible reputation horror clowns are bringing to life. Ronald McDonald, a clown internationally known, will be keeping a low profile into the foreseeable future. The superpower of a company McDonald’s announced that it plans to be “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” due to the recent clown controversy. In a message addressed to potential pranksters, Police Chief James F. Cummings of Paw Paw, West Virginia, said it best: “It is plain stupid to do this.”