Creepy clowns continue to appear around U.S.
Clowns are no longer a laughing matter.
The San Diego area is the most recent target in a series of mysterious clown sightings around the country. A trend that initially began in Wisconsin has made it all the way to the West Coast and hit the greater San Diego area.
The first clown sighting was in Green Bay, Wisc. early this August. Videos of the clown holding black balloons and wandering the streets went viral, causing a social media frenzy.
The clown sightings have now been reported in over 40 U.S. states and several countries, including England and Australia. Although Green Bay was the site of the first clown, the sightings were brought to national attention after incidents in South Carolina, where children reported the sightings.
Several aggressive actions have been made by the clowns, including carrying weapons and running at individuals. However, most are attempting to simply scare people and capitalize on certain individual’s fear of clowns.
Sophomore Becca Lancaster recalled how her former fear of clowns has recently resurfaced.
“I was afraid of clowns as a child,” Lancaster said. “And now I just feel like my fears are being reaffirmed, even though I know it’s irrational.”
The clown trend continued its way down south to Georgia and Alabama. Police continue to become increasingly more involved with each new sighting. In Georgia, the police received a call after two men described being chased by several men dressed as clowns. There were no suspects, and no arrests were made. Shortly after, a school in Alabama was put on lockdown after a clown posted threatening statuses on social media.
Throughout the month of September, clown sightings were recorded throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Idaho, Arizona, and even made their way up to Canada. These clown antics have caused several arrests, and multiple schools have been put on lockdown.
Several news outlets are speculating that these clown sightings are nothing but juvenile pranks with hopes to add to the social media craze they seem to ignite. For the most part, these clowns have imposed little acts of violence and only intend to spark fear and confusion.
Early in October, a report of three clowns on the campus of Penn State University caused thousands of students to mob the streets in an attempt to find the clowns. Several other groups and organizations have also taken to the streets after sightings to try to stop the clowns. Police continue to warn these groups about acting as vigilantes.
The most recent sighting in Santa Clarita, Calif. ultimately led to a gunfire shot. A man was sitting, smoking outside of his house, when a 6-foot clown approached him and pulled out a knife. The homeowner fired a warning shot into the air to scare off the clown outside his house. County deputies rushed to the scene and found no signs of a clown sighting.
A recent sighting was just inland of the University of San Diego in Poway, Calif. On Oct. 6, two clowns were spotted roaming the streets, spooking those driving and walking past. One man reported to 10 News San Diego that a clown approached and hit the roof of his car as he tried to take pictures.
After the police were notified, they found two 16-year-old boys wearing clown masks roaming the area. The two teens were sent home after they said they were only joking around and were unaware of the car incident.
Sophomore Faith Hale shared her reaction after learning about the clown craze encroaching on the San Diego area.
“I feel very scared seeing that Halloween is coming up,” Hale said. “People might be dressing like clowns for fun, it feels kind of threatening, and I hope they stay away from the Mission Beach area and other areas we like to spend time.”
Later the same week, on Oct. 13, parents of students at Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla informed school officials that they had seen a creepy clown lurking around the area. This cued the school’s administration to notify parents and advise that their children should not walk home alone from school. Parents expressed that they are concerned how this may affect their children’s safety, especially with Halloween quickly approaching.
Just a few days later, a man explained that he had seen a clown wearing a plastic mask, red hair, and glowing eyes in a t-shirt and blue jeans peering into the window of his home through a screen door.
With Halloween just around the corner, schools have been advising parents that children not dress as clowns. School officials have also instructed parents to be extra cautious when out, as more and more are taking part in the clown craze. Retailers, including Target, have also pulled clown masks from their inventories.
Fast food giant McDonald’s has decreased the presence of its original mascot, Ronald McDonald, in marketing and overall restaurant presence due to the recent trend.
With no actual harm imposed, most news outlets speculate that these clown sightings are only a part of a much larger social media frenzy with twisted hopes of sparking some kind of fear and reaction. No matter the cause, officials continue to advise all to remain guarded.
Written by Abby Gentry, Asst. News Editor