Okay, sometimes I simply have to write a column about a certain thing; for instance, if the Beatles release some new material, that’s pretty important. And, really, this little story has gotten so much attention that even American news sources that don’t actively seek out weird stuff happening in Britain have reported on it. So, here goes.
Starting last Friday, Friday the 13th of September, a man dressed as a clown has been terrorising the streets of Northumberland. What has he been doing? Well, not much of anything. He’s just walking the streets dressed like a clown, with a white face, full make-up and regalia. Sometimes, he’s been carrying balloons or a teddy bear. Many have noted his resemblance to Stephen King’s famous clown Pennywise.
But Twitter has exploded with speculation about the clown and its motives. Seriously, just look at #northamptonclown sometime. It’s spawned tweets like Broowy Deschanel’s “Also is anyone else total creeped out by this #northamptonclown thing?! I would actually crawl into a ball and cry for hours #clownsscareme”
Even Lola King has Tweeted about it: “I’m simultaneously fascinated and petrified by the idea of the #northamptonclown http://t.co/cGLVC0d09N”
On Facebook, a page called Spot Northampton’s Clown, apparently by the clown himself, has received, as of this writing, 115,413 likes.
He said: “To prove I’m real to all the lovers and doubters, I’ll see you in town today. Keep those eyes peeled.” He’s also said: “Too much hate not enough love. No, I don’t have a knife on me! That’s just stupid rumours spread by stupid people.”
Police are investigating the clown, but no action has been taken.
In response to outcry from the terrified citizens of Northampton,he said: “If what I am doing does get too much for people , I will have to stop.” But the clown has some supporters. One said: “I think the surreal randomness of what you are doing is powerful. We all need a good shake once in a while. Keep up the good work!” Another added: “Don’t stop! I think it’s the most excitement Northampton has had in years.”
The Clown also denied that part of his act involved knocking on people’s houses: ” I haven’t been knocking on houses and asking to paint window sills!?”
Police are looking into an incident where two teens disturned people while dressed like clowns, but insist the Northampton Clown is not with them.
A spokesman for the Police said: “We can confirm that we have neither arrested nor dealt with any crimes involving anyone dressed as a clown. To clarify we received a call from a Northampton resident on Thursday evening who reported that two teenage boys had called at their house to ask if they wanted their windows painting. The boys were wearing workmen’s dungarees and were covered in paint. They had no decorating equipment with them. The caller felt this was suspicious and reported it to the police. We received a further three calls over the weekend relating to people being seen dressed as clowns.”
And now, he’s promised a “big surprise” for the end of the week. Quoth The Clown: “I’m going to lay low for a bit as I have a big surprise for you all hopefully due at the end of the week! Beep beep!”
Some responses to the news include: “#NorthamptonClown has a big surprise for everyone due at the end of the week. #BabyClown?” or “Beep beep? Please tell me you have a full on clown car?” or “Wouldn’t it be massively awful but highly ironic if his big surprise was a mass murder spree after everyone is praising a man dressed up as the evil clown from the horror film IT, running around a small town at night…”
But it looks like one response has gone above and beyond the rest. One man, who calls himself Boris, has taken it upon himself to become The Clown Catcher. He has a Facebook page with 4291 likes. He says: “My name is Boris. I am the official clown catcher. I am not here to scare anyone. I am not here to hurt anyone. I come in peace!” He puts on a blue superhero suit and has put several pictures in places where the Clown has been.
Quoth the Clown Catcher: “I wasn’t able to get to Gloucester Avenue tonight to try and ‘catch’ the clown because I hurt my leg whilst I was climbing up a tree looking for him earlier! Hopefully the pain I’m in will all be worth it in the end when we are united with each other!”
One Northamptonite called him: “The hero Northampton needs right now, but not the one it deserves?”
Another said: “No offence but [The Clown] is legendary, what you’re doing is attention seeking.”
Some say they might be either close or even the same person: One said, “They take pictures of each other I bet!” Another said “I bet they’re mates. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the clown too.”
Honestly, I think that The Clown is just some sort of social experiment to shed light on how paranoid people can get when they have no reason to be, like Eon8.