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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Top Ten Creepy Clown Clusters of 2016



Top Ten Creepy Clown Clusters of 2016

by Loren Coleman, author of The Copycat Effect 
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004).


Following in the tradition of my clown list from 2008, my notes on evil clowns (and Joker copycats) for 2009, my documenting of real killer clowns in 2010, my list of evil clowns of 2011, similar weirdness in 2012, a compilation for 2013, and the creepy clown reports in California, countrywide in the USA & in France, ending us back in Aurora for 2014, and finally Top Ten Evil Clown Stories of 2015, here is my new "top ten" gathering of "creepy clown clusters" that occurred in the extraordinary Year of 2016.





First, let us reflect on 2016. No year since 1981 - when Phantom Clowns were sighted and then first discussed in book form via Mysterious America -  has there been such a multilayered, massive explosion of reports of clown accounts among the populace, first in America, and then worldwide.

The hints began in the Spring of '16, overseas.

(1) Germany ~ February




The first unusual clown event of 2016 occurred in Kassel, Germany. Two activists in clown costumes disrupted a meeting of the German anti-migrant party Alternative for Germany by throwing a cake into the face of Beatrix von Storch, one of the party�s leaders and a European Parliament member. The men approached von Storch while she was presiding over a closed-door Alternative for Germany party meeting held in Kassel, Germany, on February 28, 2016. They sang �Happy Birthday� as one of them threw a cake into von Storch�s face and the other filmed the incident.

(2) Mexico ~ March



On the weekend of March 19-20, 2016, Tony Tambor, also known as Marco Antonio Vazquez, claimed he was repeatedly punched and kicked at a Sonora, Mexico party for 30 children, according to the Houston Chronicle. Tambor may lose his eyesight, according to the Mexico News Daily.


(3) Wisconsin ~ August



The largest wave of reports of clowns in recent history began in a small way in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in early August 2016. A mysterious clown that seemingly came out of someone�s warped sense of humor was spotted in Green Bay, according to photographs making the rounds of the social media. A Facebook page called �Gags � The Green Bay Clown� claimed the first sighting happened August 1, 2016, at 2:00 a.m.

By definition, these clowns were "stalking clowns."

(4) Carolinas ~ August






"Phantom Clowns" soon popped up. On August 29, 2016, residents at the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville County, South Carolina, reported that a person wearing a clown costume had been spotted lurking around the apartment complex trying to convince children to come into the woods. This was followed quickly on September 4, 2016, when police in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, received a call about a clown looking to lure children into the woods. The Phantom Clown accounts then spread throughout the Carolinas. See also "Phantom Clowns in Greenville: Four Sightings," "Phantom Clowns: Spartanburg," "Phantom Clowns: Winston-Salem," "Phantom Clowns: Two New Piedmont Triad Incidents," "Phantom Clowns: Fayette Factor," and "Phantom Clowns: High Point."


These reports were classic "Phantom Clowns," and did not seem to be real people dressing up as clowns, i.e. "Stalking Clowns." See, "Phantom Clowns: Classified."

(5) Ohio ~ August



Like dropping a pebble in a pond, the ripples of Phantom Clown sightings went out from the Carolinas. Ohio seemed to be hit first.

A knife-wielding clown reported in the Northland area might prove a hoax, but Columbus, Ohio, police say they aren't taking any chances. A 14-year-old boy told police that a 6-foot-tall man in dark clothing and a clown mask chased him a short distance as he walked to a school bus stop at about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, August 30, 2016, said police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner.  The boy told police that the incident occurred just before sunrise in his neighborhood, near Satinwood and Ironwood drives.

See also, "Phantom Clowns: Ohio."

(6) Georgia and Alabama ~ September



Next, leaping from the Carolinas to Ohio, clown incidents turned up in Georgia and Alabama. On September 14, 2016, McDuffie County deputies in Georgia say Cameron Frails, 12, and his little brother, were walking to a bus stop when they were chased by men donning clown costumes. The next day, on September 15, 2016, authorities locked down Escambia County High School and Flomaton High School in Southern Alabama after clowns threaten students and post gun emojis on Facebook. So-called "Flomo Klowns" were spotted on the premises of both schools. On September 15, 2016, police in Flomaton, Alabama, arrest 22-year-old Makayla Smith and two underage accomplices in connection with the threats to students at Escambia County High School and Flomaton High School. A middle school girl in Athens, Georgia, was arrested on September 21, 2016, after bringing a knife into school. She claims it was for protection against clown attacks.

See also, "Phantom Clowns: Alabama," "Phantom Clown: Macon + LaGrange," and "Phantom Clowns: Greensboro + Green Name Game."

(7) United States ~ September

Creepy Clown Sightings Map 2016.


After the initial sightings, all kinds of encounters with clowns were reported throughout the United States, as can be seen from this summary or this one.

    Sep. 19: Several children report a series of clown sightings in different neighborhoods of Annapolis, Maryland. Police later confirm the reports to be a hoax.
    Sep. 21: A 12-year-old in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is chased by a clown through a park.
    Sep. 24: A Palm Bay, Florida, resident reports spotting two �killer clowns� while walking her dog. She says the clowns were staring at her and frightened her to the point that she called police after returning home.
    Sep. 25: A child in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, is chased by three people who emerged from the woods dressed as clowns. Nobody has been hurt in the town but it is the fourth such incident reported in the area. Residents plead with the troublemakers to stop their antics.
    Sep. 27: Tennessee officials put out a warning telling residents to be vigilant as Halloween approaches. One teenager reports being attacked by a clown.
    Sep. 27: Police in Phoenix say two different fast-food restaurants were robbed by suspects wearing clown masks.
    Sep. 30: The New York Times reports that false reports or threats in connection to sightings of "creepy clowns" have led to the arrest of 12 people in over 10 states.
    Sep. 30: Threatening Facebook post from the account "Aint Clownin Around" leave at least five schools in three separate states on high alert. The post sent to students in students in Westside High School in Houston reads, "We will be at all High schools this Friday to either kidnap students or kill teachers going to they cars ..."

By October, reports were coming in from Idaho, Alaska, California, Arkansas, and several other states.

(8) Worldwide ~ October


By mid-October 2016, clown sightings were being recorded in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

Reports in the UK - in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - called them "Killer Clowns."

(9) USA ~ October


One of the major outcomes of the "Creepy Clown Epidemic" of 2016 was the temporary (?) retiring of Ronald McDonald.

On Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the McDonald's Corporation acknowledged that it will henceforth be "thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events" as a result of the "current climate around clown sightings in communities." It became obvious that the overlap was not imaginary.


See also, "Precursor to Creepy Clowns: Ronald McDonald."

(10) USA - 2016



An earlier indicator that "creepy clowns" were on the horizon happened in June 2015, and continued into early 2016, when front page clown images and political cartoons of Donald Trump appeared in New York City and other newspapers.

The number of clown-Trump visual jokes merely increased as the year went along.








The above meme was based on an infamous scene from Stephen King's IT!






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One last note.

The media's many stories on the "Creepy Clown Epidemic" personally pulled me into the analysis long before any reporter interviewed me. Instead, the use of my 1981 work and coining of the phrase "Phantom Clowns" caused journalists to write about and quote me. See here and this brief overview.


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