In my first year of teaching, I got to live out an urban legend first hand. It was wonderful. As the kids spoke, I got all reporter-faced and wrote everything they said down.
Apparently there was a clown living in the city I taught in.
In basements, to be exact. Their eyes were wide as they told me this.
Now, many out there make a fine living as clowns, making children scream with laughter with their sad painted faces and time-honored balloon animals. People also hate clowns thanks to my favorite guy in the world--Stephen King.
But this wasn't just any ordinary clown, mind you. There was no laughter. According to one of my middle school students, at one point, this clown was lurking around the city, hiding out in people's houses.
Later that day, I spoke with a coach on the way to CPR class (in case the clown does attack, I am certified in CPR). I told her what my students had said:
“Have you heard the latest?”
“No,” she said.
“Well, apparently there’s a clown that had been living in a person’s house for two weeks. It's been said the clown killed an infant late one night.”
I hadn't the chance to look up whether the stories were online in the newspapers, but as I continued to tell the story, I started laughing at how ludicrous it sounded. I mean, a clown? Killing an infant?
I wish my middle school students put that much creativity in some of the yearbook themes they come up with.
How would the scene even play out?
“Honey, I’m going to go downstairs to get a new bottle of wine. I’ll be right back,” says the husband as he vanishes into the vast darkness that is the basement, searching for the light switch. As the light flickers on, he looks around the unfinished basement as he always does.
As he looks hither and yon, boxes, visible pipes, old furniture the color of nature sit in the basement, as well as toys his children like to play with. He walks over to the makeshift wine rack and picks a bottle of wine and goes back upstairs.
So, if there’s a clown hiding out in this man’s basement, the word incognito comes to mind – and, no offense to clowns, they really don’t have it going on.
All that bright orange hair, luminescent white make-up, and red lipstick? Don’t even get me started on the giant blue shoes and the collar around their neck that looks like a dog tutu…
In my mind's eye, I see a clown cowering in the corner of the basement, hiding with his white-gloved hands covering his head like a little kid ready for a severe weather drill.
“He cannot see me,” the clown thinks. “I am not here.”
Those middle school kids and their stories!
Later that week, I found out that my students weren’t the only ones talking about this so-called clown – the story had spread to a high school in the neighboring town. A friend heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who baby sits in Carmel.
Which makes the story even more reliable.
And people, this was all before social media hit the scene.
The baby sitter’s story went like this, as quoted from my students:
The baby sitter didn't understand why the two small children were afraid to go to sleep. The kids said it was because of the clown. This concerned the babysitter, and she called the parents to ask “what’s the deal?”
The parents weren't sure. What clown in the house?
The kids told the babysitter that the clown hid in the basement and came up at night and watched the kids while they slept.
Some of the kids spasmed with heebie jeebies as they told me this. It was too much for them. It was both terrifying and wonderfully exciting. They couldn't contain themselves.
Their very own "Saw" movie was playing out in their town.
Although clowns are their own subspecies, and people who are afraid of them suffer from Coulrophobia, you would think such a bizarre story would’ve been on the news, right?
To be continued...
(No, really...there's more to the story, so it really does need to be continued.)