Back on September 5th I appeared on Adam Sayne’s Conspiranormal podcast and commented on the recent phantom clown sightings just as the phenomenon began to gain traction. Near the end of August, the phantom clowns were only being reported in Greenville, South Carolina. By the first week of September, however, the sightings had spread to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio. Since then, phantom clowns have been seen all over the United States. Indeed, they have now invaded my home base of Long Beach, California–specifically, 10th Street and Cherry Avenue in Cambodia Town.
Here are some relevant excerpts from Stephanie Rivera’s 10-13-16 Long Beach Post article entitled “Clown Craze Hits Cambodia Town, Social Media Posts Indicate”:
“The wave of creepy clown sightings across the country has now stumbled upon Long Beach. This week, a number of individuals took to social media to share a photo of a clown spotted in Cambodia Town.
“Police have not received any reports of crimes involving clowns, according to Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) spokeswoman Nancy Pratt. Still, Pratt urged the public to call 9-1-1 if they witness suspicious activity.
“Since some clowns have announced their intention on social media to head west, there have been reports of sightings in Southern California.
“Recently, Glendora police arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly making threats against his former high school on social media accounts dedicated to clowns. Last Wednesday, Lancaster authorities warned people to be aware of three recent incidents in which a group of males wearing clown masks and possibly carrying kitchen knives approached pedestrians in the area.
“Some locals have even gone so far as to create a Facebook page dedicated to patrolling the clowns.”
It’s important to point out that phantom clown sightings are by no means new. The first person to popularize this strange phenomenon was cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, whose excellent Fortean study Mysterious America (Faber & Faber, 1983) included an entire chapter devoted to the ancient mystery of phantom clowns. Chapter 21, simply entitled “Phantom Clowns,” is worth the price of the book alone….
Robert Guffey is a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University – Long Beach. His most recent book is Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security (OR Books).