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Sinister clown sightings spread across the US

Police make arrests as investigators in four states look into reports of adults in makeup and costume trying to lure away children

Rob Crilly
New York
Friday 16 September 2016 15:24 BST
Pennywise the clown in the ABC "It" TV series
Pennywise the clown in the ABC "It" TV series

Sightings of creepy clowns trying to lure children away are spreading across the US, with no-one sure whether the whole thing is a hoax or a terrifying new trend in abductions.

Four states have now reported the sinister sightings.

They began in South Carolina, before spreading to North Carolina and have since surfaced in Georgia and Alabama.

Even the horror writer Stephen King, whose 1986 novel It did more than anything to promote the idea that clowns could be terrifying, says the sightings are frightening.

“Kids love clowns, but they also fear them; clowns with their white faces and red lips are so different and so grotesque compared to ‘normal’ people,” he recently told the Bangor Daily News. “The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying.”

In Georgia, police said they had received numerous reports of clowns trying to talk to children as well as a threat by someone promising to dress up and kidnap school pupils.

In a Facebook post, the local police department condemned the threat.

“This behaviour is not cute or funny... if applicable, you may face charges,” it said.

Officers finally solved part of the mystery on Thursday, saying they had charged two people with making false police reports after they say the pair called 911 to report that people dressed as clowns were trying to lure children into a white van.

Police who responded to the calls found found two people in a white van who had run out of gas, and found no clown masks or costumes, and the 911 callers admitted the whole thing was a hoax.

The reports are not entirely new, however.

Bakersfield was among the towns in California that was gripped in 2014 by dozens of reports of clown sightings including some saying they were armed.

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