Remember when clowns were slapstick silly? Those days might be gone.
Some states are having -- get this -- a clown problem, and we can't help but think of that harrowing Stephen King book It that instilled a healthy dose of Coulrophobia, or the fear of the painted-red-nosed miscreants. Creepy clowns, not to be confused for those out only for a laugh, have been spotted in several states.
Unfortunately, Nassau County has made the list and honestly, that's just a little too close to home.
According to reports from the Nassau County Sheriff's Office, on Sept. 10, two kids were standing on the side of Henry Smith Road when an older blue car approached them. The driver was wearing an orange wig and a shirt with multi-colored dots on it. When the driver asked the children to come here, they began to run away and the man dressed as a clown chased them.
Four days later, a clown was spotted by Hilliard Middle and High school by a parent, and an unlabeled third party and reported to police by the principal of Hilliard. The clown was seen across the street from the school, near the library and skatepark and also by the band room but off of school property.
On Sept. 17, a mother was inside her home giving her child a bath when she saw someone in a clown mask watching her through the window. The mother said to police that the person had on white face pain and red hair.
In all three instances, after police canvassed the area, no clowns were found.
This isn't the first time Florida has made the news for creeper clowns.
Florida Today reported that a woman in Palm Bay saw two clowns just standing there staring at her as her dog growled at them. She took off running, which may have been the only logical response when faced with such a situation.
It seems this all began in August when reports of clowns in a wooded area in South Carolina surfaced. The clowns were allegedly trying to lure children into the woods. Since, residents of Greenville have been urged to call 911 if they see a clown in the area.
On Friday, September 23, a clown in Kentucky was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he was found to be crouching in some bushes outside of an apartment complex.
According to NPR, nine individuals in Alabama were arrested and charged after identifying themselves as clowns. In response, a nearby town's police department posted a Facebook post asking people to please not dress as clowns because it is, understandably, distressing to the public.
Police in all states are unsure why all of these reports have been popping up across the United States. It's unclear whether this is a cluster of copy cats, or an orchestrated prank. Some of the reports across the states have been hoaxes, but the Associated Press reports that law enforcement agencies have said both false reporters and people dressed as clowns for the sake of startling people will be arrested and charged.
So, what is this doing for the clowns out to make you smile?
The Associated Press reported Wednesday, that a group of clowns in Maryland have decided not to take part in a parade because of the sightings across the state.