Listen, you clown, the joke’s not funny anymore.
That’s what residents of Northampton, a small English city about 50 miles outside of London, are telling the weird, apparently humorless man attired in full circus clown regalia, who has been popping up mysteriously around town over the past several days.
As recently as Saturday night, passers-by spotted the man, described by a local newspaper as wearing “trademark white make-up and red wig on St Michael's Road waving forlornly with a clown teddy hanging from his other hand.”
Though photos have appeared that show the clown, or someone dressed as him, holding balloons, he is never seen performing tricks, juggling, riding around in a very small car or doing any of the things that clowns traditionally do.
Instead, the clown simply stares and waves -- then disappears.
Whoever created a Facebook page titled "Spot Northampton’s Clown" that appeared on Friday, Sept. 13, claims in posts on the page to be the clown. The page has accumulated almost 33,000 “likes” as of Monday morning as the clown has become not only a social media sensation, but has garnered widespread mainstream news coverage as well.
A YouTube video posted during the summer titled “The Local Clown - A Short Mocumentary” shows a man dressed more or less identically to the Northampton clown. But the video’s creator, Alex Powell, denies that the clown in the film is the same one spotted around Northampton.
On his Facebook page, the person who says he actually is the clown also denies being the same clown as in the video.
The image of the “evil clown” has become something of an archetype, and the mystery surrounding the Northampton clown has done nothing to dispel it, with reaction to his appearances ranging from the annoyed to the outraged.
“Get out of the clown suit and start acting like a grown up that you supposing are and stop scaring people,” said one social media commenter, Kelly Keen.
The clown, via Facebook, denied posing any threat to the community.
“Too much hate not enough love,” he posted. “No, I don’t have a knife on me! That's just stupid rumours spread by stupid people.”
SOURCES: Huffington Post UK, Northampton Herald & Post (2), Facebook, YouTube