Clowning around?

The creepy pandemic that is spreading nationally as well as locally

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Megan Raynor, Staff Writer

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Historically, clowns have been portrayed as a terrifying Halloween character since the late 1970s. This began in 1979 after the conviction of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who often frequented children’s parties under the impersonation of ‘Pogo the clown.’ After this initial connection between killers and clowns, many forms of entertainment were created from this twisted storyline. Recently, a clown-fearing hysteria has spread throughout the United States. This creepy epidemic has caused law enforcement agencies throughout the nation to take serious measures, including charging clown impersonators for multiple felonies.

The first clown reports occurred on August 21st at Fleetwood Manor Apartment complex in Greenville, South Carolina. The initial report was children telling their parents about their sightings as well as the clowns’ bribery attempts to get the children to follow. After the children reported that the clowns offered bribes of cash and candy if they followed the clowns into the woods, there was another report of a sighting at 2:00 AM of a clown by a dumpster from an adult resident. Although deputies have not found any clowns, they are on high alert and the Fleetwood Manor Apartment complex has addressed a letter to its residents addressing the complaints.

The creepy clown pandemic has spread throughout multiple cities in Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. In North Carolina, one reported incident included a clown bearing a machete, attempting to lure a woman into the woods. Multiple arrests and charges have been made to clowns caught by state law enforcements in attempts to soothe the hysteria.

Throughout the past week there have been several reports of clown sightings in Florida. A video taken from a car went viral within the past week, showing a clown lurking in brush in Marion County, Florida. There have been multiple clown spottings throughout Palm Bay, Gainesville, and Pensacola in Florida. www.nbcmiami.com reports “students at Largo Middle School reported seeing a clown lurking outside the school Friday morning, WFLA reported. School district officials said a resource officer and officers responded but didn’t find anyone dressed as a clown. An automated message was sent to parents to inform them. Meanwhile, authorities in Pasco County just north of Tampa said Friday that they’re investigating multiple sightings over the past few days.” The idea that these cases are so local is extremely unsettling. Senior Caroline Salvatore explains, “The idea that these clown sightings are so close to home really freaks me out. I am already afraid of the dark as it is; I don’t need something else to be scared of!” Seniors Nader Asfour claims, “I am actually fearful for the lives of people and my own. Clowns are terrifying!”

Ultimately, the clown frenzy is undeniably creepy and unsettling. Schools, including our very own East Lake High School, are issuing serious threats to students who attempt to join in on the clown hysteria. Luckily, law enforcement is taking the events seriously and justice is being served to those clowns who pose as a serious threat to innocent civilians.

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