A creepy and anonymous clown has been terrifying residents of Northampton in England by standing around on street corners and staring at passers-by
Those of a coulrophobic disposition are advised to look away now.
A creepy and anonymous clown has been terrifying residents of Northampton by standing around on street corners and staring at passers-by.
The clown, who bears a striking resemblance to Pennywise from the Stephen King-inspired 1990 horror film, IT, first appeared on Friday 13th and was spotted again over the weekend.
According to the Northampton Herald and Post the red haired, white faced clown has appeared in several locations in the Abington and Kingsley areas of the town.
He is also sometimes seen carrying a clown teddy.
The newspaper also reports that the clown knocked on someone's door and offered to paint their window sills despite having no painting equipment.
The newspaper reported: "He doesn't juggle. He doesn't twist balloons into animal shapes. He just stares."
The creepy jester even has his own Facebook page featuring a picture of the murderous clown Pennywise.
He has also been forced to deny via his Facebook page that he had been carrying a knife after false rumours spread on social networks.
On his Facebook site, entitled 'Spot Northampton's Clown', he posted yesterday: “Too much hate not enough love. No, i don't have a knife on me!, thats just stupid rumours spread by stupid people. I'm also 'not' on twitter as it confuses the heck out of me.
“However, i might go for a jog around that pond in Abington park later as i'm really unfit... See you around! Beep Beep!”
Despite a largely negative reaction some people have embraced the presence of the mystery clown.
Jay Gould wrote on his Facebook page: “Poor clown just trying to liven up Northampton and people threatening to hurt him.”
Alex Wynick wrote on Twitter: "Genuinely do not understand the fear of the Northampton Clown. It's just a guy with too much time on his hands."
The sightings of the clown have prompted the Twitter hashtag #northamptonclown which is being used to speculate on reasons for the clown's appearance - with some suggesting it could be part of publicity stunt.
An irrational fear of clowns has come to be known as as coulrophobia. The prefix "coulro" comes from the ancient Greek word for "one who walks on stilts."
Symptoms include feelings of dread, increased heartbeat, sweating, nausea and anger.
A University of Sheffield study from 2008 found that out of 250 children aged four to 16 images of a clown were widely disliked. The researchers said clowns were "universally disliked by children" and that "some found them quite frightening and unknowable."
Perhaps the most famous killer clown was the child murdering monster Pennywise from the 1990 television movie IT. However the killer clown has been a regular feature of several horror films including Clownhouse, Mr Jingles and 2004's In Fear of Clowns.
The genre also includes the 1988 classic 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space', which had the tagline: "In Space No One Can Eat Ice Cream".