When you write stories to scare people (and I occasionally do) you find yourself searching for the perfect words to make readers feel like they are right there in the action experiencing the bone chilling tendrils fear running up their spines alongside the main character.
Or, I’ve found you can just use one word: Clown.
I usually put my blog images right at the top of my posts. I didn’t do that here because I was concerned that someone was going to stumble onto my blog, see the image, and close their browser without reading the rest of the post and put me on some kind of blacklist. Whatever you think, most people agree that clowns are….creepy.
The fear of clowns does have its own phobia. It’s called coulrophobia. If you don’t believe me that this concept draws people out in droves, check out the 291 comments on this recent The Body Odd article.
I believe that Stephen King definitely had a hand in all this. His book “IT” seems to have almost universally scarred a whole generation and is mentioned every time I bring this subject up in a group setting. (Who can forget Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown in the made-for-TV movie?) (Thank you, Mom, for never getting me a clown for my birthday parties.)
The other culprit of this cultural fear? John Wayne Gacy, the “Killer Clown”. I gave you the link because if you don’t know the story, the guy was a sicko and I don’t want to even talk about it.
Clowns wear make-up and funny clothes and it’s like you can never guess their true intentions. Their make-up is pronounced and sometimes even garish. Sometimes they change the pitch of their voices and grab your attention with over-the-top gestures and actions. All in all, clowns can come across as disingenuous. Now I know there are some folks out there who make a living as lovely, warm, friendly clowns. (Unfortunately, I think most people believe you are myth made up to reel us in so you can scare the heck out of us.)
Personally, I don’t really mind clowns- but only at arm’s length where I can see them at all times. (If you’ve read IT, you’ll totally get what I just did right there. )
So sound off in the comments. What do you think about clowns? “Meh” or “Scare the living daylights out of me”?