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As a horror and paranormal freak, I spend a great deal of my time on related Reddit subreddits like r/horror, r/creepy, and r/paranormal. Although the content sometimes keeps me up at night, I rarely find much of anything that truly disturbs me. Maybe I'm just that desensitized. But I was pretty creeped out indeed when I was redditing one night and read about the clown that has been terrorizing the UK town of Northampton.
Yes, I'm serious--this is real. A clown obviously modeled after the sinister Pennywise in Stephen King's It has been randomly appearing around Northampton. But not to worry, the clown does not appear to be any kind of a threat. Early reports that he was carrying a knife are unfounded, and the motive appears to be simply to scare the bejesus out of townspeople for laughs. And it has certainly worked. But the person behind the clown has also stirred up a great deal of interest both within the UK and around the world and has become something of a viral sensation. The Northampton Clown has become less "terrorizing" and more "teasing" as town residents and non-residents alike have taken an interest in spotting him.
Follow me below the fold for more on this bizarre turn of events and for pictures. Or, scroll reaaally fast to the comments...
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It all started on this past Friday the 13th. A picture appeared online of a rather malevolent-looking clown holding four balloons, which is what originally drew me to the story.
Reports started flooding in of random sightings in the days that followed. A woman even reported that the clown showed up at her door and offered to paint her windowsill, even though he had no equipment to do so. And, of course, more pictures popped up.
There is even rather unsettling video of the clown getting out of a lake.
The clown has become something of a social media sensation, with sighting reports coming in via Twitter and a Facebook page even popping up, apparently operated by the clown himself, called Spot Northampton's Clown, where he posts taunting messages like the following:
Thursday is the day. To come and see me play. Where will I be. You'll have to come and see. I need a lift.. If you get my drift. BEEP BEEP!Eventually, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo confirmed that the whole thing is indeed nothing but a joke after it secured an anonymous interview with the man claiming to be responsible. He also admitted to being inspired by Stephen King's 1986 novel It. Said the clown on his motives:
I just wanted to amuse people. Most people enjoy being a bit freaked out and then they can laugh about it afterwards. It’s like watching a horror movie, when people get scared they usually start laughing. Naturally, some people would have been extremely frightened by what they saw, but I hope many are starting to see it as a bit of harmless fun.When asked how long he would continue to stalk the streets of Northampton, he replied:
For as long as people are interested in it. I might perhaps do one day a week thing, a clown day, i.e a Wednesday and that’s the day to spot me. We will see. Beep Beep!Of course, the Northampton Clown isn't making everybody laugh. From a USA Today exclusive on the phenomenon:
One Facebook user named Tony Taylor commented on the "Spot Northampton's Clown" Facebook page: "Is it safe to approach him?" Another, Sarah Maley, wrote: "I am unsettled by this."But, the article continues:
Yet another longtime former resident of Northamptonshire who asked not to be identified — full disclosure, she is married to the author of this story — said that there are "way more scary people in Northampton than this clown." She did not elaborate.But he doesn't appear to be going anywhere soon, as the most recent sighting report is from today. However long the phenomenon lasts, the Northampton Clown does deserve a pat on the back for this rather brilliant prank not only on Northampton, but on the world. Well played, sir.