Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

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Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Novem5er » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:50 pm

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina)

A note some Greenville County residents found on their apartment doors has them concerned for the safety of their neighborhood.

Residents at Fleetwood Manor Apartments on Fleetwood Drive reportedly received letters on Wednesday stating the property management has received complaints of a person dressed as a clown trying to "lure children into the woods."

The letter, which appears to be printed on Fleetwood Manor Apartments letterhead, reminds the public children should never be alone or walking through the woods at night.

The property management in the letter indicates Greenville County law enforcement is conducting daily patrols of the property due to the reports.

Donna Arnold, one of the people residing at the complex who received the letter, said she called the Greenville County Sheriff's Office to come out to Fleetwood Manor after her son and others reported seeing clowns behind the basketball court.

“I thought my child was seeing things," Arnold said. "And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?”

Community activist Bruce Wilson said he is getting involved at the apartments to make sure children are safe, even if the sightings turn out to be harmless.

"We have about two to three hundred children out here," Wilson said. "I want to make sure that law enforcement is doing the right thing."

Deputies confirmed Monday they were called to the apartment complex on Aug. 21 to investigate after residents reported seeing "a suspicious character, dressed in circus clown attire and white face paint, enticing kids to follow him/her into the woods."

Investigative reports state police met with a mother, whose name was redacted, who witnessed the clowns in the woods after her son notified her of their presence. The woman told deputies the clowns were shining green laser lights in the woods.

Another resident also reported seeing a "large-figured clown with a blinking nose" standing under a streetlight near the trash dumpsters.

Deputies spoke with children who told them clowns tried "to persuade them into the woods further by displaying large amounts of money." The children advised they believed the clowns lived in an old house near a pond, accessible via a trial behind the apartment complex.

The house near the pond was located, but deputies said they found no signs of suspicious activity or clowns.

According to the investigative report, deputies also received two prior calls about clowns in the area and one call about gunshots being fired at clowns.


http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/32852558/residents-anxious-after-clown-sightings-letters-received-at-greenville-co-apartments
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby OP ED » Mon Aug 29, 2016 5:55 pm

Clowns are always automatically creepy.
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Novem5er » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:12 pm

The interesting about thing about this story, so far, is that multiple people are reporting encounters and the local police have confirmed they've investigated. It's entirely possible that this is one of those urban legend type-things, or mass hysteria sweeping through an apartment complex. It's also possible that some jerk (or jerks) are dressing up like clowns; which could be a gag or a crime waiting to happen.

Here are some Google Earth images of the complex. I couldn't find the basketball court in the article (maybe old satellite images), but I did find the pond. In the zoomed-out image we can see there is a large tract of woods to the east of the complex and river before civilization starts again with a light industrial zone. The area does have a creepy vibe . . .

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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby OP ED » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:16 pm

I can't imagine anyone who really had luring children as their goal would think dressing as a clown to be a workable strategy.
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Cordelia » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:26 pm

Clowns wandering around is a guaranteed way to alarm parents.

RI Creepy Clown Thread:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15720&hilit=clown
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Novem5er » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:35 pm

^^ dang, I used the search function for "clown" but that thread didn't come up. :( This could get moved there and I wouldn't mind.

I did a YouTube search for the apartment complex and, interestingly, only one other story comes up from last month. It looks like several tenants have big maintenance or health hazards that the management is not fixing. Looks like a rough place. Maybe management is trying to scare people away so they break their leases? That'd be a Scooby-Do plot if I ever saw one.

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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby 82_28 » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:53 pm

Why not break out the random clown sightings? Have fun on Halloween!
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:26 pm

35 years later. Interesting timing - May last time, August this time.

We'll see if it spreads.
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Nordic » Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:53 pm

I usually dont advocate carrying firearms but I would have no problems going clown hunting in this case. Ask questions later. No problem.
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Burnt Hill » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:02 pm

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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby Novem5er » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:33 pm

I had to look up that "35 years later" comment fro WR, above, and I realized it was in the other clown thread, too. The Phantom Clown Scare of 1981. Here's an interesting article on in (not sure how true the claims are), but I found this particular paragraph interesting in light of other recent topics here at RI:

The fear of our children being taken by strangers was huge in the 80s and 90s, and it is possible the child abduction fears that possessed America started with these clowns. Shows like Diff’rent Strokes would produce special episodes just to teach kids about what to do if a stranger tries to grab them. The fear of child abductions grew in tandem with parents worrying about Satanic cults, and were often intertwined – Satanists, some thought, were taking kids to sacrifice them to their evil overlord. By the time Stephen King published IT in 1986, the phantom clown scare of 1981 was all but forgotten.



Funny how threads sometimes bleed together.

The full article at: http://www.blumhouse.com/2016/01/04/when-pennywise-was-real-the-phantom-clown-scare-of-1981/
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby 82_28 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:00 am

I don't know how many cities had their own children's clown show in the 70's and 80's. The two cities I ever lived in there are actually revered clowns. Blinky's Fun Club in Denver and JP Patches in Seattle. I've met both of them. Blinky ran an antique store in Denver and JP Patches when I met him out with his wife was totally non-creep.

Now let's talk about Juggalos! Insane Clown Posse, yo!

Also, for some reason my mom collected clown figurines. She had whole shelves of them. I think it's due to the reality of some were just nice people and cared about kids and not that way. But I don't know.

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January 16th, 1959

A creepy clown in the woods is definitely different.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby 82_28 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:30 am

Here's a female clown from my archives.

Image

August 7th, 1973
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby 82_28 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:33 am

Then there's this.

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April 14th, 1981
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
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Re: Clown in the Woods - Greenville, SC

Postby identity » Tue Aug 30, 2016 3:48 am

bad clowns.png


Coulrophobia
Fear of Clowns

Anything bad is unpleasant or dangerous in some way, and bad
clowns are no exception. Thus it makes sense that some people fear
bad clowns. Hating, or being afraid of, clowns is remarkably common—
or at least that’s the perception.

The term coulrophobia—fear of clowns—has come into common
usage only in the past two decades. Now there are numerous support
groups and hundreds of web sites dedicated to the fear. “I Hate
Clowns” sites encourage people to share their fear and hatred online.
There is a web site dedicated to real anti-clown news, which is full of
stories concerning clowns who have abused children, stolen things,
killed, robbed banks, or defrauded normal, God-fearing people. You
can buy anti-clown T-shirts, pins, cards, and hats. There are coulro-
phobic blogs and therapy courses. And they don’t all originate in
America; there are British, German, Scandinavian, and Eastern
European anti-clown sites.

The book argues that “part of the rise of coulrophobia can be blamed
on the increasing use of clowns in slasher horror films. Since the early
1980s, a string of movies has been made in which the central, murderous
character is a clown.” While it is true that evil clowns have become more
popular in recent decades, there’s no clear evidence that fear of clowns is
in fact on the rise; we have no reliable polls or surveys from yesteryear
asking people whether or not they found clowns scary. Simply put,
nobody thought to ask great-great-grandpa if he soiled his britches at
the sight of clowns during the Taft administration. Horse-carriage acci-
dents and tuberculosis were probably of far greater concern to our fore-
fathers than painted circus men in colorful costumes.

It is certainly true that bad clowns have become more common in pop
culture over the past few decades, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect a
corresponding increase in fear of those characters. As any scientist can
tell you, correlation does not imply causation—that is, genuine fear of
clowns may have led to more scary fictional clowns in pop culture, or
more scary fictional clowns in pop culture may have led to more fear of
clowns in real people, or both, or neither. Epidemiologists know that
sometimes a rise in the reported incidence of a condition or disease does
not necessarily reflect any actual increase, but instead can be attributed
to other factors such as newly expanded diagnostic criterion, more accu-
rate testing methods, or simply more public awareness of the issue. Thus
the increase in evil clowns in popular fiction since the 1980s is not a
reliable measure of the public’s fear of clowns. It is perhaps telling that
Scary Clowns, one of only a handful of books on the subject, is a humor
book; its discussion is, at best, tongue-in-cheek and hardly scholarly.
It’s important to draw a distinction between coulrophobia (which, like
all phobias, is an irrational fear) and fear of scary or threatening clowns
(such as Pennywise in Stephen King’s classic It.)

The premise of many
horror films is to make something familiar into something threatening.
A man on the street corner using a chainsaw to cut a fallen tree is not a
threat; that same man chasing you with the chainsaw is a real threat.
Being afraid of a clown making balloon dogs at a circus is a clown pho-
bia; being afraid of that same clown sadistically twisting a live dachshund
into a grotesque, furry tube of spine and dripping gore is not. There is
nothing at all odd, pathological, or unreasonable about fearing a clown
chasing you with a gun or a meat cleaver.


Clinical Coulrophobia

If pop psychology doesn’t provide a clear picture of clown fear, serious
academic research doesn’t help much. Coulrophobia, as such, is essen-
tially nonexistent in the medical and psychological literature. A handful
of professional journal articles mention it in passing, but by far the great
bulk of references are to newspaper and magazine articles. Coulrophobia,
as it is often used, is not actually a recognized clinical phobia; it is instead
a sort of pop culture, pseudoclinical term. While many consider it to be
funny or hip to talk of fearing clowns, genuine phobia of clowns is rare.
Though people who fear clowns may panic in the presence of clowns, the
disorder is considered a phobia instead of a panic disorder unless the
panic also happens unexpectedly (and, for example, the fear generalizes
to anyone in face paint, makeup, or costume).

As for clinical coulrophobes, therapists who treat their client’s fear of
clowns typically do so using standard psychological techniques such as
psychotherapy and habituation (gradually increasing exposure to the
object of fear). In psychology, phobias are a subcategory of anxiety dis-
orders, which affect between 2 percent and 4 percent of the general pop-
ulation. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition), “The fear or
anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger that the object or
situation poses, or more intense than is deemed necessary. Although
individuals with specific phobia often recognize their reactions as dispro-
portionate, they tend to overestimate the danger in feared situations. . . .
In the United States, the 12-month community prevalence estimate for
specific phobia is approximately 7 percent to 9 percent [though] rates are
generally lower in Asian, African and Latin American countries (2 per-
cent to 4 percent)” (American Psychiatric Association 2014, 201).

There are no reliable statistics on exactly how many people genuinely
fear clowns, though it doesn’t even crack the top ten most common
phobias—such as arachnophobia (spiders), agoraphobia (open spaces),
claustrophobia (small spaces), and acrophobia (heights)—thus it’s cer-
tainly far below 1 percent of the general population and likely closer to
half that. One Canadian journalist searched in vain for therapists who
had coulrophobic patients: “Amy Janek, head of the anti-anxiety clinic at
the University of British Columbia, has yet to see a clown case. The clos-
est she’s come was a woman who reported being unnerved by a costumed
Easter Bunny in a store. In thirty years, psychologist Ralph Maddess . . .
has seen only one patient with a clown problem. Her anxiety wasn’t
sparked so much by the sight of clowns, but the raucous sounds they
sometimes make” (Gibson 2004).

As for how these fears come about,
Specific phobia sometimes develops following a traumatic event (e.g.,
being attacked by an animal or stuck in an elevator), observation of
others going through a traumatic event (e.g., watching someone
drown), an unexpected panic attack in the feared situation (e.g., an
unexpected panic attack while on the subway), or informational trans-
mission (e.g., extensive media coverage of a plane crash). However
many individuals with specific phobia are unable to recall the specific
reason for the onset of their phobias. Specific phobia usually develops
in early childhood, with the majority of cases developing prior to age
10 years. The median age at onset is between 7 and 11 years, with the
mean at about 10 years.

This phobia criterion sheds light on coulrophobia. Many people do
indeed trace their fear of clowns back to one specific, memorably
unpleasant incident when a clown frightened them, for example at a
circus or birthday party during their childhood. What is of perhaps even
more interest are the other, indirect ways that such a phobia can be cre-
ated: both by seeing other people menaced by clowns and what’s rather
stiltingly referred to as “informational transmission,” and which could
include seeing scary clowns in movies.

When we look at the approximate age range of children who would
have seen scary films containing evil clowns, we can begin to trace back
some of the fears. The film Poltergeist came out in 1982, for example, and
children who were in their early teens at the time would now be in their
early forties and remember the scary clown scene from the film; eight
years later, Generation X kids who were in their early teens when killer
clown Pennywise showed up in the 1990 TV miniseries It would have
their own cultural childhood touchstone of clown fear. With the advent
of VCRs and DVD players, of course, these and later evil-clown films
can scare the hell out of new generations of children.

In these cases people don’t see others being traumatized by evil clowns
in real life, of course—they’re actors in a scary movie. But many kids,
especially between seven and eleven years old, may not fully differentiate
real life from fictional stories the way adults do, and it’s quite likely that
many people’s unpleasant feelings about clowns are often due not to
personal experience but scary movies. Thus the clown fears are created,
at least in part, by a cycle of pop culture influencing children, who then
reinforce and highlight the frightening side of clowns.

The lack of information on fear of clowns specifically may be surpris-
ing given how often the subject is discussed (fear of clowns seems to
come up almost as often as discussions of clowns themselves), but it’s
quite understandable from a clinical psychology perspective. For many
people who suffer from phobias, the best treatment may be no treatment
at all, but instead simply avoiding the subject they fear. If you have a fear
of sharks, for example, you need not spend months or years in time-
consuming and expensive professional therapy to overcome your fear
since you can control your proximity to sharks. Similarly, most people
who genuinely fear clowns don’t bother to seek professional mental help
because clowns are so easily avoided. (It’s like the old joke where a person
visits a doctor and says, “Can you please help me? I get an awful pain in
my neck when I cross my eyes and tilt my head way back and to the left
like this.” The doctor replies, “Sure, I can help. Don’t do that.”)

Fear of clowns exists, of course, but it’s not a medically recognized
serious issue causing significant disruption in most people’s lives.
Clowns—unlike spiders, small spaces, and flatulent coworkers—are eas-
ily avoided; they are typically only found in certain habitats such as cir-
cuses and parties. When they violate those proscribed social and
geographical boundaries, as happened with the Northampton Clown
and his ilk (see chapter 9), that’s when people get upset. Coulrophobia is
simply not a common enough (or serious enough) issue for clinical and
research psychologists to spend a lot of time on—especially as compared
to more common conditions that threaten quality of life, such as depres-
sion, anorexia, psychoses, schizophrenia, and so on.

The fact that bad and scary clowns are so popular suggests that most
people are not in fact frightened of them—after all, if you’re genuinely
terrified of clowns you don’t celebrate them, play with toys and figurines
of them, or get temporary tattoos of them.
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We should never forget Galileo being put before the Inquisition.
It would be even worse if we allowed scientific orthodoxy to become the Inquisition.

Richard Smith, Editor in Chief of the British Medical Journal 1991-2004,
in a published letter to Nature
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