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The Wasco clown (courtesy Instagram)

It’s called coulrophobia: fear of clowns. It’s a thing (so to speak). If you suffer from coulrophobia, you don’t want to Google Bozo the Clown, attend a Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey’s Clown College reunion or visit Bakersfield, California. “The latest in a series of [16] creepy clown sightings came shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday when Bakersfield police officers near Valhalla Drive and Belle Terrace responded to a report of a person in a clown suit holding a firearm,” reports. “Officers checked the area but were unable to find the person. The incident came after a week with numerous calls to police from residents reporting seeing scary or mischievous clowns. ‘We’ve had multiple of these clown sightings all over town,’ said Bakersfield police Lt. Jason Matson. ‘He was gone by the time we arrived.’ On Thursday, Bakersfield police officers arrested a minor whom investigators said admitted to dressing as a clown and chasing and scaring younger juveniles.” What’s up with all the clowns? Turns out. . .

The rash of incidents is reportedly inspired by a married couple’s year-long art project, featuring “Wasco Clown,” a circus figure appearing at local California establishments for photo shoots, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

As the article reveals, that’s original Wasco clown photo at the top of this post. (He’s named for the small San Joaquin Valley town from whence he came.) Click here – if you dare – for Instagram images inspired by the project, where people dress up as the creepy clown and pose for photos. Apparently, this is a serious business.

Police are taking potential copycat clowns seriously. Bakersfield Police Department Sgt. Joseph Grubbs said the force will not hesitate to protect public safety.

“We will make arrests on this,” Grubbs told the newspaper. “We want this to stop.”

I guess they just don’t get It. Anyway, a clown with a gun? Where have I seen that before? Anyway, time to ban clowns? [h/t Pascal]

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  1. Hah that’s actually pretty amusing. And what are they arresting (going to be) for? I wasn’t aware dressing like a clown was now a criminal offense.

    • If they are holding weapons in their hands, especially a gun in CA, I’m sure the cops can think of something that will stick. Without weapons, they wouldn’t have an even nominally legal reason, but I’m sure they would think of something anyway.

      Regardless, a clown standing at a distance with a pipe wrench or machete is considerably less frightening when one is properly armed. Just saying.

  2. we had a rash of “homey the clown” crap back when my sister’s kids were in grammar school 25 years ago. it re- occurs from time to time.
    he’s got nothin’ on slender man.
    i always hand out the big giant full size candy from the bulk store.

  3. ““We will make arrests on this,” Grubbs told the newspaper. “We want this to stop.””

    Im still confused as to what crime was committed?

    • Scaring Californians who are apparently terrified of Everything. Bet $50 bucks there was never a clown with a gun just another way to get the cops out in force. If there was a gun that still isn’t a crime in california. They allow open carry I believe tho it must be completely unloaded. Hey Californians arrest your dumb politicians not a clown that isn’t doing anything.

      • Open carry in California died recently. TTAG covered it if I recall, though it may have just been well represented in comments for a while.

      • Open carry is allowed in unincorporated areas. I’ve encountered any number of people out of the cities packing.

    • Menacing. Disturbing the Peace (pretty common charge for cops who can’t think of anything else to arrest someone for). Harassment. Worse if they ever actually chase someone – it could be counted as some kind of assault charge or something. I’m not an expert, but Menacing is certainly illegal, and if they get a Judge that doesn’t like Clowns, they’ll get the book thrown at them.

      This can only end poorly. Someone is going to get hurt, and chances are, an innocent bystander (read: unarmed person, probably some unfortunate older lady who has a heart attack) will be the first.

  4. Gee I was a clown and an “entertainer” back in the day. I’m glad I didn’t get shot. I hate clowns too 🙂

    • you would know where medinah temple is. one of the shrine units is for clowns.
      i’ve never ever once heard them referred to as anything but f’ing clowns.

  5. “… the force will not hesitate to protect public safety…”

    …and shoot your dog if dressed like a clown!

  6. don’t click on the photo of wasco. something about a “cloud” had me pretty well locked out of here for a good bit.

    • Damn! …and I was prepping for the Zombie Apocolypse.

      Oh well, time to trade in my guns for a squirting flower and a gun with a flag that says “Bang!”

      Range day will never be the same (sigh).

    • With the new Capitol visitor’s center, the tourists will no longer have to smell the Senators…

  7. Anyone else think this is no coincidence showing up at the heels of the new season of American Horror Story? Watch if you want a “freak show” and one scary-lookin clown! 🙂

  8. Let’s be honest……most clowns should be shot on site. They serve no purpose to society whatsoever and scare the living shit out of admitted coulrophobes like myself. I also have a fairly significant fear of certain types of dolls. The new “Annabelle” trailer has had me seriously considering putting a bullet through my TV as of late. DOWN WITH CLOWNS!!!

    • Clowns are evil.

      Clowns are dangerous.

      Nobody “needs” a clown.

      Hmm. Why does that mantra sound so familiar?

      • A gun cannot think or act on it’s own, therefore it cannot be “evil”.

        A clown has a mind of it’s own and can therefore be “evil”

        A gun cannot go off by itself. It’s only dangerous in the wrong hands.

        A clown has hands. A clown can go off by itself and do harm without a gun.

        And yes, nobody needs a clown. Owning a clown would indicate some sort of bizarre slavery had been re-introduced to America.

        🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Almost as if it was close to a traditional national holiday of creepy pranks..

    I guess soccer moms need something to freak out about every month.

  10. “Can’t sleep, Clowns will eat me.”

    Bart Simpson

    Ban High Capacity Clowns. Especially those terrifying Bozo noses.

  11. Considering that back in the day, John Wayne Gacy’s MO consisted of dressing up as a clown for kids birthday parties in order to pick out his victims, I consider it a pretty justifiable phobia.

  12. Are the clowns the ones with the funny outfits special cars and all the jokes or the ones with the orange hair and balloons?

  13. That ain’t no damned clown! That’s Will Hayden!!

    Clowns give me the willies. Big headed, big footed, eerie looking , make up wearing freaks, big nosed creeps whose appearance just screams “I’M A PERVERT”! They do stupid and dangerous shit that isn’t very entertaining, they say ignorant crap, and they THINK PEOPLE BELIEVE THEM! Cocky, arrogant, and big headed beyond belief, they are always most happy when buried in the center of a circle of little pre-pubescent kids. They all do the exact same thing when you really think about it, yet they each swear and be damned that they are oh-so-very original, plowing into novel, uncharted, cutting edge territory heretofore untrounced by the big ass floppy feet of their contemporaries, all this despite how ludicrous their claims obviously are! They are often grouchy, overbearing, and ugly as sin. The worst of them are pedophiles, they lie, they exhibit pedophilic tendencies, and they say crap that would make pinocchio’s nose punch a hole through the ozone. They never tell the truth, and they are often practice pedophilia. The truth can’t seem to come from their mouths, but they are often good at taking things INTO their mouths that never should have been there in the first place! They seem compelled to lie when the truth would serve far better, and they stock up on Wal-Mart candy by the bushel to use for nothing more than baiting pre-teens. Oh, and did I mention that they are so full of shit that their eyes are brown and that they like to diddle little kids?! It’s true!

    Uhhhhhhh, hold up just a second…I retract my opening sentence.

  14. I’m not eager to wade into the Dark Carnival that is the nexus of California and firearms, but I do think these stunts are funny; even if potentially dangerous. The clown pranks on youtube are pretty funny, too, when they’re happening to other people, that is.

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