Adelaide Festival Theatre under Construction.
Clowns line up during the 22nd Latin American clown convention at Revolución monument, Mexico.
Image Credit: Photograph by Edgard Garrido/Reuters.
In order to be able to treat coulrophobia, one needs to analyze what is the origin of clown phobia:
• Is it the fear of unknown?
• The fact that behind the smiley face there could be anyone?
• Is it that the clown has no social norms, can break up barriers of interaction and that makes one person uncomfortable with them?
• Or is it a childhood experience?
• Maybe a movie?
In a broader sense even Charlie Chaplin could be catalogued as a clown because of his characters, but there is no fear of Chaplin.
Is it just the mask that makes the difference?
Unfortunately there is no cure for clown phobia. It depends on each person.
But if coulrophobia is something you can’t live without, you should gradually accommodate yourself to the idea of clowns.
Maybe first watch some videos of clowns performing funny acts over the internet.
Sometimes, clowns putting their make up in front of the public can help relieve the tension of some coulrophobiacs as they can see it is just a mask, and they could see the real person behind the mask.
With some people, this is just enough, but obviously this cannot be possible in every social situation.
The fear of clowns is not something you should be ashamed of.
Many people share the same fear and if you have any positive experience in overcoming your fear, share it below so that fellow coulrophobes can learn too.
Children are frightened by clown-themed decor in hospitals, a survey suggests. How did the smiley circus entertainers become a horror staple?
Anyone who has read Stephen King’s “It” would probably never choose to decorate a children’s ward with clowns.
And it probably comes as no surprise to horror fans that a University of Sheffield study of 250 children for a report on hospital design suggests the children find clown motifs “frightening and unknowable”.
It is the fear of the mask, the fact that it doesn’t change and is relentlessly comical
One might suspect that popular culture is to blame.
In It, made into a television movie in 1990 and re-made as a cinema release in 2017 Stephen King created a child-murdering monster that appeared as a demonic clown.
King’s It has sparked a slew of schlocky movies over the past 20 years, known as the killer clown or evil clown genre.
Examples include Clownhouse from 1990 where three boys at home alone are menaced by escaped mental patients who have taken on the identities of clowns they have killed.
S.I.C.K., Killjoy and the Camp Blood Trilogy are other low-budget examples of the genre.
But perhaps the highlight is 1988’s Killer Klowns from Outer Space, with the tagline “In Space No One Can Eat Ice Cream”.
What is “Coulrophobia”?
It is the irrational fear of Clowns.
Since it is not an old phobia, but one that has increased in recent decades, little is known about coulrophobia.
Scientists and doctors now agree that it is a result of not knowing who lies behind the excessive makeup, red nose and hair color.
Some researchers believe that coulrophobia cases increased after the 1990s, when Steven Spielberg classic horror film “IT” depicting a murderous clown was released.
The phobia can cause a state of panic, difficulty in breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and feelings of fear.
Coulrphobia may seem absurd for some, however, many people suffer so much, that it prevents them from eating a hamburger in that famous fast food chain.
It is not a trivial matter either and coulrophobia shouldn’t be treated lightly.
Although the fear of clowns develops most of the time during childhood, when children are very sensitive to an unfamiliar face, it is also prevalent amongst adults.
My Pathetic Story:
I have had Coulrophobia since being a child when my Dad took me to a small Aussie circus behind the Maid of Auckland Hotel on South Road, Edwardstown in South Australia.
It would have been in the mid 1950s.
Apart from falling down between those horrid walk boards while I was trying to find my seat I was terrorised by an evil looking Clown with a stick and a rubber horn. He scared me shitless.
He barked like a dog and I was so terrified that I screamed like a little girlie and ran away and have been mortified by Clowns ever since.
Being shoved out the front of the crowd at John Martin’s Christmas Pageant and having poorly made up clowns blowing trumpets and poking balloons in my face didn’t help either.
At least they could have offered some hard boiled sweets.
People thought I was joking when I couldn’t bear to watch “Bozo” or was it “Bobo” the Clown on Channel 9 Kid’s Television in the late 1950s in Adelaide?
It’s all true you know and strangely enough my nine year old grandson Seamus is now a sufferer.
Am I responsible for that?