Clown Hysteria Takes Over South Campus



Shea Blake

Last Monday night, Oct. 3, a Snapchat that appeared to show a clown outside of St. Monica’s was circulated around campus. The image troubled many on campus due to the phenomenon of people dressed as clowns popping up around college campuses and towns across the country. The Villanovan tracked the source of the photo and confirmed it was faked.

“The photo was taken from the Internet,” a student close to the source of the image who chose to remain anonymous said. “I do not believe there was any malicious intent behind the spreading of this picture.”

Reports of clowns, some more harmful than others, have been popping up in towns and universities across the country. A 16 old boy in Reading, Pennsylvania was stabbed and killed on Sunday in an altercation involving at least one clown mask. Today police arrested 29-year-old Avery Valentin-Bair, who was charged with first-degree murder. This is the only reported death connected to the clown trend, but sinister behavior has been reported in connection to the costumed figures. Other college campuses, among them University of Delaware, Syracuse University and Penn State, have also reported clown sightings. As for the supposed threat on the University’s campus, some students were reportedly scared to walk outside.

“I think the spread of the rumors is thanks to hysteria,” Katherine McGee, a freshman resident of Moriarty Hall said. “What I am most scared of is the people behind the clown mask because who is so crazy that they want to dress up like a creepy clown and scare people, especially on college campuses.”

Residence staff tried to calm the nerves of their freshman and were searching for answers themselves. “Around 10:15 [p.m.], two of my residents had come to tell me about it,” a St. Monica’s Residence Assistant said. “Originally, I was not too concerned, just because I have lived in a freshman dorm before and I feel that word spreads fast concerning random things all the time. As far as I knew, there was no one that I knew that saw anything. However, I did want to reach out to Public Safety to make sure if anything were to happen, they would have an idea that something was going on.”

Public Safety reported receiving several reports, but none from individuals who had seen anything first hand. Officers found nothing after being dispatched to South Campus and were able to pull the original photo from the Internet that was used in the sensationalizing Snapchat.

Meanwhile, other students headed outside in small clans to find and face the clown head on.

“To be honest, I think the appearance of clowns on college campuses are kind of funny,” Sam Palazzo said. “At the same time, it kind of terrifies me when they have weapons. But everyone was running outside, screaming about the clowns, and the pictures started going around. We got into groups and started clown hunting.”