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Written by John Squires

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, or even to what we’ve been posting right here on iHorror, you know by now that South Carolina is currently in the midst of a nightmarish creepy clown epidemic. To make a long story short, several clowns have been spotted around the state, some of them attempting to lure children into the woods and others just plain creeping out residents.

To make things even stranger, South Carolina is not alone. These past few years, creepy clown sightings have been on the rise across the country and even around the world, and though many have chalked the red-nosed terrorism up to viral marketing for entertainment like American Horror Story and Rob Zombie’s 31, the reality is very likely that people are just crazy and they love scaring others. It’s a messed up world, and there are few things more messed up than creepy goddamn clowns.

But what does Stephen King think about all this? After all, he was the man who brought our clown fears to terrifying life in the form of Pennywise; easily the scariest clown in the history of scary clowns. The Bangor Daily News caught up with King and asked him about the recent rash of clown sightings, which seem to have creeped out even the master of horror himself.

When I wrote my novel IT, I set it in Bangor, because it’s a town with a tough and violent history,” King said. “I chose Pennywise the Clown as the face which the monster originally shows the kiddies because kids love clowns, but they also fear them; clowns with their white faces and red lips are so different and so grotesque compared to ‘normal’ people. Take a little kid to the circus and show him a clown, he’s more apt to scream with fear than laugh.”

I suspect it’s a kind of low-level hysteria, like Slender Man, or the so-called Bunny Man, who purportedly lurked in Fairfax County, Virginia, wearing a white hood with long ears and attacking people with a hatchet or an axe,” he added, speaking specifically about the sightings. “The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying.”

If I saw a clown lurking under a lonely bridge (or peering up at me from a sewer grate, with or without balloons), I’d be scared, too,” King admitted.

Stephen King