Forget ISIS, Zika, and President Trump: America’s greatest fear today is an epidemic of creepy clowns.
The country has spent the last several weeks gripped by clown panic. A New York school canceled recess after reports of murderous-looking clowns congregating in the area. Children at a Pennsylvania elementary school reported being chased by three clowns outside. Last weekend, two East Coast teenagers were even arrested for clown-related crimes. But some creepy clowns say the crime wave is giving the community a bad rap.
“Bloodyelmore DAklown” who said he’s been dressing as a creepy clown and prowling neighborhoods since before it was cool, thinks people shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
“They are misunderstood,” Bloodyelmore said of creepy clowns during a Facebook conversation with The Daily Beast. “People think they’re killers and criminals… but most of us just like the feeling of having a community and most of us just like the fun and excitement of it.”
Bloodyelmore, 26, might dress like a terrifying circus clown and describe himself on Facebook as “under your bed in your home lurking Around when your walking alone,” but he said it’s all in the spirit of good, clean fun.
“People usually freak out or try to follow us,” Bloodyelmore said. “It’s something fun and it becomes a hobby on a daily basis.”
Bloodyelmore is highly active in Facebook’s creepy clown community, where masses of users with names like Clowny Shooter and Crusty Klown congregate in comment sections, tagging each other by the dozen in posts directed at the “ClownGang.” Many appear to have set up their profiles within the past several weeks.
Dedicated clowns say they take their creepy antics offline. Bloodyelmore said he and his friends regularly go outside dressed as killer clowns, which is legal but often inspires panic among non-clowns.
But other clowns claim they’re already racking up circus-y murders.
“I like killing people,” Terry Da Klown told The Daily Beast on Facebook, where his profile picture is a yellow-fanged, apparently amputated clown. He refused to clarify other than “I killed lots.” (Terry Da Klown stopped responding when asked if he ever felt regret.)
“My clown gang GLTTTTTT,” Scar TheClown told The Daily Beast, the capitalized text an apparent reference to the sound of gunshots. He added that his clown gang “deal with the people who disrespect.”
The number of people in his clown gang is “confidential,” Scar said, refusing to answer whether his clown gang has ever committed actual clown crimes. Scar estimates most are adults.
But most of the recent clown crime arrests have netted young teenagers. In two unrelated weekend incidents, police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Hampton, Virginia, arrested 13-year-old girls allegedly involved in clown crimes. In Philadelphia, the teenager had allegedly made threats on social media while posing as a clown. In Hampton, the teen had allegedly reached out to a clown on Facebook and asked him to kill her teacher.
The creepy clown panic crops up every couple years, often around Halloween, and largely fueled by hoaxes and social media hysteria. But this year’s clown mania has hit new heights.
During a Tuesday press conference, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest fielded a question on the “creepy clowns” plaguing the nation. Earnest said he wasn’t sure whether President Obama had been briefed on the matter—not exactly a denial.
Professional clowns are not amused. Snuggles, a Maryland clown, started a “Clown Lives Matter” campaign on Facebook, telling AOL that he feared anti-clown profiling. Snuggles’s fears were borne out on Tuesday when at least 500 Penn State students flooded the streets, chanting and hunting for creepy clowns.
Bloodyelmore said tales of murder-minded newcomers are a bad omen for the otherwise-peaceful creepy clown scene. Teenagers and even younger children are joining the clown ranks en masse, he claimed.
“Teens will think it’s cool and follow it and try to contact people like this,” Bloodyelmore said of the recent wave of clown coverage. “I’ve had many teens and even 8 year old kids offering to be a clown.”
Creepy clowning is becoming too mainstream, and new police scrutiny has long-time clowns fearing for their community. Even Bloodyelmore said he’s not sure if he’ll keep up his character past Halloween.
“The FBI is cracking down on clowns and clown accounts,” Bloodyelmore said, confirming that many fellow clowns shared his fears. “I wouldn’t want lose my family all because I wanted to dress up as a clown and roam the streets.”