ByTom Cox, writer at
Staff writer for Moviepilot. Tweet me @thomascox500
Tom Cox

200 miles from civilization in the Nevada desert lurks a motel dedicated to clowns. 600 clown toys line its reception walls, lipsticked lips leer from portraits in the bedrooms, while an ancient cemetery rots outside.

No, this is not the plot for the latest clown slasher but a description of a real Clown Motel in Tonopah.

Comic writer Christopher Sebela wanted to spend a month there, the loony! He even raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter, 'cos people like sending others to their clowny deaths, enough for him to spend October 2015 in the motel.

Atlas Obscura have made a chilling video examining the roots of clown fear, "coulrophobia", explaining why our cold sweats at the circus are logical given their gory history. Curiosity about this unease drove Sebela to stay in the motel.

The memoirs of an early 19th-century London clown named Joseph Grimaldi, co-written with Dickens, show one of the earliest sources of troubled clowns.

I'm GRIM-ALL-DAY so you can laugh all night

Grimaldi was a depressive alcoholic. His wife and second son died in childbirth, while his first son died from alcoholism when he was 30.

In the 1930s a wave of 'hobo clowns' damaged their previously child-friendly image in America. In the 1950s-'60s their act was cleaned up. And, surprise surprise, Ronald McDonald was invented.

But in the 1970s the real troubles started - 'Killer Clown' aka John Wayne Garcy murdered 33 young men, and disturbingly revealed:

"You know... clowns can get away with murder."

Then the '80s and '90s gave birth to a string of clown horrors, such as It, Air Bud, Poltergeist, and Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

Watch the video here, if you dare:

Have you had any clown scares? Comment below!

Source: Atlas Obscura


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