Do you feel an urge to run as fast as you can from a clown? Do you avoid places where you could meet a clown at all costs? Or maybe your child gets really anxious in circus or around clowns and you ask yourself why? If you answered `yes` to one or some of these questions you may be suffering from coulrophobia which is a phobia of clowns.
So, who can be affected by clown phobia? Do you think it`s unusual or common to be afraid of clowns?
Research shows that clowns can be scary for both children and adults. Clown phobia seems to be relatively common. A study conducted by the University of Sheffield shown that all 250 children (from four to sixteen years old) who voted on their preferences regarding redesign of British hospital expressed a fear or dislike of clowns.
What is the cause of clown phobia?
The fear of clowns usually originates in childhood and is connected with some odd experience. For instance a child that is used to his or her family and other people`s faces may get really anxious even terrified by an adult wearing a mask. In this case it may be very difficult if not impossible for the child to interpret the adults behaviour. Fear of clowns can be also reinforced by graphic novels, horror literature and horror movies, where clowns are depicted as heartless murderers. For example Stephen King’s movie It, which features a child-eating clown named Pennywise.
Is there a reason to be afraid?. Circus clowns versus clown serial killers.
Circus clowns are funny people with oversized shoes and constant smile on their faces, comedians you usually meet in circus. You can also see them during various events or children parties. They are harmless. They wear colourful clothes, make funny noises and cause laughter. They joke making fun of everything around. However, there is also another image of a clown, often depicted in movies, a scary, ominous figure with inscrutable, constant smile on his or her face. Clown – dangerous killer wearing a mask that hides his or hers true intentions or emotions. A person whose face doesn’t change and remains comical, no matter what happens.
Research shows that clown phobia is rooted most firmly in the subconscious fear of the unknown. Masks are often associated with deceit because they hide the truth and the identity of the person wearing them. The permanent and exaggerated expressions on clown face makes it very difficult to interpret or read the clown’s face.
Therefore, the adult or child is unable to predict or correctly determine the clowns actions. This kind of thing can make a person feel very uneasy around a clown or anyone else who wears a “permanent” expression.