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CLOWN HATERS BEWARE. Las Vegas contains a clown hater's nightmare - a casino which can be described as containing a highwire act, and a garish pink and white big-top looking roof, and if you drive to Vegas East on Interstate 15, you'll see their signs for cheap rooms. One night I let cheapness get the better of me. At $19 a night, we decided to take a room at the Clown House of Horrors. The location of our room was the 'Ranch.' Hell-hole would have been a more appropriate name. The $19 a night room was adorned in orange and brown and freaky clown pictures hung from the orange, brown and gold wallpapered walls (which were approximately 1/4" thick-I swear). Anyway, after some moderate drinking, gambling (lost BIG) and cheap buffet fare, we returned to our clown accommodations. When I fell asleep the clown pictures began moving like balloons at a dart throwing booth. I had horrible nightmares which included my unsuccessful escape from a clown with a plateful of buffet food. I was not born or raised to be a clown-hater, but after my encounter in clown-hell, I'm really not the same.

-Cathey O'Connell

There are those who claim that clowns are jolly, happy-go-lucky sorts whose only wish is to bring joy to the hearts of people everywhere. Those who claim this are naive fools. The truth is that clowns are, without exception, vicious psychopaths, just waiting for the chance to pounce upon some unsuspecting victim and tear them limb from limb.
My first encounter with the horror that is a clown came when I was six years old. My mother was spending the afternoon volunteering for a charity event at the local zoo. She took me along, and I soon became restless and wandered off to see the polar bears. I was almost immediately accosted by a grinning, grease-painted demon (who was, although I didn't know it at the time, a co-worker of my mother's), who took it upon herself to follow me everywhere I went. Her voice was a shrill helium-soaked nightmare, her shoes were enormous, and her face was like death made up as a streetwalker. I screamed and ran blindly through the zoo, trying to escape, but somehow she kept up. after what seemed like hours, I finally found my mother, and screaming incoherently, threw myself at her legs. We had to leave, of course, and it was almost a month before the nightmares stopped. To this day, if I happen to run into a clown, I break into a cold sweat and have to immediately go to some safe, non-clown place. No, there's nothing funny or nice about clowns.


I have to be honest an say I truly do not understand my loathing of clowns. I do not find them the least bit amusing. I can not remember a time in my life when I was not afraid of them however. All my life, any time clowns were a topic of conversation, people thought it hilarious that I hated clowns. My sister sent me this address, like it was some big joke. People have told me they do not like clowns, but that is not the same thing. I passionatley truly hate clowns. It was such a releif to me to read other people feel the same way as I do. My husband and I took our sons to the circus 2 years ago. It was all I could do to keep from yelling at the clowns to stay the ----- away from my children. They roam the audience before the show starts and we were unfortunatley sitting near the front. My children do not like clowns either and I know this is my fault. I try to be neutral in my feelings for clowns when they are around, but I'm sure they can sense that I have open hostility for any clown I encounter. Thank you for allowing me to vent these feelings. I appreciate that there are other clown haters out there. I am not alone.

-Gail Mc. -Glen Ellyn, IL

From the time I was about 5 years old to about 8 years old, I had a recurring clown nightmare. There used to be a long hallway in the house that I lived in. In the house, there was a long hallway, and about halfway down the hall you could make a left to go upstairs to the livingroom. Or you could continue straight to the very end of the hallway where a large black clothes hamper was kept.
Well, in the dream I would always try to make the turn onto the stairs, but I would be thwarted by a huge laughing clown that popped out of the clothes hamper and dragged me back with him, tickling me and laughing maniacally all the way.
Sometimes he's use a conveyor belt, sometimes rope or sometimes the bastard would just grab me around the neck. It wasn't til I moved out of that house that the dream finally stopped.
I hate clowns.


So, yeah. Of course clowns are evil. Pennywise, Gacy, and that fucked-up "Keane-Eyes" painting that used to hang in the back bedroom of my grandmother's house. The one where I slept when we visited. Man, I hated that evil clown. But there was one good clown. One beacon of light in the evil morass. Shakes. (Krusty's ok, too.) Anyway, one Halloween, I decided to be Shakes. Of course, it wasn't enough for me just to DRESS as Shakes, I had to do the Method actor thing and swim to the bottom of a family-size bottle of Cuervo. So there I am, three a.m., in a bad part of San Francisco, trying to hail a cab in my Shakes outfit, with my makeup badly smudged, tequila on my breath, and a stupid rubber hammer in my hand. Needless to say, it took a while to get a ride. And I don't blame the cab drivers a bit.
But here's where it gets weird:
The following spring, some friends of mine were traveling the country and stopped at a garage sale somewhere in Pennsylvania. There they found an oil-on-velvet painting of a clown that LOOKS JUST LIKE ME!!!!!! They bought it and used one of those silver sparkle pens to autograph it "To Hugh. With love, Shakes." And the sonofabitch stares me down every time I go to the basement. (Which, of course, is where I hung it.)
Do you think my soul is possibly trapped inside this painting?
Did something unintended happen that fateful Halloween?
I've gotta go now. I'm feeling the urge to create carnivorous balloon animals.


My fear is not specifically of actual people dressed as clowns. (Or it may be, but I strenuously avoid places such idiots frequent.) I am afraid of clown dolls, specifically. Man, "Poltergeist" *still* gives me nightmares, 15 years later! I'm also terrified by movies wherein a ventriloquist's dummy or some puppet becomes sentient and chases its owner around with point objects. Dear God! It's witnessing those kinds of movies that really tests the limits of my sanity. I wish we could instigate some anti-Clown doll legislation.


I'm 19 now, and I never had a problem with clowns before, but I'm now convinced clowns are evil. I'm working as an intern for a small high-tech company, and went to a company picnic last weekend. There were two really scary clowns there to entertain employees' children--these two dumpy women, all dressed up in the awful red clothes, except one of them wasn't wearing a wig. All the parents there forced their kids to let the clowns paint their faces. Soon, all the little kids were tired and the clowns didn't have anyone to pick on. Then, one of the clowns announced that she needed adults to volunteer to play a game. Of course, no one wanted to step forward and put himself at this clown's mercy, so one of the picnic's planners started calling out names. I was chosen, so I had to walk up to the stage and wait for the clowns to humiliate me. The clowns divided us victims into two teams and told us we were going to "race." We had to put on five pieces of tacky clothing, eat a slice of banana, and take off the clothes. I got stuck with a grass skirt, swimsuit top, wig, straw hat, and a lai. The clowns teased me as I fumbled with the skirt and swimsuit trying to put them on over my own clothing. To make thins worse, my boss teased me about it after the picnic. Clowns are evil and sadistic!


I suppose it's possible that I've always been repelled by clowns. Throughout my life, the sight of a clown have sent my heart racing and I have that instantaneous and overwhelming sensation of fight or flight (flight has always won out). Photos of clowns don't bother me so much. Nor do films that feature clowns (although sitting through Killer Klowns From Outer Space tested my limits).
No... it's the real, live, in-your-face clowns that send me into panic attacks. I've actually crossed streets at outdoor festivals and left parties where I have seen clowns doing their thing.
I can recall two memories from childhood that I think probably contributed directly to my longtime fear of clowns.
One took place when I was six years old, during a visit to a local county fair. I was there with my brother, Dave, who would have been about 16 years old at that time. I was having a great time, riding the rides and everything. Then, he walked me over to the House of Mirrors. I never even made it inside. Outside the building, in a plexiglass case, there was a somewhat larger-than-life animated clown - fat and hideous, laughing maniacally and lolling its head around on its shoulders. I backed away from the clown as soon as I saw and heard it, but my brother was insistent that I go in the House of Mirrors with him. Nothing doing. I was terrified of getting lost in there, only to meet up with more clowns like the one cavorting outside.
The other early recollection I have is a bit murkier, but it still conjures up an even more repulsive feeling than even the county fair episode. It occurred when I was about four years old, which would have been sometime around 1973. Basically, I recall being at a local auto shop/gas station with my father because my dad was having his car repaired or something. That must have been the case because I remember walking home.
Anyway, the guy who ran the place was an acquaintance of my father's, but I don't think he was a family friend or anything. He was an old, dirty, grizzled guy and I know I didn't like him at all. The three of us were standing in the front office of the place and my dad and the old guy were talking. Then, the old man asked if I wanted to see something in the back room. I know I was hesitant to go, but my dad said to go with him, so I did.
So, the old man and I went into the back room together and he led me up to this enormous, garishly painted clown. In reality, it was probably about 5 or 6 feet tall, but, from my four-year-old vantage point, it was gigantic. The old guy gave me a penny and instructed me to put it in the slot in the clown's stomach. I did and was rewarded with a gumball. But, at the same time the gumball dropped from a hole in the clown's stomach, the rest of him came to life. His head spun back and forth, his arms went up and down and he laughed. That crazy clown laugh.
Naturally, I was terrified and made a hasty retreat back to the front office, to my waiting father.
So, looking back on those two particular episodes, I guess my most terrifying experiences with clowns weren't even with living clowns - they were animtronic clowns (or something close to it). However, since that time, I have had my share of face-to-face encounters with breathing clowns to give me a greater understanding of why I've never gone to a circus.

-Kenn Carpenter -New York, NY

My fellow clown-haters: I knew you were out there!
Strangely enough, I found this web-site in an article in defense of clowns! (The State Journal-Register, Springfield, IL) The writer theorized that people are only afraid of clowns due to the horror movies that started coming out in the early '80's. She missed the point. That's WHY it was so scary to have an evil clown doll under the bed in "Poltergeist" -- everyone was ALREADY scared of clowns! The movie-makers just tapped into common childhood fears.
Those movies and Stephen King's "It" merely confirmed what I already suspected about clowns: they are evil, hiding behind the makeup and stupid clothes, probably thinking what an idiot you are, and calculating how they could get you alone to do God-knows-what.
Besides, there were no negative images of clowns in the late 60's-early 70's when I was tiny, so I wasn't taught by movies to hate them. It was instinctive and I never got over it. Man, I hate clowns!
Here's a nightmare for all you clown-haters: at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL, there's a student clown ministry called "The Holy Fools." Motto: We're Fools for Christ. I kid you not. When I was a student there in the early 80's, the Fools (as I liked to sneer) were always bouncing around acting stupid. (No offense intended against religion, but what a disgusting way to try to pass it on.) The makeup seems to release any inhibitions they had, and they'd come up and honk at you and do somersaults and just act annoying in the campus center. I'd just grit my teeth and say, "Get. Away. From. Me. I'm not kidding. I hate clowns." Of course, they act like you're a child molester if you don't want to take part in their little scenarios. But we know the truth, don't we?

-Leslie C. -Springfield, Illinois

My story isn't as frightening as the others but I feel better talking about it. I think my fear of clowns comes from a cartoon I watched when I was young. The cartoon was Scoobie Doo. In the beginning that horrible clown would pop up and laugh a cynical laugh and then float around the screen. I never really realized that the clown frightened me so much until a few years ago when my town acquired a local Bozo (literally, he is an idiot). The man looks like a clown even when he is not in costume. It is hard to avoid him because the city hires him to show up to every major event. No matter how hard people try to convince me that clowns are good, I still think that there is something evil about them.


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