A craze which has swept over from across the pond, ‘killer clowns’ seem to be around every corner. In fact, even in the picturesque South Devon, they have been stalking around. However, it is worth emphasising that, although the public should be cautious of these individuals, they are mostly foolish individuals out to get a few cheap laughs at other people’s expense. If you are afraid for your immediate safety after a clown sighting don’t hesitate to call 999.
These so- called killer clowns have been sighted most frequently in Plymouth in would seem, with one video even achieving international notoriety. This video depicted George Birkbeck, 22, chasing a clown away with a beer bottle from a crate he had just bought from Tesco, after the clown stood in his way whilst brandishing a hammer.
Birkbeck wrote on Facebook about the incident saying : ‘He stood in my way and wouldn’t let me pass and had what looked like a hammer in hand… Seriously – stay safe out there guys these things are scary and I don’t recommend that anyone else charges towards them if you see one.’. Children in Plymouth have also reported being approached by clowns in the middle of the street and being chased through Plymouth woods by knife-wielding clowns. The sightings have escalated, there was even a confirmed report on the 6th October of a clown on a school bus.
Torquay’s Town Centre Policing Team have made a statement, regarding these Killer Clowns via Twitter, saying ‘we’re champing at the bit to nick one!’. PC Dave Thomas has confirmed a clown incident in Brixham and said that Torquay had suffered ‘quite a few problems’. There have been a significant number of alleged sightings, including Hele Road, St. Marychurch and Lichfield- with some clowns even giving chase.
The killer clown epidemic has been confirmed to have reached Exeter, causing professional clowns to speak out against the practise. There have been incidents of clowns staring at people through car windows and there have been sightings along the River Exe.
There have also been problems with vigilante groups going out to ‘hunt’ for clowns, for example in Tiverton, where a request for people to go clown hunting late at night was posted on ‘Spotted Tiverton’ .
In a bizarre twist, the clown craze may have originated from Paignton, in the form of the Northampton Clown. The Northampton Clown would wander around Northampton, being posted on social media by scared residents, becoming a sort of local celebrity. This person was exposed as Alex Powell, a hopeful filmmaker studying at the University of Northampton, though he confessed then took back his admission. Powell is originally from Paignton and he made a film around that time called The Local Clown, where the main character wears the same costume as the Northampton Clown did; though Powell claimed he gave the costume to a charity shop after he had used it, hence the Northampton Clown must have purchased it from there. The plot thickens however, when Powell posted an image of the old Northampton Clown costume on Instagram captioning it with ‘Time to dust off this old thing and show these foreign clowns who the real clown is…’. This begs the question, who was the Northampton clown and can it truly be traced back to Paignton?
There have been many theories about why these clowns are doing what they’re doing; from publicity for the new remake of the Stephen King novel IT, a cult or just simply sadistic individuals trying to terrify the residents of their areas. However what should be taken away from this is that, while we should be cautious, do not let the clowns win and avoid going outside, particularly on Halloween and call 999 if you feel threatened. It is also worth mentioning not to go on ‘clown hunts’ as these individuals may have weapons and the police are more than equipped to deal with such offenders.