The Northampton Clown that has been disturbing and bemusing residents of Northampton by standing motionless in the street, has denied intending to scare anyone.
The now world-famous 'Northampton Clown' told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo that his appearances around the town were "a bit of harmless fun".
The clown, who remains anonymous, has drawn worldwide attention and has attracted more than 124,000 "likes" on Facebook, despite facing accusations that his 'act' leaves onlookers feeling frightened and intimidated.
He told the newspaper that he "just wanted to amuse people."
"Most people enjoy being a bit freaked out and then they can laugh about it afterwards," he said.
"It's like watching a horror movie. When people get scared, they usually start laughing."
The clown, who bears a striking resemblance to the demonic character 'Pennywise', played by British actor Tim Curry in the 1990 horror film Stephen King’s It, first appeared on the streets of Northampton on Friday the 13th. He then made further appearances over the following weekend.
According to one report he also knocked on the door of a Northampton woman's house and offered to paint her window sills - despite appearing to have no painting utensils or paint.
He also has a Facebook page on which he writes comments under pictures of himself and repeatedly uses his catchphrase 'beep, beep'.
After some social networking users took against his appearances and others threatened violence and falsely claimed the clown was carrying a knife, he wrote on his Facebook page: "Too much hate, not enough love. No, I don't have a knife on me. That’s just stupid rumours spread by stupid people.
"I'm also “not” on Twitter as it confuses the heck out of me. However, I might go for a jog around that pond in Abington Park later as I'm really unfit. See you around. Beep, beep!"
Such is the clown's notoriety that according to the Daily Mirror he has even prompted a rival individual to don a blue superhero suit and become a 'clown catcher' in a bid to hunt him down.
According to the Northampton Chronicle, during the interview with the clown he repeatedly made references to the 1990s horror movie 'IT', said he was "absolutely amazed" by the reaction to his appearance and said it was proving to be “more difficult to keep his identity a secret”.
Coulrophobia: The fear of clowns
An irrational fear of clowns has come to be known as as coulrophobia. The prefix "coulro" comes from the ancient Greek word for "one who walks on stilts."
Symptoms include feelings of dread, increased heartbeat, sweating, nausea and anger.
A University of Sheffield study from 2008 found that out of 250 children aged four to 16 images of a clown were widely disliked. The researchers said clowns were "universally disliked by children" and that "some found them quite frightening and unknowable."
Perhaps the most famous killer clown was the child murdering monster Pennywise from the 1990 television movie IT. However the killer clown has been a regular feature of several horror films including Clownhouse, Mr Jingles and 2004's In Fear of Clowns.
The genre also includes the 1988 classic 'Killer Klowns from Outer Space', which had the tagline: "In Space No One Can Eat Ice Cream".
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