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Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns and I'm pretty sure most of us at some point have experienced it.
For most it disappears after childhood, but for some it lingers longer, sometimes for their whole life...
I had the misfortune of being one of these people, at the age of 17 I was still as scared of clowns as I was when I first went to the circus at age 5.
So imagine if you will, my absolute horror when I found out a clown was going to be at my little cousin's birthday party.
I almost refused to go, but my parents said it was time for me to get over my fears and my little cousin really wanted me to come.
I eventually resigned myself to going, deciding the clown would be too busy entertaining the little kids to bother with me- after all, that's what clowns do, they entertain little kids.
So the time came and me and my folks went to the birthday party, it was mostly relatives and a few of my little cousin's friends who were there- having rented out a bouncy castle and a large open space to entertain the crowds. I had to admit it was a pretty impressive party.
Then I saw the clown, already busy entertaining the kids, but even at a distance I began to freak out a little- I really wanted to go home but I pushed myself forward, making sure to look away from the clown and let him drift into the crowds as I made my way over to one of the tables filled with food.
The usual selection of party food awaited me and I began to help myself when I suddenly became aware of someone standing behind me. Thinking it was someone I knew, I turned around, only to feel a wave of fear rush through my entire body as that damn clown stood right in front of me.
The clown just stared at me with a large grin on his painted face, extending a hand towards me as I began to shiver- one gloved finger came closer and closer until finally resting on my nose and the clown's grin spread further:
I absolutely lost it at that point, shoving the clown out of the way as I ran straight into the nearby house and totally ignored the looks of surprise or my parents calling me back.
I didn't even look back to see if that clown was following me... I just kept running.
I slammed the door shut and took deep breaths as I tried to calm myself, still shaking uncontrollably- I knew my parents were going to give me a verbal beatdown for acting up like this, but that clown really got to me... what was his problem anyway?
It was then I heard the door open and expected my parents to come rushing in, instead I once again found myself staring in utter disbelief as that clown entered the house- that stupid grin still spread on his face.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!" I yelled out, finally having enough- my fear slowly turning to anger at this stupid clown. Couldn't he see I was scared? Why didn't he just back off? It wasn't fair...
The clown's grin faded at this, and before I could react he threw himself at me, tackling me to the floor and spitting in my face- "You scared of clowns? I'll give you something to be REALLY scared about, you little shit!".
I struggled as this crazy clown pinned me down and began to wrap his gloved hands around my neck and choked the life out of me- I could feel myself getting weaker as the clown's grip tightened: his face nothing short of pure, murderous rage.
Just when I felt like I was about to die, I watched as the clown was tackled by my uncle, my own parents soon entering- everyone was shouting and screaming but it was like a blur to me. As I coughed and spluttered, I heard someone yell to get the kids and another person called the cops as more people helped my uncle to hold that crazy clown down, who was struggling all the while and yelling obscenities.
I don't really remember much else about that day, all I remember is a few days after the incidents a local paper got a hold of the story and released it: turns out the clown at the party was actually a psychotic who had managed to evade the police for several months, seems he enjoyed dressing as a clown and passing himself off as an entertainer, and he had attacked several people before... yet had always managed to escape... seems his luck finally ran out.
As for me, well let's just say it may take a few more years for me to get over my fear of clowns...
Don't even get me started on mimes...