One of the weirder corners of the cryptozoology/Fortean phenomena world concerns occasional encounters with the terrifying menace of phantom clowns, which are exactly what they sound like. In the early 1980s, and again in the early ’90s, rashes of phantom clown encounters cropped up across the United States, with some reported in the UK as well. A typical phantom clown encounter involves a clown, either on foot or in black van, acting in a menacing fashion towards passers by. Phantom clowns typically try to kidnap children, attack people, or chase them around. They then drive off or escape into overgrowth, always managing to elude later detection or capture. Being that these are presumably people dressed as clowns, making themselves inconspicuous is not exactly a simple task.

And now, as if times weren’t troubled enough, we may be seeing the beginnings of another rash of phantom clown attacks. A man in South Bend, Indiana, just miles from where I grew up, was chased by a clown who then disappeared into the woods early in the morning on August 11th. The threatening harlequin was never found by police.

This means one of two things: either there are evil clowns with eerie supernatural powers out there who are intent on harassing us, or the juggaloes are simultaneously becoming more aggressive and improving their stealth technology. Neither of these things could even remotely be classified as ‘good news.’