Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's almost like Stephen King's "It"...

Warning: Do not read this blog post if you suffer from coulrophobia, the debilitating fear of clowns.

The town of Northampton, England, about 60 miles outside of London, is a fairly idyllic town which has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age and is home to two rugby teams.

Oh, and since Friday, September 13, it's been terrorized by a clown.

Yes, you read that right. A red-haired, masked stranger in full clown regalia who wanders the streets at night carrying a bouquet of balloons, has appeared every night at various places around Northampton. But although he has frightened Northampton's citizens, who liken him to Pennywise, the evil clown in Stephen King's novel, It, the clown says, "I don't terrorise people. I just want to be spotted."

"He doesn't juggle. He doesn't twist balloons into animal shapes. He just stares," Northampton Herald & Post explained.

Is this a publicity stunt? A cry for help? Not at all, says the Northampton Clown. He has said—on his Facebook page and in a few interviews with media—that while people may be scared when he pops up, that's all part of the fun. That's his goal: "I just want to amuse people."

"Most people enjoy being a bit freaked out and then they can laugh about it afterwards," he said. "It's like watching a horror movie, when people get scared they usually start laughing."

And apparently that's not all. Because the clown has apparently given birth (so to speak) to a legion of friends and enemies, including Boris, the self-proclaimed "Clown Catcher." Dressed in a purple superhero suit, he also wanders the streets after dark and, on his Facebook page explains, "I am the official clown catcher. I am not here to scare anyone. I am not here to hurt anyone. I come in peace!" In fact, he only seems to want to meet the clown and take a picture with him.

Not quite sure what to make of this, but it reminds me of my freshman year in college when I read King's It. I had never been afraid of clowns before but, as those of you who've read the book can attest, Pennywise the clown scared the crap out of me. One of my college roommates used to pick up the book and read it when I was busy. One afternoon we were playing basketball in our room, and the ball rolled under my bed. Apparently my roommate had hidden a clown mask under there as a prank.

I didn't sleep in my bed for a week. Needless to say, I'm not visiting Northampton anytime soon...

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