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Why Do People Have a Fear of Clowns? Plus Helpful Tips to Cure Your Fear.

Nell is a trained psychologist who writes about personal health problems. She is also fascinated by strange medical anomalies.

Scary clown or just sad clown?

Scary clown or just sad clown?

Fear of Clowns (coulrophobia)

We all loved to go to the Circus when we were small. I remember it very well. The acrobats and the lion tamers, the high wire walker and the Elephants. But there was one particular character that always had a big impact on the children. The Clown.

He would come into the circus ring, juggling or riding on a childs bike, and make everybody laugh with his antics. But not everybody loved the clown. In fact some people were so terrified of him they refused to go to the circus, preferring to stay well away in case just the sight of him would cause them to break out into a sweat, and give them nightmares for weeks. Lets not make light of this. The fear of clowns is a mind numbing terrifying one. Just the thought of facing a clown, whether at a children's party or even a fair is enough to make anyone run for the exit.

So why do so many people have a fear of Clowns?

IT by Stephen King

I believe the fear of clowns is a subliminal one. Like spiders, we have no idea why we really hate them, but we just do. The fear makes you tingle, cold fingers creep down your spine and your shoulders, and the little bit at the back of your neck suddenly feels very sensitive. You feel as though someone is standing behind you. In fact its so darn creepy that if someone did touch you on your shoulder, you would probably leap into the air and the room would be full of profanities!

Stephen King knew this when he wrote the brilliant IT back in 1986. He took the creepiness of the clown and turned it into a Demon who lived underground. To add to the eeriness, he very cleverly added a lone balloon that would float across the road when Pennywise the Clown was going to appear, therefore building up the terror before he even popped up out of the drain and said, Boo!

I remember watching the film on vacation with my son. We were sitting in the hotel lounge on our own at midnight. The curtains were open and a mist had come up from the sea. The creepiness started to make my neck shiver, and my son sat next to me eating sweets. He was Trying to look nonchalant! The whole program left me with a cold feeling, mixed with an irritation that made me jumpy whenever I heard a door open or close later that night.

When we got home, we had to go up the town, and as it was Sunday, there was no one about. All of a sudden there was a balloon floating across the road. My son legged it, he ran all the way across the road and headed into the shop. When I reached him he said, I know it was just a party balloon, but it freaked me out!

Pennywise the Clown from IT by Stephen King

Pennywise the Clown from IT by Stephen King

Who's That Behind The Mask?

Of course there are genuine reasons why we dislike clowns. We, as adults, cannot see the person behind the mask. They could be someone we know, creepy or what? Nothing worse than speaking to someone who knows you, but you don't know who they are.

Or more to the point, the person in front of you, hiding behind that grinning clowns face, could be a serial killer, who is going to climb into your bedroom at three in the morning, wake you up and grin at you with those Pennywise IT teeth, and then rip your throat out while you are still screaming......sorry where was I? Oh yes, I hate clowns! No not really! In fact I have a collection of them in my bedroom.

Seriously, there are many reasons why we don't like clowns, or in fact hate them so much they give us nightmares. And probably a lot of the fear these days stems from the films, books and TV programs that always portrays the clown as a nasty thing. Our subconscious mind is an eerie place, full of shadows and pockets of creepy crawly things. I like to call them the spider memories as they crawl up into your cerebellum, entwine around your frontal lobe then scurry down your nose and throat so that choke on your own fear. And this is the place where the clown resides. Hidden, waiting to jump out at you and scream, Boo! Hey Wanna Balloon?

Conquer your fear of Clowns at Amazon

Scary Clowns

Scary Clowns

A Happy Clown!

A Happy Clown!

The Fear of Clowns

Actually the answer to the question why do people have a fear of clowns? Is not that easy to explain. There have been lots of study over the years concerning Coulrophobia, as its now called. In fact the name Coulrophobia wasn't even used up until the 1980s. There is a belief that the word is taken from the Greek meaning Stilt Walker.

The fear of clowns starts at an early age. Children, especially before they can talk, are people watchers. They can tell by the facial expression on their parents faces what the parent is trying to say. Whether it be a smile, or a frown. Or fear and of course laughter. If you look at a child's face when they are in an unknown to them situation, they look to their mother or father for key words, phrases or facial expressions. This is an automatic reaction and not a deliberate thought.

So when a child is confronted by a man or woman who does not conform to their expectations it can confuse, worry or totally disturb the child. Imagine seeing a man walking towards you, only to look into his face and see a red nose, painted eyes and scary white paint on it. It must be terrifying for a child.

Even more confusing for children is when they are confronted by this horrible looking parody of a man, only to hear the adults around them laughing at his antics. The confusion in the child's brain between fear and laughter must cause an unease to grow over the years until he or she is face to face with another clown. The creepy feeling will either go away when they first encounter them, or more likely, turn into sheer black abject horror. The thought of the child hearing their parents laugh at something that they themselves find terrifying must grow over the years into a nightmare situation. Parents are supposed to protect you, but they didn't at that point in time. They laughed when you were scared. Mixed up psychology. And that's where fear begins.

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We all have an underlying fear of the unknown. As we grow older this manifests in the form of superstition, demons and monsters. Most of us are aware that these are the figments of our imagination. Or are they? That's a question that I doubt anybody will be able to answer. But the feeling is real.

Cure Your Fear Of Clowns.

There are simple ways to cure yourself of this fear. But first you have to understand the reason why you fear Clowns. Below is a list of reasons why you may have this fear. Once you aknowledge the problem you will be able to face your demons.

  • Think back to when you were a small child. Did your parents take you to the Circus? And were you nervous about seeing all the acts including the clown?
  • Did the clown come over to you and try to get you involved in the show? How did you feel? Were you scared or just embarrassed?
  • Try to find the exact time when you started feeling scared of clowns. Sometimes your fear may not even be connected to the clown. For example, many people get frightened by being alone, seeing a spider or even hearing a knock at the door. If you happened to be watching a film with a clown in it, it could be a transference of the fear onto the clown. You may not remember the source of your fear, but you will remember the clown.
  • Is there something in your past that made you frightened of not seeing past the 'mask' that someone was wearing? Not necessarily a real mask, but a person who you could not 'read' and they scared you?

All of these things could be the starting point of your fear. The clown itself is the face of your fear. A mask is a very powerful form of hidden secrets. You don't know what is behind it, or who is behind it. Holding on to your fear of clowns is a way of hiding in your mind the real fear that you don't want to bring out in the open. Its like a closed door. Behind that door is the thing that scared you. The door in your case is the clown. Try and open the door and find out what really frightened you.

A clown with a lovely face!

A clown with a lovely face!

Wipe That Fear Away.

Now you know why you have a fear of clowns try some of these techniques to get rid of it once and for all.

  • The obvious first choice is to book yourself an appointment with a behavior psychologist who will be able to help you learn to control and clear your fear of clowns.
  • If its not possible to make an appointment, sit down with a childrens book of clowns. Cartoons would be preferable, and take it one step at a time. Learn to count your fear from ten down to one. When you have looked at that book many times put it away and do it with another book or childrens comic that is slightly more scary for you. To get rid of the fear you have to keep looking until it goes.
  • A really good way to help you to get rid of the fear is to actually meet someone face to face who's job is a clown. The reason why you fear them is because you only see the mask on their face while they work. Arrange to meet the person before they apply the makeup. Then sit with them and chat while they are applying the mask. This way you will see the real person behind the mask.
  • You could also do it the other way around. This may be more frightening for you to start with, but hear me out. Arrange once again to go and see a clown in action, and wait until he has finished. Sit with him while he removes the makeup. As each layer is wiped off you will begin to see the real man behind the mask.
  • My last idea may sound very drastic, but if you think you can do it then it will be a good way to start healing. Go to a Circus with loads of people and place yourself in the position you were in as a child. Sit in the front row if this is where you sat as a child. And re-train your mind to see exactly what is going on this time.
  • Look at the man wearing the clown face, and keep telling yourself that he is a real man. Look at the other people in the audience, and see them laughing and having a good time. If you feel safe with your friends, know that you are not in danger, and watch the kids having fun, it should help you to start healing from your fear of clowns.

copyright nell rose

© 2012 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on October 06, 2016:

I totally get you SweetiePie! bit like that with rubber!

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on October 06, 2016:

I hate the fuzzy texture of peaches. It makes me feel like I want to run away.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 06, 2016:

Hi SweetiePie, peach skins? that is unusual! I have a friend who hated cotton wool and another who hates buttons! I don't really have a phobia, but I do hate certain types of rubber, as I can't touch it without it setting my teeth on edge! lol! thanks for reading,, nell

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on October 06, 2016:

Clowns never scared me. I think the people dressing up as clowns probably are doing it for fun and attention. Maybe they really are invested in being clowns? I am scared of peach skin, not clowns.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 11, 2014:

Hi pras, thanks so much for reading, great to see you as always, nell

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 10, 2014:

Very informative hub, Nell. I had never heard about the people who phobia or fear with clowns. Very well explanation. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!


Nell Rose (author) from England on November 10, 2014:

Hi Besarien, lol! yes I know what you mean about cats! I remember going to the circus when i was really small, and the clowns freaked me out! and yes they came over, and jeez! that just makes you worse! lol! mind you I don't blame you for being scared after coming face to face with a drunk clown! nightmare! thanks so much for reading, and great to see you again, nell

Besarien from South Florida on November 10, 2014:

I met an angry possibly drunk and drugged up clown when I was small. He didn't hurt anyone but yelled, cursed and threatened and drove around causing a lot of property damage at an outdoor birthday party I was attending. I remember at the time I was expecting him to run someone over. He did come close. He and later John Wayne Gacy kind of firmed up an opinion of clowns. I wouldn't say I was deeply afraid, but I do find guys dressed up as circus clowns more than a bit creepy and sort have an instinctual aversion. Male circus clowns are like cats apparently. You know how cats can sense the one person in a room who is allergic and walk over and jump up on his lap? Whenever there is a clown within 100 feet of me he will walk over and try to give me flower or pick a coin out of my ear or try to get me to squeeze his squeaky nose. It just never fails. Rodeo clowns, harlequins, mimes, and female circus clowns- none of them bother me a bit.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 13, 2014:

Thanks Vellur, great to see you!

Hi Word, that's so true, thanks so much for reading, nell

Hi nanderson, thanks so much, yes they don't bother me, in fact I have lots of clown masks on my wall! lol!

nanderson500 from Seattle, WA on October 12, 2014:

Interesting subject! I have never had this phobia myself, but I know someone who does. Great job!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on October 11, 2014:

Great hub here Nell, Fear and phobias can keep people from progressing. Thank you for sharing!

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Hi Jodah, lol! sorry if I gave you the shivers! Haha! thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Hi Mysticalmoon, thanks for reading, lol! yes I love clowns, well most of the time!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 11, 2014:

Came back to read again, great hub!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on October 11, 2014:

Great and comprehensive hub Nell. I have never been frightened of clowns..until You gave me a lot of reasons to fear them as well as ways to get over it :)

Seriously, this was a very interesting read. Voted up.

Pandora The Scribbler from Idaho Falls, ID on October 11, 2014:

LOL..what a great Hub to post! I love that you posted right around the time of year that I love the most. Great Hub!

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Thanks suzette, yes you are right, these days kids only see clowns on scary films so it frightens them, back then we saw them in circuses and they were really great! funny how things change, thanks for reading, nell

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 11, 2014:

Hi Nell: I love this hub! I don't have a fear of clowns but I know some people that do. It is a serious fear too. I have also found that the lyoung generation, especially some of my atydents had a real fear of clowns. I think it comes from scary/ horror movies with clowns in them that frightens them. I always found clowns to be fun, happy and goofy when I went to circuses. Your tips on how to get over a fear of clowns are good ones! I loved all the photos in this hub also. Thanks for an entertaining piece.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Hi Keeley, thanks for reading, yes its probably Stephen Kings fault, with his scary portrayal of IT, as in, hey wanna balloon? lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Hi cfin, yes you are probably right, we have a local guy, an artist, I do know him and his family, and he always wears a clown mask, mainly peirot masks as a disguise as part of his art, and as I know him its okay, but others do find him creepy! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 11, 2014:

Thanks Audrey, no me neither, until I looked it up, I think I was watching something on tv, then an advert came on for a program with clowns and that was it, a hub! lol!

Keeley Shea from Norwich, CT on October 11, 2014:

As a child I loved clowns, but as an adult I now think they are creepy! I think it is because of some scary movies I have watched over the years.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 11, 2014:

Very cool article Nell! I didn't know there was a name for this!

cfin from The World we live in on October 11, 2014:

The inability to know what their real emotional state is. That's probably enough to creep me out.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 10, 2014:

Hi skullduggery, yes it could be that sly smile or should I say completely nuts! lol! yes the Peirot black and white masks are pretty strange, they reflect the person to be sad, but just plain creepy if you ask me! saying that, I have a wall full of masks so i must be creepy to! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nathaniel Plumtree from Basingstoke on October 10, 2014:

Hi Nell, great hub and it helped me discover why I've always been terrified of clowns! All though I still think it's that psychotic killer looking smile that's painted on their face. I especially hate black and white clowns.

lovedoctor926 on January 12, 2014:

Oh ok. lol. thanks for clarifying that. Anytime. you too:)

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 12, 2014:

Thanks love doc, no pluto has been declassified as a meteor, or asteroid. lol! Have a wonderful Day, and thanks again!

lovedoctor926 on January 12, 2014:

same here Nell. lol. I thought it was a fear of planets. Is that planet still around? I think I read that they had replaced it with another one. yeah, clowns are funny looking. I dressed up as one a few yrs ago for Halloween. Have a nice Sunday.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 12, 2014:

Hi doc, I have never heard of plutophobia, I would have thought it was a fear of planets, groan, sorry! lol! yes clowns are funny things, you either love them or are scared witless! thanks for reading, nell

lovedoctor926 on January 11, 2014:

Hi Nell, I can understand small children being scared of clowns.I''ve been to a couple of clown birthday parties and seen kids crying whenever a clown gets too close. now for adult to be scared of clowns sounds a little weird to me. lol but you're right there are some interesting phobias out there.I remember writing an article for other site I used to write for on phobias. There's even a phobia listed for those people scared of water AKA plutophobia. voted up!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 11, 2014:

Hi Sparkster, my friend used to have a terrible phobia about moths! She believes its because when she was little she picked up a bat by mistake thinking it was a moth! lol! big mistake! thanks for reading, nell

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on January 11, 2014:

I know quite a few people who have a fear of clowns. Personally I used to have a phobia of moths and butterflies but I managed to overcome it using NLP!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 11, 2014:

Thanks mary, yes its funny how some people have phobias about the strangest things, I used to hate daddy long legs! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 11, 2014:

Thanks Lizzy, they do weird me out sometimes, but I don't have a phobia about them, thanks for reading, nell

Mary Craig from New York on January 11, 2014:

Nell you outdo yourself! This is excellent covering so many points. Its hard to understand how someone could be afraid of clowns but I'm sure there are people who can't understand why I'm afraid of bees!

Your descriptions were beginning to send chills up my spine. Well done my friend.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 22, 2013:

Glad you liked it Slone, and thanks!

Slone on February 22, 2013:

I'm totally terrified of clowns, but I think your article helped me a lot. Thanks!!!!

Nell Rose (author) from England on February 12, 2013:

Vellur, yes that's true, I actually love clowns, but saying that they can be a bit creepy! lol! thanks for reading, nell

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 12, 2013:

Clowns are great fun and I love watching them. I guess each one have their own phobias. Great hub.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 07, 2012:

Hi Miss Mimi, Wow! you work in a Circus? You lucky thing! lol! one of my childhood dreams! yes it does make sense doesn't it? it's a bit like someone wearing a mask and picking up a child, it frightens them because they can't see the real features and expressions, thanks so much, and yes I am sooooo jealous! lol!

Miss Mimi from On the road again on October 06, 2012:

Nice post, Nell! I'm a circus artist, and have had the pleasure of working with some really awesome clowns and I can't even count the number of times we've talked to audience members who are terrified to watch a clown act or meet a clown. One of the shows I perform for decided that none of the clowns would wear any make-up other than basic stage make-up (foundation and a bit of eyeliner) so that the audience could enjoy their comedy without having to face their phobia. Most of the clowns I've worked with think that for at least some kids, the fear of clowns starts when their parents force them to interact with clowns at a young age. If they are working some sort of event, many parents think "here's a spot where my kid can have a good time and not get into trouble and I can go and talk with other adults for a few minutes" then they either leave the child in the care of the clown; sometimes even thrusting the kid into the clowns arms. Because they're sure the kid will find the clown funny. It seems to work right alongside your theory of how it can create a psychological rift when the people who are supposed to protect you the most are laughing and forcing you to interact with something that is frightening to you.

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 27, 2012:

Hi TT, Wow! that sounds spooky! arghhh! lol! I wouldn't have put it in a rocking chair in the first place, I would have had nightmares just thinking about it! lol! thanks as always, nell

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 27, 2012:

Heya, Nell. I was never afraid of clowns until my clown doll used to rock in my rocking chair at night when I was about 6. Not a fan. Mom would tell me it was my imagination, but she wouldn't put it in her room, either. :) Voted up and more!

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 16, 2012:

Hi DDE, yes I totally agree, its amazing how many people do hate them though, creepy things! lol! thanks so much for reading, nell

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 16, 2012:

Voted Up!! Thanks for the excellent Hub clowns are supposed to entertain people not for one to be afraid them

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 23, 2012:

Hi Victoria, thanks for reading, yes I never realised that there was a particular name for it, I don't mind clowns but they do give me an eerie feeling sometimes! lol!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 23, 2012:

Sure, clowns are a bit creepy, but I never realized that people can have such a violent reaction to them like the lady in the video. Wow. I guess there is probably a phobia out there for just about anything. Thanks for this hub. It was very interesting and entertaining!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 15, 2012:

Hi teaches, yes that's so true, it can be just that one little thing that can start of the fear of clowns, I know they always make me shudder! lol! thanks as always, nell

Dianna Mendez on July 14, 2012:

I know some adults who still have a fear of clowns. They had an early exposure to them and not in the best approach. It's something parents do not consider when they throw a child's party, they assume all children (and adults) love clowns. Great post, Nell. Voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 14, 2012:

Hi avian, thanks for reading, I have a sister in law who is scared of clowns, I have often wondered why, thanks!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 13, 2012:

I'm not afraid of clowns, but have known someone that was.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 12, 2012:

Hi unknown spy, thats so true, their faces can be hiding anyone or anything, they definitely make me uneasy, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Ruchira, that does make sense, I used to have a woman a work who always smiled when she was being nasty, it was really surreal! lol! spooked me out most of the time! yes as we get older the fear of clowns etc does go of, but I still can't watch Hellraiser! haha! thanks as always, nell

Life Under Construction from Neverland on July 11, 2012:

Wonderful and Interesting Nell. I do fear clowns, but I cannot say it's really a phobia. I just dont want to be near them because im just scared.. I dont know why but maybe i fear them because i cannot see what's the true aura behind the painted face..

Ruchira from United States on July 11, 2012:

okay...I admit. I used to have this fear from funny people(strange huh!)

I saw this weird movie as a kid where funny people were the villains and since then thought such people are

Thus, could not trust clowns or anyone laughing. I think age and maturity set in and realized that fiction can be possible in

beautiful writeup, Nell. Voted up and sharing it across

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Mohan, thanks so much, yes IT freaked me completely when I first read it, then I saw the film and that was it! lol! thanks as always, nell

Mohan Kumar from UK on July 11, 2012:

I remember reading Stephen King's IT when I as at school and it freaked me out. I ma not scared of clowns but I am wary of them- far too many times i nfiction clowns have been used as criminals or villains! they should protest.

thanks for this highly informative, picturesque and interesting hub, Nell.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Thanks so much Jeannie, oh those clown dolls! lol! my ex bought me one, it had the face of a baby with makeup and a strange clown costume. it was like one of those horror films when you see the person staring at it, and then throwing it in the drawer! haha! thanks for reading, and thanks for the share, nell

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on July 11, 2012:

It's those fake, painted on smiles. That is what makes clowns look so evil. I don't think anyone really enjoys clowns. It is all a myth! Clown dolls are pretty nasty, too. I can do without all of them! Great hub and voted up!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Gordon, thats strange isn't it? I don't think I saw that episode of Midsomer or Frost, I knew it was a genuine phobia, because my ex's sister has it, but never knew it had a name! lol! The stephen king film was scary at the time, but watching it now its so dated it is just funny, so yes my son has gone back to his number one fear, sharks! lol! thanks for reading, cheers nell

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on July 11, 2012:

Hi, Nell. Great subject that you cover in depth. Interesting - I have only ever heard of the fear of clowns once before and that was in a British TV programme. It's a while ago so not sure but it could have been Midsomer Murders - or maybe Frost? I never really realised the fear could be real until I read your Hub. I thought it was maybe just a fabrication on the part of the TV producers! I've never seen the movie of Stephen King's, "It," but I remember reading the book when it came out. Hope neither you nor your son still have nightmares! :)

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi b. Malin, lol! yes that woman was a bit over the top! what did she think he was going to do? tickle her to death? haha! thanks again, nell

b. Malin on July 11, 2012:

What a Wonderful, Fantastic Hub Nell. Am I afraid of a Clown, Mmmm...Maybe, behind that Makeup, who is it really?

It was Fun, as well as Interesting watching that young Girl turn into a Clown. But to watch that woman suffer because of her Fear of Clowns was Pathetic . Very Educational my Friend.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Hilary, lol! thanks! yes thats it, the maniac look. Its funny because even though when you see the video, and know its just a normal person, as they start applying the clown make up, it does make me uneasy! psychological I know, but still, thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Movie, yes IT is very scary! lol! at least it gives me the creeps! thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Hi Alicia, yes they make me uneasy too, I am not scared of them but I wouldn't want to be left in a room, in the dark, in the night with one! haha! thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 11, 2012:

Thanks alocsin, yes I think you're right. its the false smiles or frowns, its so unnatural, thats why clowns can be disconcerting to say the least! lol!

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on July 11, 2012:

Hi Nell. I recently read a similar article, but this one steals the show (no pun intended)!

I'm not clownaphobic (or coulrophobic) but those clowns you've featured here are pretty scary, even the young girl! All that make-up and the painted on smiles can make you feel like you're being fooled by a maniac. Come to think of it, I never laughed at the clowns at the circus. I preferred watching their little dogs with ruffs and a hat. Cheers!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on July 11, 2012:

Hi Nell, I have never been scared of clowns, but I don't much like them either!

I have seen the film 'IT' and read the book - it's scary!

A very interesting and useful article, thank you and voted up.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 10, 2012:

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking hub, Nell. I don't have a fear of clowns, but they do occasionally make me feel uneasy. As you say, their heavy makeup acts as a mask and this prevents me from seeing the real person. I do find this a bit disconcerting. Thank you for teaching me a new word - I had never heard of coulrophobia before I read your hub!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 10, 2012:

I don't have a fear of clowns but have to admit they do look a bit creepy, especially the ones with permanent sad or happy faces. It doesn't quite look natural which may cause unease in others. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi Shri, nice to see you, its funny isn't it how children dislike them when they are the ones who are supposed to like going to see them, I don't mind spiders, well, not the small ones anyway! haha! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi Christy, I will go take a look thanks! and thank you for reading, nell

Shri Mc on July 10, 2012:

So strange to me that my child hates clowns. Well I like clowns but then I also like spiders and other things people find creepy.

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on July 10, 2012:

I did not actually know there was a name for the fear of clowns - wow! I do not have one but you outline all of the reasoning behind it well. I just connected with you on Twitter by the way as I saw the link in your profile - will be nice to connect there too.

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi Galaxy, at last I found one! lol! someone who hates clowns! yes I totally understand, they could be anything underneath that mask, even a demon, obviously not really but our subconscious will always play games with us. Haha, you have to go up into the loft now and check whether its still there! thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Galaxy Harvey from United Kingdom on July 10, 2012:

I hate clowns, always have, for as long as I can remember. I think it has something to do with not being able to read their expressions, they are wearing a mask and yet not. If that makes any sense? A friend of mine bought a clown doll for my daughter when she was a baby and I had to hide it in the loft! I believe it is still there - now that's a creepy thought!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi susie, thanks so much for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi christopher, I know just what you mean, my worse nightmare film has to be Hellraiser, the first one, makes me shiver everytime I see the darn thing! lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi Larry, so its vampires that you hate? lol! I totally understand, with me it was werewolves. I had this subliminal fear of them, then I went out with a guy called Wolf who did reinactments and theatre, he was the werewolf! haha! true story, never scared of them again! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Thanks josh, I am glad you like it, I think we all have someone who hates clowns, I know I do, my sister in law is scared to death of them! lol!

susiebrown48 from Clearwater, FL on July 10, 2012:

Nicely written, on a unique subject matter. Thanks!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi klara, yes I remember seeing the heads on tv. isn't it funny how we can be scared of beautiful things too? like butterflys. My friend is the same, only its moths. she believes that maybe she was dive bombed as she calls it, by a bat when she was small, and somehow her mind thinks it was a moth, who knows? thats great though that you cured your fear and now love them, and how lovely, a butterfly garden! thanks klara, and nice to see you, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi Jackie, I never saw that one, shame! lol! what did they do to kate? I haven't seen it, let me know I am really interested now! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi beth, yes that sounds about right, I am sure that most people started their fear this way, now you are talking my language! lol! quantum physics, and yes that makes perfect sense. Also another one was Marc bolan, he had a fear of dying in a car crash! maybe its true? Wow! in the case of being scared of a clown it could be a person who is just wearing a mask that attacks them! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi lovedoctor, yes pennywise does tend to have that affect! lol! the woman was terrified, I do think these phobia psychologists have no idea how to cure them, I was screaming at the tv when I saw something similar about this, and said have they no sense? you have to get to the bottom of why they are like it, not try and get rid of the phobia without knowing! thanks for reading, cheers nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on July 10, 2012:

Hi DzyM, I was watching a program about phobias and was amazed that people should be scared of clowns! lol! so it got me thinking, and this is what happened! thanks as always, nell

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on July 10, 2012:

It's not something that bothers me, but I am not above some irrational fears. A good creepy film can leave me sleeping with the lights on for weeks.

Larry Fields from Northern California on July 10, 2012:

Hi Nell. Another great hub!

I didn't find clowns to be frightening when I was a child.

I remember going to a Saturday matinee with a friend and his two younger sisters. Their mother drove us, and picked us up later in the afternoon.

The feature film was Dracula. When it got to the scary part, the girls were laughing, as I edged my way to the aisle, in order to escape to the lobby.

For me, some things are intrinsically funny: watermelons and duct tape, to name two. But not clowns.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 09, 2012:


I agree with Lizzy, i have never gave it much thought either. I have never been afraid of clowns, but have friends who have been and are still. This is a very informative and well-written article! The suggestions you have provided are excellent! Great job, keep up the great work! Voted up UAI

klarawieck on July 09, 2012:

Nell, your advice is wonderful. I've never feared clowns, although I was terrified of those big paper mache heads on a pole that they used during the carnival parades in Havana. They were satirical images of local celebrities, but they looked so big and scary!

The only other thing I feared as a child were butterflies. I was in my early twenties and fed up with the fact that the sight of a butterfly would make me shielf my face as if I were about to get eaten. In order for me to put an end to that fear I went ahead and created a butterfly garden with a small bench right in the middle of it. I began by sitting 5 minutes, then 10, then 15 until I got used to it. I can honestly say that gardening has been one of my favorite pastimes, and I always planted native plants and flowers for my little winged friends. I absolutely love them now.

This is a wonderful and very useful hub. And the video of that poor woman crying a the sight of the clown broke my heart. I was never that bad, but she was genuinely anxious and scared. Poor thing!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 09, 2012:

There was a Frasier about this and it was hilarious. Hard to believe it is real but people are all different.

I am really mad at that magazine over here that did that to Kate. I cannot believe in this day and age someone, and especially a business, would do that. I know that has to hurt. I just hope she knows how very many of us are fuming!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on July 09, 2012:

Very informative Hub, Nell. My oldest daughter suffered from this phobia as a child -she'd walked into the room one night when a friend and I were watching Killer Clowns from Outer Space and was terrified. Thankfully she grew out of it over the years and in fact, is now a big fan of Harl E. Quin from the Dark Knight series.

I heard an interesting theory once by a researcher of quantum theory. His speech had deviated into the concept of past lives and this gentleman, who believed souls don't follow linear Time, speculated that phobias may in fact be safeguards against what the soul knows is a potential fatal threat in the specific life time of the individual. One example he gave was of Jim Morrison, who had a lifetime terror of water, and ended up dead in a tub full of water. I don't recall the rest of the examples but it was a provocative thought.

Voting up for the informative Hub.

lovedoctor926 on July 09, 2012:

Interesting observations about clowns. I didn't know about this type of phobia. As a child, I went to the circus a lot. I don't remember being afraid of clowns. I had a few birthday clown parties a a kid too. However, pennywise looks scary. That lady is freaking out! Wow... I never thought adults would have this phobia. I would understand if it was a toddler though. Voted up.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on July 09, 2012:

Eh--not something that ever really bothered me--I'm not crazy about clowns, but not afraid...I guess I was raised too much as a miniature adult when I was young, and they just kind of bore me.

That said, this was a very well-done and interesting article. I know there are folks with such a phobia--I never gave it much thought--and your suggestions for overcoming same sound very sensible.

Voted up, interesting and useful.

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