Why do we fear clowns? Broken Arrow therapist looks into coulrophobia after S.C. clown incidents

Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-10 00:08:35-04

Reports of "scary clowns" have made headlines lately, especially online. Career clowns in Green Country say it's hurtful. 

Clowns are supposed to make you laugh. But all too often these days, clowns may be terrifying, like in movies and even real life.

Clowning around isn't always fun and games. Career clowns like Chatters the Clown spent more than 20 years perfecting her craft. Chatters has devoted her life to making people smile and she says she finds this new image upsetting. 

"Clowns are usually very big hearted people that like to play and bring smiles to other people," she said. 

Just recently in South Carolina, reports of a clown wearing a red nose and all white clothing while holding a brown box asking kids if they wanted ice cream, scared one neighborhood.

Multiple 911 calls came in when neighbors noticed a man in the woods behind their homes. Chatters says incidents like that ruin the image for all clowns. 

"They're a clown, but you can tell they're not a clown by their actions," she said. 

But this blue haired talker knows for some people that fear is real. 

"It is a phobia and it is called coulrophobia," Chatters said. "The majority of people that are afraid of clowns are adults believe it or not, it's not the little ones." 

We asked Broken Arrow therapist Kristen Harris why some fear the larger-than life characters. 

"I think some things that we see on TV can be kind of horrific, so they make that association," she said. "The makeup they might be wearing or the funny clothing." 

Chatters says there's nothing better than showing kids and adults that she's loveable.

"This is just one more that we have to jump over that hurdle," Chatters said. 

She says the makeup may be a mask, but it's the person behind it that counts. 

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