It even has a scientific name –
Coulrophobia - The fear of Clowns
Since it is not an old phobia, but one that
increased in recent decades, little is known about
Scientists and doctors now agree that it is a result of
not knowing who lies behind the excessive makeup, red nose and hair
The clown wears a colorful makeup to deconstruct the
facial features to create a new identity.
And clowns can also break social norms, their mask makes
them able to do things that others can’t do socially, like interacting
with unknown people at ease.
Some researchers believe that coulrophobia cases increased after the 90’s, when Steven
Spielberg classic horror film “IT” depicting a murderous clown was released and the portrayal of Joker as an
evil character in Batman movies did not help the matter either.
The phobia can cause a state of panic, difficulty in
breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and feelings of
The coulrphobia may seem absurd for some, however, many
people suffer so much, that it prevents them to eat a hamburger in a
famous fast food chain. It is not a trivial matter either and
coulrophobia shouldn’t be treated lightly.
Some hospitals use clowns as mural decorations which may
make some coulrophobic children feel unease during their stay at the
Although the fear of clowns develops most of the time
during childhood, it is prevalent among adult population too, even if a
big number of adults would deny it.
It is said that the phobia develops in early years, when children are very sensible to an
unfamiliar face in a familiar body.
There isn’t any official data about how many people suffer from coulrophobia, although it is
believed that it is much more prevalent in western society (where exposure to clowns is more prevalent since
a younger age). Some estimate that around 12% of adults in the US suffer from it.
At the end of the day, any phobia is an irrational fear and clowns exist to entertain us. To
help better understand what provoked this phobia and how it is manifested, write in the comments below.