Article by Hannah Vandergrift
As if 2016 could not get any weirder, here come the clowns, and just in time for Halloween. The “Killer clowns” or “Creepy clowns” craze started on Aug. 21, when reports of clown sightings occurred in South Carolina. Children claimed that clowns had tried to lure them into the woods. Videos surfaced soon after that showed clowns walking around on streets, some with weapons.
The sightings kept increasing, with reports coming in from Florida to New York to right here in Salem, Va. On Oct. 4, clowns were supposedly spotted on Roanoke College campus, although nothing ever came of it. Some students were advised by their RAs to remain in their dorms, but many went out walking in groups in search of the clowns. Campus security also increased their watch for that night, and for the following few days. However, it appeared to be a false alarm, as no one was hurt and there were no police reports following the sightings. Whether there was actually a clown or more that night is still up to debate.
One of the most recent incidents has been on Oct. 21, when a woman in Florida reported a clown walking out in the middle of the road as she was driving home. One of her wheels was punctured after the event, making the woman suspect the clown might have thrown something on the ground in order to damage the car. The craze has even reached Germany, with reports of robberies attacks all over the country, according to Deutsche Welle.
Dozens of arrests have been made for individuals simply wearing clown masks or costumes. Psychologists have tried to explain the phenomena, stating that the craze is caused by a combination of copycats and the media. The more media representation, the more copycats try to join in and get attention from the acts.
Hopefully, once Halloween passes, these reports will die down and the “creepy clowns” will be just a surreal, faded trend. Stay safe this Halloween.