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It Finally Happened: The Creepy Clown Wave Has Arrived In The Chicago Area

By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 4, 2016 4:26PM

Well, it was probably only a matter of time. With Halloween costume shops opening up around town and coverage spreading as far as The Gray Lady herself, the Great Clown Scare of 2016 appears to have officially arrived in the Chicagoland area.

Creepy (read: irritating) clown sightings aren’t exactly new in Chicago. You might remember last year’s cell-phone footage of a clown that broke into the Rosehill Cemetery and waved slowly at passers-by. And earlier this year, Gags—The Green Bay Clown terrorized (and effectively marketed to) our neighbors to the north. But Chicago seemed to have been mercifully spared from this year’s model until now.

Facebook user Sewar Rahman Albawl posted the following bait to accrue Snapchat followers viral warning of a clown sighting at Montrose and Kedzie, in East Albany Park.

And WGN reports that all 170 schools in the Chicago Heights district have added security after “a Facebook threat from a clown gang;” and the Hammond Indiana Police Department posted on their Facebook on Monday that the nearby town “has joined the ranks of cities across the country receiving Crazy Clown complaints.” Welcome to the big time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, HIPD on Tuesday noted “so far there have been no reports of confirmed clown sightings,” although they appear to have their eyes out for the Hammon Clowny (seriously).

It all sounds pretty much of a piece with the national trend. According to a New York Times story last week, much of the straight clownin' behavior is just that: false reports and false threats.

“Other cases seem attributable to children with overactive imaginations, teenagers pulling pranks and others with their own reasons for adding to the hysteria," the article says.

Jason D. Seacat, psychology professor at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., seemed to think it might just be a case of low-risk FOMO feeding the frenzy. He told the Times: “Low risk of being called out for lying and the benefit of positive attention for reporting such a claim may motivate some people to lie.”

Be sure to track all that positive attention with up-to-the-minute updates at Clown Sightings USA, and hope that this means we can at least all move on from Harambe, because there's only so much room in our lives for low-level meme-able wackiness.