Clowns are supposed to be fun.

They are supposed to make us laugh.

So, when did we start to fear clowns?

Psychology Professor Philip John Tyson asked his class what they were afraid of.

The usual - spiders, snakes, and claustrophobic spaces.

But many students said they were terrified of clowns.

He wanted to know why.

Tyson and his colleagues began researching and found 500 people who suffered from clown fear of clowns, or clownaphobia. 

We have a couple of questions:

How often did they think of clowns?

What would they do if they encountered a clown on the street?

How long have they feared the red-nosed jokesters?

After some time and hard work, they released a report.

In what may be a first-of-its-kind study focusing on the origins of clown fear, the University of South Wales team noticed some distinct patterns in the group. The study, called “Fear of clowns: An investigation into the aetiology of coulrophobia” was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. While the research is not based on a representative sample of the population, the findings offer insights into the reasons some people fear clowns, Tyson said. (Washington Post).

It turns out that this fear is not because of the Stephen King Story "IT"

Sorry, Stephen.

The fear usually stems from a bad experience.

You can never really know what a clown is thinking. It can be difficult to know what’s really going on in the mind of a clown with a painted-on smile or frown.

“There’s something about not being able to read facial expressions,” Tyson said. “And the fact that there might be something hidden and dangerous, there might be harmful intent behind the makeup.” (Washington Post).

Clowns are unpredictable.

Sure they will do things to make you laugh, but then they will shock you with a sudden magic trick or honk a horn in your face.

Here comes one with a bucket of water and it looks like it's going to throw it at you, but it turns out to be glitter.

A clown’s exaggerated features and expressions.

From the big red nose to the weird-shaped head- and what the heck is with that colored hair? It's all a bit unsettling.

Mass murderer John Wayne Gacy killed at least 33 teenage boys and young men dressed as “Pogo the Clown.”

In the Netflix documentary about Gacy, he’s heard saying “Clowns can get away with anything.”

Come to think of it, maybe people who are afraid of clowns have a point.

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