Clown Sightings: Makeup-Wearing Threat or Social Media Craze?

Abbi Kissee

Unless you have been living under a rock,  you have heard about alleged sightings of terrifying bands of clowns touring America to wreak havoc. School districts have been put on lock down and numerous police reports have been filed, but how many actual incidents have actually occurred? This poses the question: are these clown sightings a legitimate threat or a social media craze?

Graeme Maclean – originally posted to Flickr as bad clown

The phenomenon started in mid-August when a group of teens in South Carolina reported a clown bribing them to come into an old, abandoned house, leading to rage on multiple social media platforms. However, the report’s authenticity has not yet been verified by any reliable source.


Threats were coming in to schools everywhere. Some were serious enough to put schools on lockdowns. A school district in Cincinnati, Ohio put the whole district on lockdown in early October because of an ambiguous remark made by a clown. None of the kids in that school district were hurt by a clown at any point.


Within a month, the alleged clown sightings and hype around them moved across the nation, eventually making their way to the West Coast. Even a quick search of popular media platforms that took less than ten minutes revealed three Instagram accounts and four Twitter accounts claiming to be clowns of Ripon.  But despite multiple account holders describing themselves as clowns, there have been no verified sightings of threatening or dangerous clowns in Ripon.


At this point the evidence seems to suggest that at least with respect to Ripon, menacing clown sightings are more of a social media craze than an actual threat.  One thing we do know for sure though is that actual clown sightings in Ripon are not too far away.  Halloween is just around the corner.