Clown (n): A comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated make-up.

That seems straightforward enough. So, here’s my question – How did clowns go from being entertainers to a panic-attack inducing phobia?

According to Terry Pratchett, “No clowns were funny. That was the whole purpose of a clown. People laughed at clowns, but only out of nervousness. The point was that, after watching them, anything else that happened seemed enjoyable.”

Now that seems messed up. Or is it?

Maybe there is a reason why coulrophobia exists. A real, solid, right-up-in-your-face factual reason other than movies like ‘It’ (fun fact: Stephen King is scared to death of clowns). This reason lies in their history.

Behold, the not-so-funny history of clowns.

Also read: Weirdest Phobias: You’ll Be Surprised To Know Actually Exist

Disclaimer: If you like clowns, I’m probably going to ruin them for you. If you don’t, you have nothing to lose so read on.

In 2400 BC Egypt, Clowns served the socio-religious and psychological role of priests
First appearing in Ancient Egypt, the roles of priest and clown were said to be held by the same person.
Joseph Grimaldi, the inventor of the modern clown in the 1800s, was always depressed during his routines.
Joseph Grimaldi, the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era, was known to be depressed during all of his routines
Pierrot was a beloved clown in France who killed a boy with a blow from his cane after he was taunted.
Jean-Gaspard Deburau, also known as Pierrot, was a celebrated Bohemian-French mime.
In the 70s, Pogo the Clown was arrested for sexually assaulting and killing more than 35 men in Chicago
John Wayne Gacy Jr., alias Pogo the Clown, was one of the most disturbing ‘clown turned rogue’ cases in history.
Pogo's famous words were "You know, clowns can get away with murder"
Gacy was sentenced to death in 1980 and spent 14 years on death row before he was executed in 1994
In 2016, Georgia police tracked down a threat from a Facebook user who planned to dress like a clown and abduct children from local schools.
As recently as 2016, around 100 cases of clown sightings had been reported in the USA.
Sometimes the scariest thing is a smile
The man behind the mask may not be who you expect

But hey, of course nice, friendly clowns do exist. No harm meant to the clown business that has already suffered enough with popular fiction stereotypes. Not to mention predictions that the rash of “killer clowns” and “crazed clown” sightings from last year are bound to happen again this year.

But no sweat, that happened in America. There are no reports of clown sightings in India.

Yet.

What’s the matter? You look like you just saw a clown.

Image Credits: Google Images


Read More: 

Why Are We Afraid Of Clowns And The Psychology Behind It

Utterly Butterly Highlights of the Year by Amul Cartoons!

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