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The Clown Statue

An Urban Legend

By

Scary Clown
Steve Parry/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Also known as "The Clown Doll," "The Killer Clown," "It the Clown," or "The Clown Serial Killer"


Example:
As told by Tamra S., Dec. 22, 2004:

So-and-so's friend, a girl in her teens, is babysitting for a family in Newport Beach, Ca. The family is wealthy and has a very large house — you know the sort, with a ridiculous amount of rooms. Anyways, the parents are going out for a late dinner/movie. The father tells the babysitter that once the children are in bed she should go into this specific room (he doesn't really want her wandering around the house) and watch TV there.

The parents take off and soon she gets the kids into bed and goes to the room to watch TV. She tries watching TV, but she is disturbed by a clown statue in the corner of the room. She tries to ignore it for as long as possible, but it starts freaking her out so much that she can't handle it.

She resorts to calling the father and asks, "Hey, the kids are in bed, but is it okay if I switch rooms? This clown statue is really creeping me out."

The father says seriously, "Get the kids, go next door and call 911."

She asks, "What's going on?"

He responds, "Just go next door and once you call the police, call me back."

She gets the kids, goes next door, and calls the police. When the police are on the way, she calls the father back and asks, "So, really, what's going on?"

He responds, "We don't HAVE a clown statue." He then further explains that the children have been complaining about a clown watching them as they sleep. He and his wife had just blown it off, assuming that they were having nightmares.

The police arrive and apprehend the "clown," who turns out to be a midget. A midget clown! I guess he was some homeless person dressed as a clown, who somehow got into the house and had been living there for several weeks. He would come into the kids' rooms at nights and watch them while they slept. As the house was so large, he was able to avoid detection, surviving off their food, etc. He had been in the TV room right before the babysitter right came in there. When she entered he didn't have enough time to hide, so he just froze in place and pretended to be a statue.



Analysis: Like "The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs," this urban legend pits a lone, teenage babysitter against a male intruder who has surreptitiously entered the house.

The tale is disturbing on many accounts, not least in the hint of pedophilia arising from the revelation that the "midget disguised as a clown" has been spying on, playing with, or, in some variants, actually touching someone's children prior to his presence in the house being discovered. In some versions, e.g. the following one submitted by a reader in 2006, it's explicitly stated that the intruder is a sex offender with designs on the babysitter herself:

A girl is babysitting a sleeping infant. She goes up regularly to check on the baby and the third time notices a life-size clown standing in the corner/sitting in the crib. A few minutes later the parents call and the babysitter mentions the clown and how unnerving it is. The parents relate that they've never bought a clown and the police are called.

The "clown" is discovered to be a local sex offender waiting for babysitter to go to sleep before attacking her.

The chain-letter version

One variant circulating in the form of an online chain letter ("...if you don't repost to 10 peeps within 5 minutes," the message warns, "the clown will be standing next 2 your bed at 3:00 a.m. with a knife in his hand...") makes the "midget clown" out to be a murderer who has escaped from prison:

Subject: Fw: clown

this creepy or what?

:: a few years ago a mother and a father decided they needed a break, so they wanted to head out for a night on the town. So they called their most trusted babysitter. When the babysitter arrived the two children were already fast asleep in bed. So the babysitter just got to sit around and make sure everything was okay with the children.

Later in the night, the babysitter got bored and so she wanted to watch tv but she couldnt watch it downstairs because they didnt have cable downstairs (the parents didnt want their children watching too much garbage) so she called them and asked them if she could watch cable tv in the parents room. Of course the parents said it was ok, but the babysitter had one final request. She asked if she could cover up the large clown statue in their bedroom with a blanket or cloth, because it made her nervous. The phone line was silent for a moment, and the father (who was talking to the babysitter at the time) said..... take the children and get out of the house..... we'll call the police... we dont have a clown statue..... the children and the babysitter got murdered by the clown. it turned out 2 be that the clown was a killer that escaped from jail.

if you dont repost to 10 peeps within 5 minutes the clown will be standing next 2 your bed at 3:00am with a knife in his hand....

Real-life killer clowns

Though urban legends are sometimes inspired by real-life events, I've found no clear precedents for "The Clown Statue" in news reporting of the past 20 years — no stories in which a miscreant poses as a clown doll inside people's homes, at any rate.

In 1990, a West Palm Beach, Florida woman was shot and killed on her doorstep by a clown sporting a bright orange wig (a crime which remains unsolved, so far as I know). Then there's John Wayne Gacy, of course, who, during the mid-1970s, murdered 33 young men and buried their bodies under his Chicago home. The media christened him the "Killer Clown" because he was known for hosting neighborhood parties at which he dressed up as a clown.

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