Thursday, January 16, 2014


Do you like clowns, or do you hate them?  Do you laugh at them, or are you afraid of them?

Most of us are aware that clowns are usually part of a circus act, where grown men (or women) dress up funny and act silly to get their audience to laugh.  This has been the main purpose of the clown since the late 18th century.  However, many people (myself included) fear clowns.

Though it is not a recognized psychological disorder, the fear of clowns has been termed coulrophobia.  It is thought that with children, the skewed outfits and facial makeup of clowns are off-putting.  With adults who fear clowns, it may be more of a culturally induced phobia (characters from movies and books).

For myself, I'll never forget the time when I was a little girl (the exact age I can't remember) and I caught a glimpse of the main character, Pennywise, from the movie version of Stephen King's It.  I was so scared, I screamed and ran into another room.  The movie had me afraid to pass by sewers on the streets I walked because I though an evil clown was under the street, waiting to grab me and eat me!  It took many years until I was able to watch the movie again.  When I did, I laughed at my younger self for having been so frightened.

Another movie from my childhood that left me with a bad taste for clowns was Poltergeist.  All I ever remember is, seeing that little toy clown in the kids' bedroom with it's devilish smile and growing arms.  Again, frightening!  I still hate that scene.

More recently, my husband and I took our two kids to the circus.  I must admit, my belly was full of apprehension when I thought of having to view the nightmarish characters.  As it turned out, the clowns were extremely colorful and made my son laugh hysterically.  Just seeing the smile on his face was enough to make my childhood memories seem silly!


  1. My brother is, maybe not afraid of, but certainly creeped out by clowns.
    I wonder, how long has the "evil clown" had a place in the undercurrent of horror? Only since Hollywood or before?
    Certainly sparks the imagination.

    1. That is a good question, Mardra. I'm not sure how long clowns have possessed a horror element. What I do know is that next year's AMERICAN HORROR STORY will deal with the circus. This makes me sure that I'm not the only one afraid of clowns!