Carson Myers, Staff Writer
If an aspiring writer wrote a fictional horror novel about clowns trying to lure children into the woods, they’d be lucky if a publisher even glanced past the title.
However, a few social outcasts are turning nightmares into reality -- and it all started in Greenville. On Aug. 19, an unidentified school boy told his mother he saw clowns in the woods near their residence in the Fleetwood Manor apartment complex. The boy’s mother, Donna Arnold, first believed that her son was not telling the truth (which may be the understatement of the century). Her doubt turned into concern the next day when neighborhood children told her about similar incidents.
“And then the next day, there was like [sic] 30 kids that came up to me and said, ‘Ms. Donna, Ms. Donna, there's [sic] clowns in the woods,’” said Arnold.
The Greenville County sheriff’s office filed an incident report on Aug. 21 after another resident of the apartment complex reported seeing a clown standing under a street light at 2:30 a.m. After this, the story gained national prominence and pushed over the first domino in a continuing saga of clown sightings.
News outlets such as the Huffington Post have broadcast facts about the clown sightings around the nation. The news even crossed the pond and the facts were presented in a painfully austere manner by The Telegraph.
Not surprisingly, international media coverage of a few village idiots encouraged many more misfits to crawl out of the woodwork. There is a clown conflagration spreading across the USA reaching from Wisconsin to Florida.
To some, the clowns are harmless individuals with nothing better to do. To others, the are a tangible threat to their communities. A Sept. 6 clown sighting in Greensboro, N.C. resulted in a clown being chased into the woods by a machete-wielding resident of a nearby apartment complex.
Police in LaGrange, Ga. announced that they will not tolerate any public loitering of individuals dressed as clowns. "This behavior is not cute or funny. Understand that if officers see this behavior, you're going to have a conversation with them. And, if applicable, you may face criminal charges," said the police department in a Facebook post.
Clown sightings have continued as of Sept. 19, and it remains unclear how or when the trend will stop. However, one thing is certain: the clown sightings of 2016 are proof that reality is often stranger than fiction.