Here’s Why Clowns Scare The Hell Out Of You

Remember that day you went to the circus and your parents said you were going to have a blast? Only minutes later you learned the ugly truth: They lied. From then on, your childhood was doomed, haunted by nightmares about freakish people with red noses and fake smiles. Nothing made sense anymore: If clowns were supposed to amuse you, why did they turn your innocent life into a living hell? Well, we have the answers you’ve been waiting for…


1. The scientific term for the fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia.

Most kids are incredibly scared of clowns.


2. According to psychiatrists, it is the ‘uncanny valley effect’ that scares children in particular.

The ‘uncanny valley effect’ hypothesis explains that people’s brains get increasingly irritated if others look and act similar to humans but don’t exhibit normal human facial expressions.


3. The hardly recognizable but clearly human face makes it hard to estimate whether the creature is dangerous or not.

Anthropologist Claude Levi -Strauss says that “the facial disguise temporarily eliminates […] social intercourse.”

4. The permanently frozen clown smile adds to this effect.

Clowns’ behavior as well as their unfamiliar faces can cause cognitive dissonance in some people who can then develop coulrophobia.


5. You’re right, media’s depiction of clowns doesn’t help either.

Wouldn’t you love to join this jolly dinner table conversation.


6. It really didn’t help. It did not.

Some even believe that coulrophobia increased massively among people after the release of It.

7. Admittedly, Heath Ledger did a great job.

A great job at scaring the s**t out of you.


8. Speaking of permanently frozen smiles…

Twisty from American Horror Story really just made everything worse.


9. Coulrophobia is not listed as mental disorder by the World Health Organisation…yet.

However, you’re definitely not the only one scared of clowns.