Spooky clowns have started surfacing in France, but they aren't merely creepy. Confirming most people's nightmares, these pitres are also violent.
Fourteen teenagers dressed as clowns and carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats were arrested outside a school in Agde, southern France, on Saturday...
In Montpellier, a 35-year-old man was beaten with a metal rod on Saturday night by a man dressed as a clown who tried to rob him with two accomplices.
Clown crime has inspired anti-clown vigilantes:
Police in Bordeaux stopped a dozen youths who were carrying sticks and metal rods and said they were hunting clowns. One was a 12-year-old boy armed with a dagger.
In eastern France, five people were arrested in Mulhouse last week after setting out to catch scary clowns.
No comment from the Joker.
Note the role of the internet in this story:
[T]he trend, fuelled by Facebook and other social media, is spreading...
The impostors have told police they are inspired by viral videos from the US.
Cyberfear meets clown phobia. When will we accept increased internet controls to keep us safe from the clown menace?
Perhaps the most poignant passage from that Guardian article is this:
Philippe Herreman..., who runs a team of eight clowns in northern France called the Clowns of Hope, said he hoped the evil clowns would soon disappear.
(thanks to Chris Worden for the link; photo by Chris Rice)