Why Are We So Freaked Out By Clowns? (& 10 Fun Facts About Them.)

Via on Sep 20, 2013

 vintage clown

It is the kind of weird news we love to post to Facebook or discuss at the water cooler.

A creepy clown, resembling Pennywise from Stephen King’s ‘It’ has been terrorizing, or, ahem, standing around and waving in the town of Northampton, England.

Some dismiss it as a harmless prank, a bit of ‘clowning’ around, if you will.

Others have taken greater offence.

In an interview with a local newspaper, the clown (whose human identity remains unknown) says that he means no harm—many are not so sure.

Does the sight of a painted face, fake nose, curly wig and some oversize shoes haunt your your nightmares?

Clowns have a lot of cultural cache. Clowns can be funny. Clowns are also free to explore the darker depths of human existence.

Who is your favorite? Krusty the Clown of Simpsons fame? The Joker from Batman? Bozo the Clown? Do you prefer harlequins? The popular ‘hobo’ clowns of the 1930s? Maybe The Insane Clown Posse?

Here are ten fun facts about clowns:

1) An exaggerated or irrational fear of clowns is called ‘coulrophobia.’

2) It is estimated that 2% of adults possess extreme ‘coulrophobia’.

3) The earliest clowns were found in ancient Egypt, around 2400BC and in ancient imperial China, where a court clown was the only one permitted to make light of emperor Qin Shih Huang’s plan to paint The Great Wall of China.

4) A fear of clowns may manifest in young children just learning to recognize human features. Clowns possess abnormally large noses, ears, hands and feet.

5) Popular ‘clownish’ figures in early American cinema include Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The clown has often occupied the position of social satirist and commentator.

6) Ronald McDonald has been around since 1963. Worldwide, he is the most popular clown.

7) Joseph Grimaldi, a pantomime player on the Regency London stage, is credited as being the inspiration for the modern clown. Charles Dickens is believed to have crafted his 1836 work The Pickwick Papers using Grimaldi’s son’s tragic ‘clownish’ antics as food for thought.

8) Ever thought about enrolling in clown college? Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus offers a clowning school. Can’t take the time off of work? Internet clown instruction is also available.

9) The average general clown will earn $38,000 a year, according to Indeed and SimplyHired. Rodeo clowns can make $50,000

10) Johnny Depp is a famous clown-o-phobe. “There always seemed to be a darkness lurking just under the surface, a potential for real evil,” he was once quoted as saying, in reference to clowns.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: via Pinterest

About Marthe Weyandt

Marthe Weyandt is a Pittsburgh-based yoga instructor and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling and spending time in the great outdoors. She is currently learning to play guitar, albeit badly and at frequencies only dogs can hear. She believes in the power of the word, creatively and lovingly rendered, to create positive change in the world. She has a Bachelor’s in English and Religion from Dickinson College and a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University. She spent two years as an English instructor with the United States Peace Corps in Madagascar. Check out some of her other work here.

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