“Why Clowns Are a Particular Kind of Scary”

Part of it is that our brains simply don’t know how to process clowns. Earlier this year, the first-ever psychological study of creepiness found that unpredictability is one of its main components. And this makes perfect sense when applied to clowns: A clown may present as jolly and fun, but we can’t predict his behavior — or whether we’ll be his next target. (Anyone who’s been to the circus and knows the particular terror of being pulled from the audience to participate knows this is true, even of “nice” clowns.)

According to Benjamin Radford, author of Bad Clowns and research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, we actually have clowns all wrong from the start. “People who aren’t really familiar with the cultural history of the clown think, ‘Oh wow, Stephen King made this thing evil,’” he says. “No, you were mistaken for thinking it was good!”

Refinery29, Oct. 26, 2016

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