According to an arrest warrant, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the scene after "a series of calls about a white female wearing clown-like makeup, a stocking cap, and was either partially or completely nude that was running up and down Louise Road, chasing cars and jumping out in front of other cars."
While the First World War produced epochal amounts of documented horrors, it also saw many fictions and legends. Smithsonian reports on one that feels like an urban legend, taking place on the Western Front, between opposing trenches.
Part Night of the Living Dead and part War Horse, like all oft-told tales, it had several variants, but the basic kernel warned of scar-faced and fearless deserters banding together from nearly all sides—Australian, Austrian, British, Canadian, French, German, and Italian (though none from the United States)—and living deep beneath the abandoned trenches and dugouts.
So far so non-horror. It's even sane, this mode of resisting the horrors of war. It's a kind of secession from both sides, like the 17th-century Clubmen.
Don't worry. There's Gothic a-plenty:
According to some versions, the deserters scavenged corpses for clothing, food and weapons. And in at least one version, the deserters emerged nightly as ghoulish beasts, to feast upon the dead and dying, waging epic battles over the choicest portions.
There we go. What a combination of fears and myths. How potent a story for soldiers!
It's also a story that appealed to veterans and other people after the war ended in 1918. The Smithsonian points to several novels, like this one from 1920, which take the inter-trench soldier story onwards.
the area “was peopled with wild men, British, French, Australian, German deserters, who lived there underground, like ghouls among the mouldering dead, and who came out at nights to plunder and to kill. In the night, an officer told him, mingled with the snarling of carrion dogs, they often heard inhuman cries and rifle shots coming from that awful wilderness as though the bestial denizens were fighting among themselves.”
Have any such stories emerged from the current war on terror?
According to German police, a man disguised as a "horror clown" beat up a 19-year-old man with a baseball bat Thursday night in the northern German city of Rostock. The victim sustained injuries on his head and arm.
Earlier that day, a 15-year-old boy was threatened with a knife by a 'creepy clown' in the same town. The teenager was able to run away unharmed.
A Vox poll reveals that some Americans are really, seriously spooked by clowns:
More from the German story:
Also on Thursday, across the country in the western Germany of Wesel, a 48-year-old woman was walking her dog when a person in a clown mask suddenly appeared from the bushes on the side of the road wielding a chainsaw. He tried several times to start the chainsaw but failed. The woman escaped unharmed.
On Wednesday, an assailant dressed as 'creepy clown' scared five children aged seven to 13 in Bochum, western Germany. He approached the children in a dimly lit subway without saying anything while holding a "shiny object," likely a knife, the police reported.
In the neighboring town of Gelsenkirchen, a deaf man was attacked by two men dressed up as clowns on Wednesday. The clowns charged at the 33-year-old with a knife and left him with light injuries, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. The attackers then fled on a scooter.
On Monday, a 14-year-old teenager was injured when he fled from a 'creepy clown' carrying a baseball bat, also in Gelsenkirchen. It turned out, however, that the clown was a friend of the teenager who wanted to scare him, the police said.
What are the best horror novels of the 21st century?
We asked this question in 2015, and ended up with a rich list. Your humble blogger has been gnawing through the list, tome by shuddering tome.
So for Halloween 2016 we can reproduce the list, linking to reviews as I have generated them. We can add to the list, as people suggest more. The constraints: books must be published after 1999, be novels (rather than collections), and available in English. Asterisks indicate the title appearing in two or more sources.
Jeffrey E. Barlough, The Cobbler Of Ridingham Laird Barron, The Croning Lauren Beukes, Broken Monsters Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War (read) Ramsey Campbell, The Grin Of The Dark Justin Cronin, The Passage (read) Mark Z. Danielewski, House Of Leaves (read and taught) Bret Easton Ellis, Lunar Park Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects Neil Gaiman, American Gods (read) Ray Garton, The Folks Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box ** ____, Horns ____, Twentieth-Century Ghosts Charlee Jacob, Dread in the Beast (review) Brian Keene, The Conqueror Worms ____, Ghoul ____, The Rising Jack Ketchum, The Lost Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl Stephen King, Doctor Sleep ____, Duma Key ** ____, Lisey’s Story ** ____, Under The Dome Sarah Langan, Audrey's Door ____, The Missing ** Richard Laymon, The Traveling Vampire Show John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let The Right One In Bentley Little, The Walking Jonathan Maberry, Ghost Road Blues Josh Malerman, Bird Box (review) Michael Marshall, We Are Here Joe McKinney, Flesh Eaters David Morrell, Creepers Adam Nevill, Last Days Weston Ochse, Scarecrow Gods Chuck Palahniuk, Haunted ____, Lullaby Norman Partridge, Dark Harvest ** Tom Piccirilli, A Choir Of Ill Children (read) ____, The Night Class Dan Simmons, Drood ____, The Terror (read) Bryan Smith, The Freakshow ____, Soultaker Scott Smith, The Ruins (read) Peter Straub , A Dark Matter ** ____, In the Night Room ____, lost boy lost girl Steve Rasnic Tem, Blood Kin Jeffrey Thomas, Boneland (review) ____, Punktown Paul Tremblay, Head Full of Ghosts Jeff Vandermeer, the Southern Reach sequence (review of first book) David Wong, John Dies At The End Rio Youers, Westlake Soul
After a certain point your humble blogger may be equipped to publish his pick of the litter.
Douglas Harrison, 42 of Memphis, was arrested in connection with a series of dead bodies found in a freezer located in his shed. According to reports, the bodies were dressed in clown costumes with clown makeup on the faces.
The Memphis Coroners office made a gruesome discovery today after several 911 calls were placed by neighbors regarding their concern of suspicious activity at the residence of Harrison. At approximately 8 p.m., police were dispatched to Walnut Street and Polk Ave. Upon their arrival, authorities were met by a group of residents at the corner where they assisted police in locating the home in question. Police proceeded to the 800 Block of Polk Ave where they located the home. Authorities knocked on the door of the residence and was met by a male, dressed in a Clown costume, who appeared to be in his late 30’s to early 40’s and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
Upon entering the home, authorities indicated that the home “smelled of cotton candy and death”. The inside of the home was covered wall to wall with circus decorations and the sound of circus music could be heard throughout the home.
So this goes much further than threats. And it scales up from an individual victim to a series, linking clowns to serial killers. The dead are forced into clown costumes. And there's the specter of clown sex.
ITEM: British tabloids have crossed the streams of coulrophobia and coulrophilia, yielding not only an epic demonstration of Rule 34 but also dragging child predation fear into the daylight, with a side order of sex panic:
The basic premise of the story is that some men get off on women dressed as creepy clowns, they're causing a spike in clown-porn searches and clown-fetish requests at escort services, and soon their "sick fetish" may lead them to commit real-world sexual assaults "as the adrenaline junkies seek more 'extreme thrills'."
ITEM: a BBC piece from earlier this week does a good job of summarizing British stories. It also adds some analysis and nice images, like so:
A contributor to the Spotted: Loughborough Facebook page said: "I was walking through Shelthorpe cemetery via the footpath next to the school. I was approached by what can only be described as a clown with an axe. I have never been so terrified in my life."
ITEM: a conspiracy theory - sorry, clownspiracy - claims that people are using clowns to normalize demons, or something like that.
Clown sightings have been reported throughout the Bay Area all week, most menacingly in Concord, where a mother reported a "creepy clown" tried to kidnap her 1-year-old child on Wednesday afternoon.
The woman kicked the clown in the shin and the person fled. No suspects had been located as of today, according to Concord police.
The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety said on Friday tthat officers have responded to nine clown sightings in the last three days, though nothing criminal is suspected. Sonoma State University has responded to clown sightings as well as an unrelated person in a gorilla suit, according to Rohnert Park police.
(That's the second time there's been a clown-gorilla connection; here's the first.)
Speaking of helpful entities, Altas Obscura offers a new map of American clown sightings.
Two men, ages 29 and 20, were reported roaming the streets in clown garb and chasing vehicles in the early hours of Friday in this town near Green Bay...
Two days later in the neighboring town of Kimberly, police responded to reports of armed clowns in a park, one brandishing a knife, which turned out to be real, and the other a sledgehammer, which was a plastic prop. The matter was being “addressed,” the police said.
A Minnesota soccer coach put on a clown mask as a joke. Because of the clown panic, he was fired.
He wouldn’t have done it if the gorilla costume he normally wears for some annual team tradition hadn’t been damaged.
His team took a picture of him and everything seemed fine until — you’ll want to sit down for this — it got posted on social media.
The student who made the initial report to the superintendent tells Fox 9 she was “appalled” that an adult would wear a clown mask, in light of the reports of scary clown sightings across the country. She says when she found out the person wearing the mask was the school’s soccer coach, she reached out to the superintendent.
Independent School District 15 Superintendent Troy Ferguson defends the decision to discontinue Hildre’s services.
“We all make mistakes and this was a big one,” said Ferguson. “Kids are scared and it’s not okay for adults to be part of that to make kids scared.”
The reported sighting follows a similar incident in Gravesend where a mother described how two children were taken and "tied up in a van" and "dumped in an alleyway."...
A cyclist was chased through The University of Kent's Canterbury campus by a pack of 'killer' clowns in a Ford Fiesta.
Zeph Fenn, former Criminology and Cultural Studies student at the university, says he was chased across the campus by the car at around 10pm yesterday night (October 9).
The 'killer clown' trend, which first started in America, has been sweeping the country this week. There have been several incidents of sinister looking clowns appearing across Kent, menacing, hounding, stalking and intimidating their targets.
Do we have any information about the demographics of alleged creepy clowns in Britain?