There is more to the clown than we think.
The clown is a master of subterfuge. The clown is patient. The clown, much like The Shadow, knows.
And the clown will wait.
According to all the different stories my students told me, they were very aware of a clown that was terrorizing unknown baby sitters across the land. The first story I had heard about, where the clown hid in the basement and then climbed the stairs to watch the kids, was completely wrong. And the part where the clown killed an infant? That was totally wrong, too.
I mean, really? When did clowns start making infant sacrifices?
A student, who heard it from a student, who heard it from another student’s brother’s sister’s cousin’s step-dad’s uncle’s niece said the only truth from first version of the story was that there was a) a clown and b) a babysitter.
She said so.
As the week wore on, I was lambasted with more stories during class.
An alternative version went like this: The babysitter was in the parents master bedroom watching television because the two children she babysat for were afraid of the clown statue that stood in the the parents' bedroom.
That's one brave babysitter -- putting herself out there in harm's way, the clown mannequin standing RIGHT. BEHIND. HER.
I knew it was some kind of rumor at this point -- please, I knew from the get-go -- but, I really, really, really knew it was a silly story because sane adults don't choose to have clown statues in their bedrooms.
They just don't.
Nope. You can't argue with me Whatever point you try to make is moot.
My students started calling the person who dressed as the clown “the old creepy man." His only goal was to give kid night terrors.
As of now, I had heard many different stories: he killed an infant (false), he stood in the parents' bedroom (false), and his only goal was to give small children night terrors (false).
What was true? None of this! But try telling that to a bunch of middle school kids who are hopped up on "Saw" movies. They want this to be real.
Since then, I have Snopes'd the story to find how untrue it is. But if I knew then what I know now, I would know the same thing: There ain't no clown hidin' out in parents' bedrooms, especially without the parents knowing.
In order for that to work, the clown would need a key to the house, and know the parents' schedule.
What? The clown was just Mr. Crimpshaw, the gardner?
"I would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for you kids, and your dog!"
Although most of us can see the plot holes, since we grew up with "Scooby-Doo," the Millennials aren't in-tune with the Hanna-Barbera classics.
But regardless of how crazy it sounded, the clown got into the house whenever there was a babysitter.
In one of the variations of this sordid tale, the babysitter was a little miffed that the kids weren't going to sleep, so when the parents got home, she said in that awful teenager way: "You know, you, like, really need to get rid of the clown mannequin, because its giving your kids night terrors.”
“What clown mannequin?”
"No, no, no!" a student cried out.
The babysitter didn't wait for the parents to get home, she called the parents while they were out to dinner and asked what she should do about the scary clown mannequin that frightened the children. The mother told the girl to grab the kids and run out of the house.
In another version, the clown mannequin actually sat in the kids’ room, not the parents' room.
In a cross-combination of versions, the babysitter called the mom and the mom told her to call the police, but when she returned to the kids’ room – the window was open and the clown was gone. You know, with the curtains blowing in the breeze.
Others said the clown hid in the closet.
Someone else said the clown hid under the bed.
And each kid that approached my podium with a different version of the story had belief written all over their face. Their eyes were wide.
Finally, toward the end of the week, I got the most cohesive story from one of my newspaper editors:
He started out by giving the details that have been used in each story. There’s a babysitter. There’s a phone call. Most important, there’s a clown.
“There’s a clown mannequin in the room…” he continued.
“You’re such a loser,” retorted one of the other editors. “I can’t believe you think this is real.”
“It is real,” the believer said.
Regardless of which story is the right story, a seventh grader pulled me aside and said where all this hullabaloo came from. It was just a silly accident that was blown out of proportion. The real story goes like this: A kid had a Ronald McDonald statue fall on him/her at a local McDonald’s and that’s where all these rumors started.
Nine years later, I pulled the story up on Snopes. I was excited to see that it was posted in October of 2004, when all of this crazy-talk was happening in my classroom.