By Aurora Ortiz
For the past few months, clown sightings in more than 10 states have Americans on edge. There is a longstanding love-hate relationship with clowns. Some children and adults dislike clowns, while others enjoy their tomfoolery. However, with clown sightings getting closer to home, America is no longer laughing.
According to The Guardian, a young boy in a Greenville, SC complex witnessed the first clown sighting on August 29, 2016. Police reports state two clowns were spotted near the woods by the boy. The clowns tried to lure him into the woods. The police found nothing while searching and the incident was assumed to be a one-time thing. It clearly was not, as the sightings still continue months later.
Soon after the first sighting, more clowns began appearing throughout the woods in South Carolina. These sightings frightened residents but seemed relatively harmless. Authorities encouraged parents to keep a close eye on their children and not allow them out alone after dark. However, when September rolled around, clowns began to appear in North Carolina.
Up until this point the clowns were more creepy than harmful. They continued to lurk near woods trying to lure children into the woods. ABC News states that by mid-September, clown sightings had spread to Georgia, Alabama, and Maryland. Clowns began to chase children, lurk around schools, and in some cases, threaten schools through social media and letters. Some were even said to wield knives and machetes.
Recently, clowns have been spotted in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and New Jersey with reports of clowns chasing children and adults. Students at a high school in Dallastown, Pa, reported hearing threats made against the school on Friday, Sept. 30. However, no clowns were spotted and all students made it home safely.
York College and Shippensburg University students reported multiple clown sightings on and off campus. FOX43 News reported that multiple York College students observed clowns standing in the streets near campus.
In both the Dallastown High School and York College cases, authorities did not find evidence concerning these threats and sightings. The Public Opinion stated that police responded to two different cases of clowns sightings at Shippensburg University. Despite reported sightings, police cannot find supporting evidence.
The clown sightings are not only nerve-racking; they are also hurting careers. Professional clowns have spoken about the negative impact the sightings are having on their jobs. Their families are scared they may get hurt. People are less likely to hire them for a party or visit them at carnivals and amusement parks. Many professional clowns hope the clown sightings stop before they permanently damage the profession.
However, with Halloween around the corner, police expect reports of clown sightings to increase. They ask everyone to stay safe and alert, especially at night, and encourage anyone who sees a clown to call 911.
As the clown epidemic continues, and with sightings so close to Chambersburg, students should avoid walking alone in the evening. If at any time anyone feels unsafe about walking through campus, call Security. Wilson’s Security guards are happy to walk/drive with anyone who feels unsafe.