The recent clown sightings in Greenville, South Carolina have been all over the media lately. People are worried that creeps are dressed as clowns trying to lure their children away. Some write the clown sightings off, placing the blame on publicity stunts and viral ad campaigns. The media casts their own light on the story using it to reference popular upcoming movies without giving any real insight.

Meanwhile reports of clown sightings continue to pour into police departments. A creepy rash of clown sightings that started with talk among children in South Carolina has quickly become a reality for parents who had witnessed it themselves. As the initial reports of clown sightings began to mount a whole town was engulfed in phantom clown sightings. This phenomena has quickly grown and plagues a sizable portion of the country. Still not a single culprit captured or real explanation offered to an entire country left confused by the whole ordeal.

There is an important twist to the South Carolina clown sightings that the media is failing to mention. Something which sheds a new and intriguing light on the incidents altogether.

Phantom Clowns

There almost certainly will be no culprits or real explanation given for this strange rash of incidents in South Carolina. How do I know? Because this is nothing new, a real and documented phenomena known as “Phantom Clowns”. Phantom clown scares have been breaking out in various places all over the country since 1981 and even earlier.

Some hallmarks of a genuine rash of phantom clown sightings include the following:

  • The phantom clown sightings always begin with children’s reports of seeing clowns. This is always brushed off by adults until they themselves begin seeing phantom clowns.
  • The clowns involved always seem threatening and creepy. They try to lure children away from safety with candy etc.
  • Even when reports become widespread, the clowns always seem one step ahead of the police. No reports are ever confirmed by police and the clowns remain completely elusive. Nobody is ever apprehended and no explanation ever found.
  • The clowns eventually disappear as quickly as they showed up. The phantom clown sightings become almost nearly forgotten.

Phantom Clowns of 1981

In March of 1981 phantom clowns struck the United States in nearly 6 different cities. All of the sightings were within a month of each other, all during a time when the internet was not a factor.

Many of these phantom clown outbreaks were written off by police who blamed the recent discovery of a prolific serial killer in Atlanta, GA who had murdered more than 28 children. Were these sightings just mass hysteria? Perhaps the fear of a nation was feeding into a phenomena that is much more than mass hysteria.

Phantom Clowns in the Boston Area

A flood of reports on clown sightings came into the Boston police in early spring of 1981. Children had been seeing a group of clowns in a van they claimed had been trying to lure them in with loads of candy they had inside. Parents did not take the children’s rumors seriously at first but soon they started seeing these clowns in their van themselves. Countless reports flooded into the police at the time, but despite a concentrated effort by authorities the clowns were never caught. School committees, newspaper stories and police warned residents to watch their children and steer them clear of these creepy clowns and their van. The clown sightings in the Boston area reached epidemic proportions and caused widespread fear among residents, no conclusion was ever reached.

Later that year police in Brookline began receiving persistent reports of clowns harassing elementary school children and trying to lure them into their van with candy. According to a number of the reports, one of the clowns was naked from the waist down. The police received descriptions of the van as an older model black van with ladders on the side, a broken tail light and no hub caps. Police warned residents that there were clowns in a van harassing elementary school children typically between the ages of 5 and 7.

Investigative Counselor of the Boston Public School Board, Daniel O’Connell alerted the district’s principals that

“it has been brought to the attention of the police department and the district office that adults dressed as clowns have been bothering children to and from school.”

Reports of clowns in vans began coming in from East Boston, Canton, Charlestown, Cambridge, and Randolph among other cities near Boston.  Police in their scramble to take care of the problem, began stopping trucks and vans with clowns delivering birthday greetings or “clown-a-grams”. Regardless of their efforts no child abductors were found.

Police became frustrated with the whole situation and began ignoring and discounting the whole thing. Soon after a headline in the Boston Globe read “Police Discount Reports of Clowns Bothering Kids”, police were pointing out that the reports originated with the stories of children. The whole incident was concluded and people began to forget the whole ordeal.

Only 50 miles away the reports continued to come in, psychiatric social workers in Rhode Island were hearing similar stories about clowns bothering children from their clients. These reports were ultimately ignored in light of the fiasco that had taken place in Boston.

Phantom Clowns in Pittsburgh

A report of a man dressed as spider man on a rooftop was followed by a report of a man dressed as a bunny rabbit raping and murdering a 5 year old girl and a man in a gorilla suit harassing children with a clown. Police radios buzzed with talk of three men in a van harassing children. One dressed as a clown, another dressed as a rabbit and the third dressed as a gorilla. Police chased a van driven by a man in a rabbit suit but lost him. The story was later ridiculed by police as mass hysteria and no victims were ever found.

Phantom Clowns in Kansas City

Children had been reporting being harassed by a knife wielding clown for weeks until it grabbed the attention of parents, school districts and even police.

Two sisters 6 and 7 years old encountered the clown while walking to their school bus stop. Their mother who was watching from the porch, saw a yellow van pull up to the girls. Moments later the girls ran screaming back to their mother as the van screeched away. The mother told police her girls said a man dressed as a clown pointed a knife at them and ordered them to get inside the van. The girls described the clown as having his face painted white with red polka dots.

The trickle of sightings on the Kansas side of the river quickly swelled into a flood of reports after the phantom clown was named the ‘Killer Clown’ in a memo distributed by a nun at Our Lady and St. Rose School. The memo read:

‘There have been reports of a character called Killer Clown jumping out of bushes and threatening children with a knife… Please alert your children to be careful.’

Police received thousands of reports about a clown in yellow van threatening kids with a knife according to police. All the calls died down before 5 pm that day, and the thousands of reports went unresolved.

A few days later calls from the Missouri side of the river began pouring in. Children were reporting a clown wielding a samurai sword chased them demanding they get into his yellow van. Police said the blade wielding clown in a yellow van had been reported at six different elementary schools across the Missouri side that day.

Police eventually wrote the unresolved incidents off to mass hysteria, even though similar firsthand reports were being made all across the country.

Phantom Clown or Vampire of Mineral Point, Wisconsin

This one is a little different than the other phantom clown sightings, but worth noting due to the nature of the incident and particularly the timing. This occurred right around when the other clown sightings were taking place.

There had been stories among teenagers that a vampire had taken up residence in a local graveyard. This graveyard had been a place where the teens commonly went to drink and party. The vampire as they called it, was scaring the teens away from the place entirely. Teenagers described the thing they

had been having encounters with as extremely tall, wearing a cape or overcoat and had an extremely pale complexion.

Early reports of activity at the graveyard prompted officer John Pepper to investigate further while patrolling the area one night. Pepper entered the graveyard to take a look around. He encountered what he described as a very tall figure wearing a cape with white face paint on. The officer had apparently startled the figure because it stood up and quickly took off. Pepper instinctively gave chase until the figure leaped over a 6 foot tall fence. This stopped Pepper in his tracks, he then ran back to his patrol car to radio in his report. When Pepper led the other officers to the spot where the phantom figure had jumped over the fence, they could find no other tracks on the other side. This is very similar to the Springheeled Jack phenomena reported for hundred of years.

This particular phantom has resurfaced in the same area time and time again. Other police officers have witnessed this phantom as well. In a more recent incident, the figure was reported to sit in a tree outside of an apartment complex and jump out at people as they passed. Officers arrived and the figure fled, they only found tracks that led to a 10 foot wall and then they disappeared. You can read more about the Mineral Point Vampire here.

Phantom Clowns in Denver, CO and Omaha, NE

Apparently there were other incidents of phantom clowns all over the country. Two other places that are often mentioned is Denver, Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska. Details on these incidents will be posted here when found. If anyone has any information on these incidents in 1981 please send an email or comment below.

Phantom Clowns return in 1991

There were a number of phantom clown incidents in the 90s, the Chicago ‘Homey the Clown’ is one of the most prominent. Information about the other incidents will be posted here as details are gathered.

Phantom Clown of Chicago, Illinois

Children began to complain about a man dressed as ‘Homey The Clown’ trying to lure them into his van with candy and money. The clown that had been apparently harassing children was later witnessed by adults and the situation got serious. Witnesses described the phantom clowns van as being blue with the words Ha Ha written across the side of it.

Police said reports had been coming in from every part of the city. One boy claimed the clown had punched him in the face.

Schools issued warnings to parents about deviant clowns and the police worked around the clock. Even though thousands of clown sightings were reported to the police in Chicago over the course of a week, officers never caught anyone. Authorities eventually shrugged the events off as a rumor that had gotten out of hand,or an urban legend.

Phantom Clown in Scotland

In 1991 around Glasgow and Lanarkshire schools warned children to steer clear of any men dressed as clowns in a blue van. Apparently some children had been coming up missing and this came in the wake of clown sightings. These clowns in a van had been trying to lure kids into their van with candy and balloons. The rumor was that these were escaped mental patients from nearby Carstairs Mental Hospital bent on murdering children.

Phantom Clowns in the UK

The United States is not alone in its experiencing phantom clown outbreaks. The United Kingdom has had its fair share of phantom clowns as well.

For instance one of the most recent phantom clown incidents in the UK happened in 2015 in Tonbridge and Tunbridge wells in Kent. Many reports were received by police indicating clowns in a van were trying to abduct children. Other reports told of clowns chasing children with knives on the way to their bus stops. Schools and authorities issued warnings, but so far nobody has been caught.

There were other incidents that coincided with the 1981 phantom clown outbreak state side, more information on those will be posted here as gathered.

Recent Phantom Clown Outbreaks

There are numerous clown sightings that are much more recent other than the South Carolina phenomena.

Wicker Park experienced a run in with creepy clowns in 2008. A man dressed as a clown was trying to lure kids into a van with balloons according to reports. A few reports of this clown soon turned into thousands. A man driving a white or brown van with broken out windows was apparently trying to abduct children. Of course nobody was ever caught.

Earlier this year a 13 year old student claimed he was chased by a knife wielding clown in all black clothes.

More recent clown sightings will be posted here as information is gathered.

What Are Phantom Clowns?

The real answer to this question is simply that nobody truly knows. The phantom clown phenomena is yet another example of high strangeness. Men in black, bigfoot, phantom black panthers, ghosts and

poltergeists fit into the same category of truly unexplained events. These phantom clowns show up with no more rhyme or reason than the weather it seems. Despite what a media that cannot remember would have you believe, it is obvious that phantom clowns are a paranormal occurrence.

At the very least phantom clowns could be written off as mass hysteria. However with the large amounts of time in between occurrences and the vast distances involved, simple mass hysteria seems very unlikely. The consistent details of phantom clown events make the mass hysteria explanation little more than a cop out.

One important detail that should not be overlooked about this brand of high strangeness is the fact that in every single case, it all begins with kids. The element of children is important because this is consistent with other types of paranormal phenomena. Genuine cases of mischievous poltergeist activity for instance, is almost always directly linked to a young child being present.

Why Kids?

Something about children makes particular types of paranormal phenomena much more likely to occur. Some theorize that the children themselves cause their own psychic energy to manifest physically sometimes. The thinking behind such a theory is that a child is ripe with curiosity and imagination, therefore much more powerful on a raw psychic level. Being unable to completely control the raw psychic power, children can sometimes manifest their fears or frustrations in mischievous ways such as poltergeist activity.

There is also the possibility that the psychic energy of children attracts malevolent beings not necessarily of this dimension or plane of existence. Perhaps these external forces feed on fear or raw emotion and use deep rooted archetypal symbols like clowns to propagate fear. If fear is what these entities are after, then their strategy begins to make more sense. The children’s fear which is the main course is activated by appearing as a clown and behaving in creepy ways. When the parents later catch on and realize something creepy on a level that is hard to deal with is threatening their children, the fear is amplified to near frenzy. Entire communities are engulfed with this fear and the phantom clowns become much more frequent to the point they overwhelm the resources of entire cities.

Another thing worth noting is that just because these are phantom clowns does not mean they are harmless. If fear continues to spread as the clown sightings suggests it is, then a snowball effect could quickly come into play. Right now the phantom clown phenomena is spreading like wildfire, much faster than in previous cases and to a much larger population. Before you know it we could be getting phantom clown reports in every city. Once something like this gains that much energy and momentum the prospect of someone actually dying or getting hurt become very likely.

Why Clowns?

The clown is without a doubt a psychological symbol with roots deep in our psyche. When condensed in meaning, the clown is nothing more than another aspect of the trickster archetype. A clown represents a disregard of what is normally acceptable. The smiling face that invites others to laugh at its expense harbors dark implications.

This individual that acts without logic and ignores boundaries is unpredictable and deviant. The tricks are not just to make you laugh, but to mock the state of humankind and ultimately express something perverse. The painted face and irrational behavior is likely a remnant of a time in human history when a more primal mindset ruled. A clown is an expression of something lurking inside that ignores taboo.

The clown is another aspect of what the Native Americans called the trickster coyote. The fool in tarot, the jester in medieval times. The trickster that can steal fire from the gods and heroically give it to mankind, or lead a traveler from their path to kill them senselessly. The trickster is without good and evil.

You can read more about the occult and psychological meaning of clowns here.

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