Clowns are supposed to be happy, fun, and innocent entertainers. Unless, of course, it is a creepy clown or an evil clown. The history of scary clowns dates back probably about as long as happy clowns, and some real-life clowns will scare just about anyone.
Clowns have been around for hundreds of years, though they are most often friendly and amusing. Historical records show clowns were amusing pharaohs in Egypt around 2,500 B.C. Court jesters are known to have performed in China since the 19th century B.C. Montezuma’s court included jesters similar to those in Europe as reported by Cortez in 1520 A.D. A little closer to home, but still a long time ago, Hopi Native American traditions included clown-like characters who would interrupt serious dances their clown antics. The modern clown began to emerge in the late 18th and 19th centuries as the circus gained popularity.
News of a creepy clown walking the streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin spread like wildfire. The story went viral almost immediately as people wondered what the clown, who carried a bouquet of black balloons, could be up to. As it turns out, Gags the Clown was roaming the city as part of a publicity stunt. Gags has his own Facebook page that is promoting an indie film by writer, producer, and director Adam Krause.
The “Killer Clown” sexually assaulted and murdered more than 35 young men between 1972 and 1978. John Wayne Gacy was a clown entertainer whose stage name was Pogo, but he became known as the “Killer Clown” following his arrest. He was executed in 1994 following his conviction on 33 counts of murder.
In the years following Gacy’s homicidal spree, scary clowns made their way into pop culture. The 1982 film Poltergeist featured a terrifying clown doll. Steven King’s story, It, in 1986 featured a frightening demon who inhabited a clown. Killer Clowns From Outer Space in 1988 and Clownhouse in 1989 continued the scary clown genre.
In the years since, many scary clowns have been seen in pop culture. In fact, evil clowns have now become so much a part of our culture that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to evil clowns.