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Creepy Clowns Cause Campus Consternation


October 4, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
The creepy clown craze - which started in late August with alleged sightings in South Carolina - has spread to some college campuses. Disconcerting social media posts have prompted police investigations nationwide and have even led to a forced lockdown at Merrimack College. Though many of the cases were found to be hoaxes, police are taking the incidents seriously, and so are some students who have taken to the streets to hunt the clowns.

The creepy clown craze - which started in late August with alleged sightings in South Carolina - has spread to some college campuses. Disconcerting social media posts have prompted police investigations nationwide and have even led to a forced lockdown at Merrimack College. Though many of the cases were found to be hoaxes, police are taking the incidents seriously, and so are some students who have taken to the streets to "hunt" the clowns.

At least ten states have reported clown sightings, many of which were deemed pranks and not credible. One student at Belmont University posted an image of a clown standing outside a building on campus as a joke, but when caught later, claimed he "severely underestimated the power of hysteria and how quickly [the prank] got out of hand." In Connecticut, New Haven Public Schools launched an investigation on the authenticity of numerous clown-related Instagram posts with messages such as, "If you go to Career watch out...u really think it's fake, wait and see." There was no indication that the incident posed any real or substantial New Haven Public Schools, according to a statement by officials, but the incidents are being taken "very seriously."

While the fear grows with increased sightings, some students are running toward the clowns, and not away. A mob of 500 Pennsylvania college students set out to "hunt clowns" after rumors spread that one had been spotted on campus. The group was "rioting" and chanting, "We are Penn State!" University police Sgt. Mike Nelson stated that "there were no clown sightings and no credible clown threats." Similarly, at UConn, students left their dorms in search of the clowns with golf clubs and hockey sticks in hand. However, in all of these cases, the "cause is specifically social media" and reports from third-hand reports instead of actual witnesses.

What would be the most effective way to handle the clown cases? Leave us your thoughtful comments below."

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Aliya T  on  11/1/2016 10:51:04 PM commented:

Most people are asking how can you tell the difference between a real and fake clown. You can't because at the end of the day they are all humans. None of them are actually real. By the next week it will seam like none of this ever happened. But come next year it will be back. Some people take things out of hand. And some are mentally ill or are considered dangerous ( ex.they take kids for fun) they were using the whole clown this as an advantage. I honestly think people should take in considerate of peoples feeling and learn how to stop. One time it's a joke the second it's funny the third time it gets serious and someone gets hurt. But at the end of the day everyone should protect themselves and be safe.

Nicole M.  on  11/1/2016 4:11:44 PM commented:

The best and most effective way to deal with the clown sightings is; never confront the clown but if possible get as much detail about thw clown and the location the clown was seen at and then call the police while walking away to a safe place. Once authority knows they can go to the location and find as much evidence (shoe prints, finger prints, etc). Never think any clown sightings are fake, always assume they are real.

Kyle A  on  11/1/2016 9:35:17 AM commented:

The most effective way for a witness to deal with a clown is for them to leave it alone. The best thing you can do is call the cops immediately and give the location and the details of the clown. When the responsibility is in the authorities hands, they can analyze if the supposed clown is still present. If the clown left, an investigation team can search for any clothing or material dropped by the clown. With any material, a cadaver dog can try to trace the path of the clowns disappearance. To help out the situation, it would be nice to have picture evidence of the clown. Don't post it on social media, or send it to the news. Show the authorities. Bottom line: do everything you can to keep yourself safe.

Mohammed S.  on  10/31/2016 9:22:24 AM commented:

The most effective way to deal with these so called clowns would be to have police on the lookout for these clowns. As evident in twitter sightings and videos, the clowns would appear near parks and other popular institutions. The clowns are only regular people usually, but sometimes epidemics like these can lure out all kinds of dangers and threats. If necessary, there should be a stricter watch on dangerous persons in each town, nationwide, so that the clown cases can be reduced to a minimum. Like any trend, this trend will eventually die down and something else that is ridiculous may replace it.

C.R Cynthia Ramirez  on  10/30/2016 7:45:21 PM commented:

Lately clown sightings and twitter accounts made from the "clown itself " have been trending and have been all over news. The question is how do we deal with some of the situations and threats some of these hoax accounts or clowns have threatened to do ? The most effective way society could handle the clown cases would simply be ignoring it , by paying more attention we give them more power. Of course we all need to be careful and be aware of our surroundings at all times and report if anything seems suspicious or if it makes you feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Next time instead of liking a clowns tweet or even following them on twitter , let's remember that we hold the power and we are in control whether this becomes such a big issue at all.

C.R  on  10/30/2016 7:37:04 PM commented:

Lately clown sightings and twitter accounts made from the "clown itself " have been trending and have been all over news. The question is how do we deal with some of the The most effective way society could handle the clown cases would

Leslie tuma  on  10/29/2016 4:36:29 PM commented:

I think that these clown sighting or the reason behind the clowns is nothing more than to show independence and the liberty as a person. I actually don't see nothing wrong with news of clowns found all over the place but the chance that some people have been waiting for.

Marcos Rodriguez  on  10/21/2016 11:01:20 AM commented:

The best way to deal with the clown cases is by targeting specific areas where clown sightings happen often, and have some form of neighborhood watch so there could be multiple witnesses. That way the police will be called and no one would have to approach the clown. People do these clown sightings for attention and since it is close to halloween. If we pressure the ones causing trouble, they would have no place to go since neighborhood watch is there.

Camesha S.  on  10/18/2016 8:36:37 PM commented:

I believe the best way to handle the Creepy Clown Craze is to let it die out like most trending topics of pop culture, but also to remain safe at all times. Although most of these clown "sightings" have been under nothing more than humorous pretenses, it's better to be safe than sorry. Personal safety is of upmost importance when dealing with threatening situations. I believe that if colleges implemented self-defense training to students then it would help them to be better prepared upon coming in contact with Creepy Clowns. Not only would training be beneficial in this situation, but it would also be put to use in scenarios where active shooters are involved, attempted sexual harassment, and other stressful circumstances. There are many ways to protect yourself and de-escalate situations without causing extreme bodily harm, or even death (to clowns), and not only campuses, but the general public should be educated on these ways.

Samantha F  on  10/18/2016 7:36:22 PM commented:

Listen up guys! not only are the clown sightings prank immature and stupid. it is not funny at all! it actually is a thrill to send the cops and beat the clowns up ourselves it will be a great way for the clowns to take it seriously and see that there will only be consequences.

G.M  on  10/18/2016 1:47:40 PM commented:

One effect way to handle the cases is to avoid the situation and disregard the negative actions being demonstrated. Many people have gotten into habit too only aggravate them but in reality if people around truly want to remain safe,they should simply avoid going out at night and hunting for problems.

Quanah P  on  10/18/2016 9:24:21 AM commented:

First off people who are dressing up as these are not keeping the farmers in mind. They are setting up in their fields waiting for someone to drive by the wheat fields to jump out and scare someone. This is making an negative impact on farmers everywhere especially in the state of Oklahoma. Young teenagers are terrified of these fields which is hurting the agricultural business. Farmers are wanting everyone to see how their hard work they put into these fields are a good thing, not to be filled with creepy clowns.

Monica H  on  10/12/2016 10:19:03 AM commented:

the "Creepy clowns" have to come to an end they are scaring innocent children just last week my old middle school was on lock down due to these immature clowns. they are knife welding maniacs and they need to be stopped. many families have opted out of this years Halloween fun leaving many kids to wonder why they ave no candy and let me say if i when i was a kid if my mom told me i could not go trick or treating i would have thrown the biggest tantrum ever hopefully these clowns will come to there scenes before Halloween

Alejandra R  on  10/12/2016 1:50:19 AM commented:

The thing is people's insensitive nature to go out and purposely scare people that are frightened about clowns is not okay. These people have the goal In mind to scare innocent members of society who will likely experience mild trauma. Plato me the nation we've seen these occupancies, and even in my University. That only reflects ignorance on them, having nothing larger in mind than to scare others. It is valid the it is October, but it is serious thing when people have Fobias about clowns and some have been seen armed. There are school cameras all around, and witnesses can be compensated for giving the story.

Melanie S.  on  10/12/2016 12:11:45 AM commented:

The clown sightings are getting out of hand. The police can track down the instagram accounts of the clowns to stop it. People shouldn't take the clowns seriously until something actually happens. If they really want to they can be prepared, but they shouldn't have hunts, thats just putting them in harms way. So tracking down the accounts would be the way to go.

Fahmida M  on  10/11/2016 9:06:40 PM commented:

It's pretty much getting out of hands and it must be stopped before something serious happens and someone gets hurt. The most effective way to handle the clown cases is wherever they saw the clown they should plant a camera and have someone look at the footage and try to identify the person behind that creepy clown mask. But I strongly think that the law enforcements should seriously take some action as well.

Saeeda B  on  10/11/2016 7:01:47 PM commented:

Now a days, terrorism is synonymous with Muslims, and Islam. Why do we not realize that this clown hysteria, is also considered terrorism. Whoever was sick enough to start this whole thing, probably didn't realize what they were starting, but in any case, the harm has been done, and will continue to be done, until someone "mans up" (no sexism intended), this will continue to terrorize people. Point being, by not paying attention to the negative, it will diminish itself, like a fad.

Catey M.  on  10/11/2016 6:34:25 PM commented:

I think that this is not as shocking as everyone makes it seem. We all know that people will do anything to either get attention, or likes on YouTube/ Facebook. Did anyone else see The Purge: Election Year? May not have been clown masks, but wow, people will mimic anything.

Jennifer R.  on  10/11/2016 6:11:09 PM commented:

I just don't think people should so much attention on it if it all is just a hoax. If someone comes with a serious case with actual evidence. then we should contact police and let them handle it. I don't think people should bother messing with it.

Juliana S.  on  10/11/2016 5:31:59 PM commented:

I was always afraid of clowns to begin with and now with all these attacks it hasn't made my fear much easier. But I think there is no point in this and the police really need to step it up and put an end to these creepy clowns, especially before halloween many young kids are frighted by clowns and are to scared to go trick or treating.

A.H  on  10/10/2016 10:10:05 AM commented:

It honestly isn't this hard to find these guys it shouldn't be hard at all for the police to track these creeps down like they should really be out here getting at these guys and stop them before some more crap pops up I know they might be doing the best they could but it's just doesn't makes any since I mean like who goes around and dress up as a clown to scare the crap out of some one .

Natalya mcCain  on  10/6/2016 1:32:56 PM commented:

In my opinion I think the police should track the ip adresses of the persons posting the fake clowns. Also they should get the person who posted the picture to take it down when they find them. Also with the police they should have the around the school campus and stay the whole week watching out for them if they are real.

Carley S  on  10/6/2016 12:54:24 PM commented:

I'm terrified of clowns, they are my worst fear. Some might even call it, coulrophobia. I strongly believe that the law enforcement is doing everything they can with the information they have on these clown sightings and in some cases the clowns harassing and terrifying individuals. Whoever these clowns are need to stop before they are stopped by the law or citizens who fear that their life is at risk. With Halloween right around the corner is only going to increase these sightings so they need to stop now before it's too late and it gets even more out of hand.

Brianna Perez  on  10/5/2016 11:04:59 PM commented:

The law enforcement should defiantly take action, to stop these childish acts. It is really getting out of hand

Winter C  on  10/5/2016 11:28:21 AM commented:

The problem with the clowns is serious. If people want to go around taking hoax pictures and pranking universities, then its their own fault if they are subjected to being hurt or arrested by the majority of locals in the area. The real clowns that are threatening schools around the state of Texas and all around the country need to be reported and locked out immediately, their social media accounts need to be tracked down hard, and the people of the United States of America need to start arming themselves in defense of their children, their education, their safety, and their country.

Anonymou s  on  10/5/2016 10:48:28 AM commented:

These clowns are very scary! My little sisters are terrified of these clowns we have to do something about it.

Chrissy M  on  10/5/2016 10:30:28 AM commented:

I believe that the clowns are doing this for attention, so I dont think we should pay them any attention. Of course we should stay away from them if we see them but all of this attention on social media will just keep it all going. There wasnt this many different clowns until it got popular. I think that anyone that is dressed up like a threatening clown should get in trouble with the police and the ones that purposely pose a threat should be locked up for a bit.

Brittney M  on  10/4/2016 11:43:46 PM commented:

I believe that since people want to dress like clowns and harm/ scare people stay away from them. They are clearly wanting an action made from this and we as victims need to be more smart. Would you rather take a chance in getting hurt from hunting these "clowns"? Or would you rather have the police do the work? I'm a senior in high school and feel like these grown people in college need to stop and think. I honestly wouldn't want nothing to happen to anybody.

Samantha F.  on  10/4/2016 10:43:51 PM commented:

In all honesty, I think we should kill the clowns. These clowns are terrible people and they are trying to hunt down children and young adults! They are sick! We do not need these types of creeps in this world. We should either kill the clowns or put them in a dark prison with terrible living standards.

Sarah M  on  10/4/2016 10:02:19 PM commented:

I think that the whole clown thing is pointless. There are many people frightened including myself, but this little scam has gone to far. Police officers need to put a stop to this because sooner or later this will not be a joke and it will evolve into a tragedy.

Jackeline S.  on  10/4/2016 9:41:02 PM commented:

The most professional way to handle these type of situations is to just ignore it. Most of the times when it's a joke that college students or any type of person jokes around it's best to ignore it so that way the attention doesn't go to them. If it's something that can't be ignored the best way to handle this is not to hunt them down, or even worse kill them but to just call the police for help. Sometimes people think the best way to handle something like this is to hunt them down or try to hurt/kill but your going to cause a bigger scene for yourself and the assassinator. You could be charge, as well as this person. It's best if it's ignore by not posting pictures on social media and just thinking that it's a joke from immature people. For once can humans grow up in life and stop thinking that it's all fun and games in this world.

Jackeline S.  on  10/4/2016 9:40:41 PM commented:

The most professional way to handle these type of situations is to just ignore it. Most of the times when it's a joke that college students or any type of person jokes around it's best to ignore it so that way the attention doesn't go to them. If it's something that can't be ignored the best way to handle this is not to hunt them down, or even worse kill them but to just call the police for help. Sometimes people think the best way to handle something like this is to hunt them down or try to hurt/kill but your going to cause a bigger scene for yourself and the assassinator. You could be charge, as well as this person. It's best if it's ignore by not posting pictures on social media and just thinking that it's a joke from immature people. For once can humans grow up in life and stop thinking that it's all fun and games in this world.

Emily W.  on  10/4/2016 9:08:19 PM commented:

The reason this craze is getting so much attention is because we are giving it so much attention. If you ignore someone that is bothering you, they will eventually stop. Things like going "clown hunting" will just feel the fire for more clowns to appear. Remember, no one can chase you if you're not running.

Gianna.M  on  10/4/2016 7:37:16 PM commented:

The clown threats have been out of hand lately. It really disturbs me and I'm sure it disturbs other people also, but do people really have anything better to do but waste their time and getting their enjoyment of giving threats to people. This is a very wrong thing for people to do and they should really put a stop to this because it needs to come to an end and people are freaking out about the situation more and more daily.

Olivia. S  on  10/4/2016 7:09:44 PM commented:

This creepy clown faze is truly horrific. For some, it makes their phobias come to real life. Coulrophobia, the phobia of clowns has taken a toll on some as now there are actually ignorant people wishing to be foolish and play pranks. However they don't realize they are striking fear and terror in many. What must be done is punishment towards those who dress up and take part in scaring people to the point where they don't even want to go outside their house. With Halloween coming up, it's an even bigger fright because ok that day it's socially acceptable for people to dress up as whomever they wish especially the famous clown costume. Hopefully this fad dies out soon and goes away especially since surrounding countries are looking at the US as a joke. Nevertheless we need to think of the betterment of the people and keep everyone safe and away from every terror, including clowns

Jakai T.  on  10/4/2016 6:30:14 PM commented:

I'm afraid of these dudes. Seriously. I don't even have a fear of clowns, but I think I'd be in a riot against them if they had the nerve to threaten my school & classmates.

Rachel R  on  10/4/2016 6:21:54 PM commented:

First of all, a clown "hunt" is a bad way to go about it. Someone might take it a little too seriously and actually hurt someone. However, this should be taken seriously. Prank or not these are violent threats. The best course of action would to be to promote the contact authorities if anyone has a sighting of clowns (outside of a circus or birthday party of course). If there are sightings of out of place clowns holding weapons then do not confront, follow, or hunt them down. Just call the authorities.

Anjali M  on  10/4/2016 6:18:46 PM commented:

It's funny how media has such a huge impact on individuals, and sometimes they coney us to change our opinion. All this stories of "killer clown" started through social media which probably started with a simple prank and now due to this media the rumors are all around all nation; it's just creepy to hear all these and Nevermind witnessing it, but honestly, I think this is just a pathetic prank that someone started and got spread around the nation through social media. This clearly doesn't mean some pshyco didn't get any ideas from this. Just monitor activities around you and stay safe.

Nancy A  on  10/4/2016 6:08:37 PM commented:

I think we should all hunt every last clown down with BB guns. It's clearly the only intelligent thing to do. What could be more American thank taking the law into our own hands?

Amber S.  on  10/4/2016 6:07:15 PM commented:

A possible solution would be to limit the sales of clown costumes at this time, until the sightings clear up or the offenders are apprehended. Search parties should be sent out in possible areas of sightings, collecting evidence and either proving or disproving claims, while keeping amateur "hunters" safe, as well as limiting the entire amount of death as a whole from this situation.

Kaylee R  on  10/4/2016 5:27:30 PM commented:

This reminds me of the "witch hunt" the puritans practiced in years 1692-1693. Just because there were a few claims of there being by a witch, it did not mean it was true. But none the less, the rumors sent the citizens of Salem into hysteria, which further lead to violence. The "clown case" situation is much like the situation in Salem, where people claim there are so called clowns on campus, but no one has any real proof of there really being one. If this has already caused riots, and people hunting clowns with hockey sticks, then much more violence is sure to ensue. I think that the students should definantly leave the clowns to the police, especially if they deem these clowns a threat. The students should not take it into their own hands, due to the possibility of unnecessary violence occurring. The police need to be involved at this point, since these riots can cause potential harm to others. What they should do is come up with a justifiable consequence for those participating in these "clown chases" in order to detain potential harm to the community, and hopefully decrease the hysteria that has spread amongst the students.

Jayden sims  on  10/4/2016 5:02:07 PM commented:

I think that we should really Take this seriously because these clowns are getting really out of hand their trying to lure kids into the woods, and they are chasing people with knives and axes and threatening to shoot up schools and I know that if anyone had a clown coming at them with a knife they would most likely shoot them and I think we should get it in control before someone get seriously hurt and I think the people who are doing this are either psychotic or they think Think this is just a joke and it's not it's a very serious matter.

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