The History Of Fearing Clowns

The History Of Fearing Clowns

Coulrophobia is real.

Clowns. That one word alone is enough to send shivers down someone's spine. In today's age, it seems that whenever clowns are mentioned the image to pop into people's minds are creepy, cold blooded killers. But it wasn't always this way. When did this change, and why?

Clowns have been around a lot longer than what most people would think. They've made an appearance in several cultures through history, from Ancient Rome to Ancient Egypt dating back to 2500 BCE. These clowns had one job: to make people laugh. And that's what they did. However, the image of a happy clown began to deteriorate with the man who is seen as the first notable ancestor to the modern clown, Joseph Grimaldi. He was the first to bring about the look we associate with clowns today: pure white face with bright red cheeks and elaborate, colorful costumes. He was very well known all over London. However, Grimaldi’s real life was not as happy and cheerful as the life he portrayed on stage. He grew up with a tyrannical father, suffered from depression and alcoholism, had a very strained relationship with his only son who also turned to alcoholism, and suffered extreme joint pain from all his antics from performing as a clown. Once he died Charles Dickens wrote Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, illustrating the extreme pain Grimaldi put himself through just to make others laugh. This caused people to wonder, what's behind the mask of a clown? What pain are they hiding?

Enter Jean-Gaspard Deburau, a famous clown/mime in Paris. He was as famous in Paris as Grimaldi was in London. While Grimaldi’s life showed people what's hiding behind the mask of a happy stage clown, Deburau was the one who planted the seed for the sinister, killer clown. In 1836, Deburau killed a young boy on the street with a blow from his walking stick after yelling insults at Deburau.

Clowning shifted from stage to circus in Europe, and after a while clowning spread to America. Circus clown made people uneasy in the over dramatic ways they moved and their eccentric behavior, being described as “reminding one of the courtyard of a lunatic asylum.” When the television age came around clowns became widely popular as children entertainers, such as Bozo the Clown. Clowns had shifted from an adult audience to children, so they were expected to be innocent. But the lives of Grimaldi and Deburau had people still wondering, what was behind the mask?

Along comes the clown Pogo, or who most people know as John Wayne Gacy. To the public eye was a friendly and hardworking man, and a great clown who entertained at children's parties and fundraising events. However beneath the mask was a man more sinister than anyone could imagine. Between 1972 and 1978 Gacy sexually assisted and killed at least 33 young men. Before his arrest, he told investigating officers: “You know… clowns can get away with murder.” Gacy turned people's uneasiness towards clowns into full on fear.

After Gacy, killer clowns became a hit in movies and books. Stephen Kings popular novel It and movies such as Clownhouse only amplified people's fear. Clowns are now associated with fear and death, not humor and happiness like they were in the past. Clowns make appearances in haunted houses, or even on the streets like during “clown-pocalypse” with one purpose: to frighten others.

I know one thing for sure, if I ever see a clown on the street I'm running as fast as I can the other way.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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To the guy that shot my brother...


To the guy that shot my brother,

On January 9, 2019 my families entire life changed with one phone call. The phone call that my little brother had been shot in the face, no other details. We didn't need any other details. The woman on the phone who called us in full panic told us where he was so we went, as soon as possible. I don't think it helped that not even 10 min prior I talked to Zach on the phone.. kind of irritated with him, and the ONE TIME I didn't say 'I love you' as we hung up. Could've been the last time we ever spoke.. I remember pulling up to the hospital thinking 'this can't be real' 'it's not our Zach' 'this is just a dream Sarah, WAKE UP' I'd close my eyes really tight just to open them, I was still in the hospital emergency parking lot. I could still hear the ambulance sirens coming. It was all real.

The day our life's changed was definitely a test of faith. A test of how strong we were, as a family. I sat in that waiting room ready to see the damage that has been done to my sweet baby brother. Because at that point we had no idea how lucky he got. That glimpse of seeing Zach will haunt me forever. How helpless I felt in that exact moment frequently wakes me up from these horrific dreams I've been having ever since that day. That is a moment burned into my me and families brain forever.

You always hear about these things in the movies or on the news, a house being shot up, someone shooting another innocent person, not to care if they died on your watch. But we found ourselves on the news.. We have been confined to the hospital since that day. Running on barely any sleep, taking shifts of sleep so we don't make ourselves sick taking care of Zach. Watching him suffer. Undergoing surgeries, to repair the damage you did.

Before I proceed let me tell you a little something about the man you shot.

Zachary Keith Wright. A blonde hair blue eyed boy. Who could potentially be the most annoying human on the planet (possibly coming from his sister). A man who loves his God first, loves his family second. Perfect by no means, but almost perfect to me. A 19 year old who was to graduate high school this month. After graduation he was prepping to leave for Marine boot camp in the summer.. being in the military has been Zach's dream since he could talk. Literally. Running around, playing war with underwear on our heads, and finger guns. Some would say we looked like natural born assassins.. growing up he has been a country boy. Let me tell ya country to the core. He loves this country like he loves his family. He believes in helping people, taking charge in what's right, and never leaving a brother behind. He's lived by that his whole life. Until now....

The day you shot him. The day not only did you change my brothers life, you changed his families life too. The day you almost ripped my brother out of this world... for what? A misunderstanding? Because you've let something take ahold of your life that you can't let go you're willing to kill someone innocent over? Luckily for him, his guardian angels were protecting him in your time of cowardice. There were 3 times that day he should've died, the time you shot him, the time you tried to shoot him again as he stared you directly in the face, (even tho he couldn't talk I know you could read his eyes, and he still intimidated you. That's why you tried to pull the trigger again) and the time he was running out of the house. But he lived. A man who was shot in the face, didn't lay there helpless, didn't scream in agony. That MAN walked to the neighbors to get help. Why? Because he's a MAN, and because he's on this earth for a reason.

It's gonna sound a little strange not only to you, but the audience who is reading this. I must say thank you. Even in this situation, this was the best outcome we could get. He gets to live. He will make a full recovery. He will graduate. And he will go off into the Marines. You united my family together. Closer than ever. Thank you. You tested our faith and brought us closer to our God. Thank you. Because of your moment of weakness, you showed us what prayer could do. Heal anything. Thank you. This was a bump in the road, and a helluva way to kick off our year of 2019. But here we are.. all laying in the hospital. I'm looking around as mom is sleeping in her recliner chair exhasted but still here, Zach his awake playing his xbox all hooked up to machines, fighting to heal and get better. And of course I'm writing this letter to you.

See you in trial,

From the girl whose brother you shot.

'Fight the good fight' - 1 Tim 6:12 🤟🏼💙

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