Coulrophobia – the fear of clowns – might seem like an old-joke from the 1990s – but more and more people are signing up to it.
Recently, a 14-year-old teen reported a knife-wielding clown in Columbus, Ohio, who chased him down the street.
The boy told police that a man in dark clothing and a clown mask followed him as he walked to a bus stop in the morning.
According to the police report, he got rid of the clown by throwing a rock at him and fleeing to the bus stop.
In South Carolina, meanwhile, there are reports suggesting a clown or a group of clowns are “trying to lure children in the woods”.
A property manager wrote to all the residents of a building suggesting extra precautions to ensure children’s safety.
Numerous children have come up to their parents claiming they have seen clowns in the area.
The clowns have been reported to use laser pointers, stalk kids, and use money in attempt to lure them into a nearby wooded area.
This isn’t strictly US phenomena: in the UK, a man in Northampton used to dress up as a scary clown and walk around at night – spooking local people.
One one night, the clown has been left standing on a pavement waving with a teddy hanging between its fingers in its other hand.
With its pale face, drawn-on brows, a red wig and ruffled collar, it is an imitation of the Pennywise clown from Stephen King-inspired 1990 horror film, IT.
More than ever, Bart Simpson is looking like a prophet: