The Pipeline

Rise of the Clowns

Hannah Jenarine, Assistant Grab Bag Editor

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Clowns have been around for thousands of years tracing back to Egyptian, Native American, and Chinese culture.  They made Pharaohs burst out in laughter, interrupted Indian dance rituals with their silly shenanigans, and mocked Emperor Huang’s plan to paint the Great Wall of China.  Essentially, these jesters served as a means of escape for those who needed to release their anger and frustration.  However, over the years clowns have evolved from entertaining tricksters to menacing creatures who have been terrorizing people of all ages, luring some into the woods, and chasing others with guns. But what exactly started this hysteria? Here are the top three most popular conspiracy theories that explain the rise of clowns.

  • Ronald McDonald is a satanic symbol that started this evil mess. For those who do not know Ronald, he is the mascot of the McDonald’s fast food chain.  He is painted in, white, red, and yellow, wears big, floppy shoes with a mop of red curly hair on top of his head, and is loved by children everywhere around the world. However, many people believe that underneath his perpetual smile is death, fear, and chaos.  In fact, Olivia Goldhill, a week writer for Quartz magazine, said that the “mask of make-up and the excessive familiarity [of McDonald is] just a hair’s breadth away from terror.”


  • It is all just viral marketing trying to persuade people to watch scary movies-namely the reproduction of Stephen King’s novel called The original IT movie came out in 1990 and was based on a clown who terrorized and devoured children for his pleasure.  Nevertheless, there are rumors that a new IT film will be released in 2017 and is connected to the recent clown sightings.  Sure enough, like the movie, many children have claimed to be assaulted by clown figures, and it is only safe to assume that in a matter of time clowns will target even more people.


  • It is all a part of social media’s plan to go start a new trend. Nowadays, people will do anything for the slightest bit of attention, even if it means dressing up as a clown and posting videos online.  True enough, search “clown” on google and clown sightings, clown purge, and clown purge, and clown costumes are the top keywords that appear on search engine.  It is still unclear whether or not clowns are pranksters vying for attention, but fear is still spreading around the country and the viral feeds of social media are definitely not helping.


In essence, clowns have always been regarded as ambiguous creatures whose reputations have deteriorated over time.  Within a matter of decades, these jesters have transformed into psychotic troublemakers who spread fear around the world; therefore, it is only reasonable to assume that no clown can be trusted.  So, the next time a clown offers you a wink and a smile, make sure to carefully discern his motives.

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Rise of the Clowns