New research reveals why people are afraid of clowns

Originally published at: New research reveals why people are afraid of clowns | Boing Boing


Not just movies. Pagliacci was depicting a murderous clown to theatergoers back in the 1890s.

To me there’s really no mystery that’s even worth studying here. The days of the Bozo the Clown TV show are long, long gone, and people don’t visit circuses much these days. What percentage of people alive today have even been exposed to clowns as a sincere form of harmless entertainment?



… that’s the one American out of twenty who has lived with a clown :clown_face:


My fear of clowns stems from the fact that I am deathly afraid of being bored to death.


Sure, the creepy movies don’t help (at all!), but it’s the fact that the facial expression is painted on, so you can’t easily detect the person’s real expression, change of expression, or know if they’re in a murderous rage.

Having lived with a unpredictably moody parent, I’m always trying to read expression changes and stay a step ahead. Clowns make me deeply uncomfortable.


I think the body language disconnect is a factor too. Their body language is exaggerated or false, like their face.
I don’t fear them but I do find them creepy. I also dislike dolls, the more realistic the worse they are.


“Doctor, I’m depressed,” the man says; “life is harsh, unforgiving, cruel. And so am I.”

The doctor consoles him; “Things could be worse! The killer clown Pagliacci is in town tonight, after all. As long as you don’t go down that dark path you’ll know there’s always hope for you.”

The man bursts into tears as he pulls a bloodstained dagger from his coat. “But doctor…”


That’s wonderful.

“For sale, clown car, unused.”


As a tiny nerd who read a lot I was on excellent terms with my school librarians. But the day one of them dressed up in her clown outfit and makeup and showed up in the cafeteria, she was surprised that I basically fled the area and didn’t even recognize who she was. I don’t know what the deal is with all the traditions around clowning but the outfits and makeup seem to have gone past “funny” to outright disturbing.


A Brief History of Clowns: How Did They Become Evil?


3 words: John Wayne Gacy. That is all.


Clowns are funnier when we talk about them.

I’ve never understood the part about not being able to read someone’s expression.
I’ve encountered a lot of people who are quite capable of wearing a different expression from what they’re actually feeling (not just actors), especially pretending they were happy when they weren’t. Also, most people don’t seem to be able to read my expression, I’m told I look ‘angry’ when I’m interested in something, it’s basically ‘resting b*tch face’.
So I don’t necessarily trust that someone’s expression is actually telling me anything, and if they’re wearing clown makeup it doesn’t make much difference to me.

The same people have no fear from… Perhaps… Bible-mongers, guns, or Ron DeSantis

“And the fact that there might be something hidden and dangerous, there might be harmful intent behind the makeup.”

jah, no shit.

edit/ ah, IronEdithKidd beat me to it.

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Of no relevance to the story but I have to share…
The other day I noticed the 2017 4Runner should be the official car of Juggalos. That ICP face they gave it…

ALL of the fairly recent Toyotas have prison teardrop tattoos; it’s super odd once you notice it.

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I can’t unsee it now…

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I know exactly where my fear of clowns comes from, because I didn’t used to be afraid of clowns. Then I read It, and then I saw the tv movie version with Tim Curry. Stephen King and Tim Curry are responsible for my fear of clowns. I love them both, but they did that.