Top Ten Creepy Clown Clusters of 2016

By: Twilight Language

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!
+++
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.

Phantom Clowns and Bigfoot

(excerpt: Twilight Language)

What’s the connection between “Phantom Clowns” and “Bigfoot”? The visual comics and cartoonists have not been afraid to venture into this realm, long before the current flap.
McDonald Corp., 2006.

Daniel Charles Piraro, 2010

Kerry Callen, 2014.

Chris Holm, 2016.

The origins of the overlap…

Louisiana, Missouri, 1972 (Momo)

Brookline, Massachusetts, and the elsewhere, 1981 (Phantom Clowns)
Greenville, SC, 2016 (Phantom Clowns)

Phantom Clowns: The Politics of Hillary

In the wake of my discussions of Phantom Clowns, Donald Trump, and clown headlines, it appears that Hillary Clinton is now in line with a none-to-subtle linking to an infamous clown, Cavity Sam.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, due to Clinton’s 9/11 health incident, the New York Post has published a political cartoon headline entitled “Illary.”

It is a direct use of the 1965 “skills game” Operation.

Wikipedia has this introduction to the game and its history:

Operation is a battery-operated game of physical skill that tests players’ hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. The game’s prototype was invented in 1964 by John Spinello, a University of Illinois industrial design student at the time, who sold his rights to the game to Milton Bradley for a sum of USD $500 and the promise of a job upon graduation. Initially produced by Milton Bradley in 1965, Operation is currently made by Hasbro, with an estimated franchise worth of USD $40 million.
The game is a variant on the old-fashioned electrified wire loop game popular at funfairs around the United States. It consists of an “operating table”, lithographed with a comic likeness of a patient (nicknamed “Cavity Sam”) with a large red lightbulb for his nose. In the surface are a number of openings, which reveal cavities filled with fictional and humorously named ailments made of plastic. The general gameplay requires players to remove these plastic ailments with a pair of tweezers without touching the edge of the cavity opening. Source.

“Cavity Sam” with his bright red nose is straight from the clown world of midways and carnivals.

A midway at a fair (commonly an American fair such as a county or state fair) is the location where carnival games, amusement rides, entertainment and fast-food booths cluster.
The term originated from the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. It was the first world’s fair with an area for amusements which was strictly separated from the exhibition halls. This area, which was concentrated on the city’s Midway Plaisance, included amusement rides (among them the original Ferris Wheel), belly dancers, balloon rides, and other attractions.
After the Exposition, the term midway came into use as a common noun in the United States and Canada to refer to the area for amusements at a county or state fair, circus, festival, or amusement park. Source.

The “Cavity Sam” character is merely a clown from a carnival transformed into a midway patient.
Individuals attempting to duplicate the game as a Halloween costume use the red-clown-nose as part of their outfit.
The game has evolved, appeared in many editions, and been used for many meanings.
And used, in recent years, for political commentary.
But the New York Post was not the first to use Operation as a way to discuss Hillary Clinton.

Political cartoonist Ben Garrison did an earlier version of the Operation Skills Game cartoon with Hillary Clinton as the subject.

All uses of Operation link back to its “clown” origins, and in the year of the Phantom Clowns, this makes sense.

h/t to Drudge, Tom Mellett