Clown Hysteria Grips Australian Media After Group Vows to Descend on Suburbs
See the Series Send in the Clowns
SYDNEY, Australia — “We’re coming back for you,” a post on Facebook warned. The purported threat? To send in the clowns.
If Australian news outlets and social media are to be believed, “20,000 anonymous clowns” are plotting a reign of terror.
The clowns — grown-ups in face paint and giant shoes — have threatened to do little beyond show up late at night in a handful of suburbs and look scary. However, the local news media has breathlessly described the group as “a chilling threat” and “creepy clown fanatics.”
The hysteria seems to have started with a Facebook page established last week. The anonymous creator of the page, called Clown Purge Australia, posted a photo of a clown, with a caption that read “IT” and an emoji of a red balloon, a homage to the blockbuster film that had its premiere in Australia last week.
Two days later, the account asserted, “On Halloween we’ll have 50 clowns go to one place.” That threat seemed to have been enough to thoroughly frighten Australians — a people who tend to pride themselves on a cheerful lack of fear.
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“If they come at me with a knife, I’ll beat” them, Martin Lewis, a father from Melbourne, said in an interview. “And if I have my kids with me, I’ll do anything necessary to protect my family.”
The clowns never mentioned knives. Balloons, yes. Knives, no.
The public reaction seemed only to fuel the anonymous clown behind the Facebook page to seek more attention. The user promised to reveal the locations of the so-called purge if he reached a certain number of new followers. In just days, the account added more than 25,000 followers.