California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Clown Scare in Southern California

It seems Halloween came  early this year. Clowns have been wreaking havoc since the first sighting in Greensville, South Carolina in August, according to The Guardian.

According to the article, a little boy who spotted the first clowns saw two clowns in the woods behind his apartment complex. They said something to him from a distance to lure him to a boarded up house hidden in the woods. Fortunately, the child knew better and ran to tell his mother.

The clown craze recently surfaced close to home. California Lutheran University junior Joey Kishlock was visiting a friend at California State University Northridge when he witnessed a clown in person.

“We were in a dorm with her roommates, and I was about to leave,” Kishlock said. “All of a sudden they all got a text from campus security saying clown sightings in the dorms.”

Kishlock, who is terrified of clowns, was considering staying at the dorm instead of risking a long walk to his car across campus. He chose to be brave and venture to his car, but opted to stay on the phone with his friend the whole time.

“I was trying to walk as fast as I could, but then I was on this one corner where I had to wait for the traffic at a stoplight,” Kishlock said. “Then I see these people coming out of this gate [at a nearby dorm complex] and I thought ‘that doesn’t look normal.’”

Kishlock spotted a clown, and he took off running to his car. He made it back safe without any clown chase. In Kishlock’s case, the clowns seemed to be just a scare, but in other cases the clowns have made actual threats.

“I recently received an automated call from my daughter’s school in Fairhope, Alabama. It was intended to calm parents, but the missing details spoke more sharply than the ones included,” Matthew Teague, writer of The Guardian article, said.

This automated phone call sparked a frenzy of worried parents calling the school, and the school initially hesitated to describe what happened, finally they admitted the warning was about the clowns.

Flomo Klown, who has his own Facebook page with the bio reading “I kill people for a living,” called in a threat that forced two schools to go into lockdown, according to The Guardian article.

“In a widely cited survey, the polling firm Rasmussen reported in 2014 that 43 percent of Americans ‘don’t like’ clowns,” said Alex Johnson, NBC news writer. “More recently, the annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears found that clowns were a cause of significant anxiety for 6.8 percent of Americans in 2015.”

According to NBC News, nine separate reports of clown threats or arrests were made across America Oct. 10. Clowns were reported with weapons like a large butcher knife and a hachet in two of the reports and three reports involved schools.

Luckily for Cal Lutheran students, the clown craze has not been much of an issue on campus. However, students should still pay attention to their surroundings.

“The Campus Safety Department first became aware of clown appearances when news reports surfaced of sightings around the country,” David Hilke, director of campus safety, said in an email interview. “The Campus Safety Department likes to be proactive when it comes to trends and phenomena that can affect students or the campus.”

Though few and unsubstantiated reports of clown sightings have occurred on campus, campus safety urges students to report any activity to them or to call 911. Campus safety also offers escort services for all students, faculty or staff throughout the day or night if they do not feel comfortable or safe walking. Contact campus safety at 805-493-3208 for an escort or 805-493-3911 to report an emergency.

Makenna Pellerin
Staff Writer

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