Coulrophobia is no laughing matter. This irrational fear of clowns can cause panic and nausea.

Although it’s a rare phobia, many people find clowns creepy if not downright scary. 

Why? The answer lies partly in the prevalence of evil clowns in popular culture—think Pennywise in Stephen King’s It (1986).

It hides not only the person’s identity but also that person’s feelings.

The oversized lips and eyebrows distort the face so that the brain perceives it as human but slightly off.

 In addition, clowns are highly unpredictable as well as mischievous, which puts people on edge.

These psychological discomforts produce a fear that is then stoked by negative portrayals of clowns in popular culture.

According to some, 1970s American serial killer John Wayne Gacy—who performed as Pogo the Clown at charity events and children’s parties—solidified the idea of the evil clown

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