A children’s entertainer has hit out at the people behind the “creepy clown” craze in Wagga.
Paul Lockley works as “Mr Jellybean the Clown” at birthday parties and he said the scary new trend turned the tables on what clowning was supposed to be.
“I like to make people laugh,” Mr Lockley said.
“I dress up and people laugh at me, but these ‘creepy clowns’ dress up and laugh at other people.
“They remind me of the school bully – they do it for their own entertainment but in the end no-one likes them and they end up in rough times.”
For the past few months, the United States has been terrorised by an epidemic of creepy clown sightings, and now they are popping up here in Wagga, too.
A chainsaw-wielding clown allegedly stalked Kooringal’s streets last week and another was seen at Forest Hill.
The first recorded clown encounter was in the United States, where children reported a clown trying to lure them into the woods. Initially many thought it to be a hoax, but as more sightings were reported it was clear there were indeed creepy clowns on the loose.
Clown sightings have since ranged from seemingly benign to full-on threatening. One person was even reportedly chased through a subway station by a knife-wielding clown in New York.
A Facebook group, Hunting Down Clowns in Wagga, has already set out to “punish” those who partake in the trend.
However, Mr Lockley said anyone who attacked a clown because of the way they were dressed assumed too much.
“I don’t carry a baseball bat as one of my props,” Mr Lockley said.
“It’s common sense if you see a clown who’s not threatening someone.
“You know a person by what they do whether they’re dressed as clowns or not.”
While Mr Lockley wanted to show the public regular clowns weren’t to be feared, for some people it can’t be helped. The fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, is quite common. Some experts suggest the heavy make-up hides the clown’s facial expression, and humans find it difficult to read, which unsettles them.
Ironically it’s a fear Mr Lockley’s wife shares.
“Once she’s seen me get dressed and knows it’s me she’s OK,” he said.
“The fear comes from movies and the internet, it’s not what clowns really are.
“I did a party with some teenagers and this one girl was scared, so I took her along with some friends and did balloon animals and magic tricks to show her it was OK.”
Having spent years honing his craft and making thousands laugh, Mr Lockley wanted to remind the public what clowns were really all about.
“Professional clowns are funny, we would never intimidate people,” he said.