Do killer clowns really exist? Are there any true stories associated with these clowns? Can reality beat fiction? Between humor, make-up and drama, clowns around the world provide a lot of conversation, but not only… 🤡
Whether you’re a fan of spooky clowns , dark stories or the use of chainsaws for unusual deeds… welcome to Skull World!
Today we’re spotlighting colorful characters that make headlines for more than just making kids laugh. Because indeed, the character with the red nose , born in circuses to fool around, has evolved and is now one of the most terrifying symbols… 😵
In this article you will learn true stories about killer clowns, among other things . How the image of this originally childlike character has changed. Why and how he keeps appearing in movies as the villain. And how humor sometimes quickly turns into drama. Are you ready to bang your eyes out? Here we go!
John Wayne Gacy
We can only start our article by talking about this man. Why is that? We’ll explain it to you:
John Wayne Gacy was born on March 17, 1942 in Chicago, USA. He is one of the greatest serial killers in American history. He murdered 33 (minor) boys and (adult) young men in the 1970s. And you should now have an idea of why we’re talking about him in this article: the Chicago community and the suburb where he lived were rather shocked to learn that this man, cited as gregarious and friendly, had a somewhat unusual personality Had passion… Because he was known for his appearances as a clown at charity events and children’s parties, among other things… 🧐
Born into a blue-collar family, Gacy seemed to have a fairly ordinary childhood. However, he showed an increasing tendency towards sadism, which led to several encounters with the law in the 1960s. In 1968, after being convicted of sexually abusing a teenager, he was committed to the Iowa State Men’s Correctional Facility for a psychiatric evaluation. After his release in 1970 and while still on probation, he was arrested again on sexual assault charges, but the charges were later dropped. Gacy then became quite a successful independent entrepreneur and bought a house in a suburb of Chicago.
After one of Gacy’s (Robert Piest) victims was reported missing in 1978, police learned the man was the last known person to have seen him. After obtaining a search warrant, police discovered the bodies of 29 boys and young men at or near Gacy’s home. Four other bodies were found in the nearby river. In fact, the area around the house had been emitting a foul smell for years… 🤢
According to newspapers at the time, the killer told his guests and his wife that this smell was the result of accumulated moisture. During his trial , Gacy pleadedto innocence because he was mad. This was confirmed by the statements of several psychologists who diagnosed schizophrenia. The jury found him guilty of the 33 murders he was charged with and he was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
John Wayne Gacy thus remained as the ultimate emblem of all evil killer clowns . His disguise in connection with his make-up, with which he entertained small children during the day, and the disguise of the terrible figure with the blood-smeared hands went around the world. The nickname “killer clown” therefore suits him perfectly. His stage name was Pogo the Clown. 🩸
The Clowns of 2016: Big Panic
Do you remember this event that flooded the media: television and especially social networks? It all started in the UK on Friday 30th September 2016. Newcastle Police received calls saying a person dressed like a ‘scary clown’ was jumping out of the bushes to scare children . 😩
About a dozen such incidents were reported in the following days. A teenage clownwas arrested in possession of a “sharp knife”. On October 5, everyone was talking about “terrifying clown madness”. And that’s how the clowns made media headlines… The first named victim was Megan Bell, a 17-year-old schoolgirl who “has always had a fear of clowns” and was chased down the street at night by a clown. Other disguised people soon appeared: in Wales, in the USA, in France, in short, all over the world.
Concerned parents set up Facebook pages about clowns, inadvertently helping to spread the phenomenon. Some observers deliberately spoke of a classic “social panic” as few incidents involving clowns resulted in actual physical attacks.
The reality of the killer clown
But a few weeks later, far more malevolent people emerged in the United States who clearly went from joke to drama. People (often teenagers) dressed up as clowns made terrifying appearances across the country. It has been speculated that all of this was just a publicity stunt for the forthcoming release of a film version of Stephen King’s horror novel It, about a famous and sinister clown named Pennywise . 👿
However, far from a marketing gimmick, the following clowns began terrorizing children and sometimes attacking people (often at night). In Pennsylvania, a teenager was murdered by someone wearing a clown maskwore. Police later explained that the killer placed the mask on his victim’s face before exiting the stage. Two weeks later, a clown stabbed a teenager in Varberg, Sweden. Creepy clowns were everywhere. At that time, many terms were heard that spoke of this phenomenon: “The Great Clown Panic”, “The Awakening of the Clowns”, “The Invasion of the Clowns” or “The Madness of the Clowns”.
wanna laugh with the clown Then put this ring on your finger – “”killer clown ring“”
In culture, clowns have never really been funny. Fans of novels will of course name Pennywise . Comic fans will think of Batman’s antagonist, the Joker. Anti-capitalist activists will likely point to Ronald McDonald. And many other artists insisted on riding the wave of passion for this character. The films with the killer clowns alone cause endless queues in front of the cinemas.
So the image of the evil clown is anchored in a very shabby reality. David Wilson, Professor of Criminology at the University of Birmingham, gives a lecture on the subject every year. 🧐
He announces: « We have a brand new module I’m teaching in senior year on serial killings. I show the students some pictures of killer clowns. And those stories are seriously starting to pile up. The first in this long chapter is, of course, that of John Wayne Gacy . And I hope with all my heart that this “fashion” to maquiller pour tuer ne se reproduira plus dans le futur “.
Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)
The fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia. It’s a fear that grows stronger every year. And that’s understandable when you know the many sordid stories associated with these colorful characters.
“Clowns intentionally exaggerate facial features by painting over them with paint to make them appear less human,” explains writer Paillardet (author of the book Bad Clowns). « When a young child is learning about the world, the fact that their facial features are exaggerated is incredibly disturbing. Of course, a clown’s behavior should be funny, but despite this, you find a large proportion of children who are naturally afraid of clowns ». 😫
And even when we’re mature enough to understand what fictional characters are, many people carry with them those childhood fears that sometimes they find themselves to the point of being afraid of such a character. And it’s entirely understandable that coulrophobia is on the rise worldwide, given a story like that of Gacy, the 33 boys’ killer in the ’70s.
Psychotherapist and author Aaron Balick suggests that the strong feelings toward clowns that we vaguely remember from childhood contribute to the doubly viral nature of today’s phenomenon. The virality of stories about clownsand the virality of the idea that you can dress up as a clown to scare people. Psychologists understand “contagion” to be the spread of an idea, feeling or behavior within a group,” he explains. And today, social networks are allowing movements (both good and bad) to spread like never before. 📱
The idea of the scary clownfits perfectly into this scheme. This mix of feelings via social networks leads to contagion by spreading the idea of attending an event. And although only a small percentage of people come up with the idea of scaring people on the street by dressing up as a clown, you can still see the phenomenon spreading more and more, reaching a large number of incidents.
origin of the phenomenon
Any kind of mask is scary. The idea of scaring people by wearing a disguise and/or mask is not new. Before the clowns, for example, there were bank robbers who wore hoods (or masks). Fans of the movie Point Break will remember that the gang infiltrating Keanu Reeves is called the Ex-Presidents. They rob banks while wearing rubber masks of Reagan, Carter, Nixon and LBJ. 👺
They almost look like real faces, but not quite. This is known in psychology as the “disturbing valley effect.” Tom Stafford, Lecturer in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Sheffield, explains: “There’s something particularly disturbing about something that’s almost real, but it’s not”. For example, we know that the clown is just a fictional character . But we have a hard time breaking away from that painted face and returning to a state of consciousness that reminds us that we are dealing with just a person in disguise.
Also, hiding face is often perceived as a threat multiplier. After all, we judge people by looking at their faces. And clowns who hide their faces don’t give us access to their person. From this the fear of clowns grows and with it the coulrophobia.
Terror clown updates
So the creepy clown embodies broader cultural distortions of our time. For example, should people be banned from wearing masks? This reminds us of the controversies of recent years and in particular the controversy surrounding women wearing burqas to cover their faces in public. Also remember that the clown is a grown man trying to win the favor of little children. A degree of pedophile fear sometimes comes into play… 🧐
And the way the clown’s craze has spread is also problematic. In a way, this is what is known as “radicalization” on the internet. The fact that (more impressionable) young people find the idea nice and identify with the movement until they finally take action. And this is supported by the power of networks, which means that the movement is spreading on a large scale and, importantly, at high speed.
Halloween and the Killer Clowns
For several years it has been noticeable that more and more red noses are appearing on the feast of death. There are countless characters on Halloween. But one thing is never missing in a group of friends celebrating October 31st, and you’ll have guessed it: it’s the killer clown! 🔪
Here we find the fiction and the festive side of the Totenfest. If you want to celebrate the pumpkins properly, then arm yourself with your devilish clown sweatshirt and scare the whole neighborhood!