'Creepy clowns' appear in Dublin following recent US trend
The recent US trend of people dressing as clowns and terrifying passers-by appears to have hit Dublin.
A number of clowns have been spotted across the city centre and Darndale this week.
Irish people have been taking to Twitter and Facebook to share their photos and one girl even declared on Facebook that she’s not “leaving the house forever now”.
At first, people thought it was a hoax after a picture of a clown dressed in a baggy white suit and holding a bunch of red balloons in Darndale was shared online, but since then there has been a few more sightings.
A garda spokesperson said they have received no reports of clowns terrifying people in the capital, but advised that it may have something to do with Halloween being around the corner.
In 2013 a clown, carrying a clown teddy, was reported to be 'terrifying residents' in Northampton, England.
The clown, who remains anonymous, gained worldwide attention and saw copy-cat clowns take to the streets around the world.
The Northampton clown later took to social media to say no harm was intended and it 'just a bit of fun'.
That same year a Carrickfergus clown turned himself in to the PSNI after detectives received reports that he was frightening local children.
The PSNI said later that they had spoken to the man and were satisfied that he had no sinister intentions and it was just a prank.
However the clown craze saw a resurgence this summer when police in South Carolina responded to reports of 'creepy' clowns trying to lure children into woods. Since then, there have been numerous other reports and warnings from police in other US states.
Meanwhile, footage has also emerged of a mob of Penn State University students apparently on the hunt for three clowns spotted in the area.
There is now even a #IfISeeAClown hashtag trending in the US.
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".
Of all places in Dublin..why did there have to be clowns spotted in temple bar why— stacēy (@ImYecats) October 5, 2016
My dad is delighted about this clown in Darndale bc he swore blind that a clown waved at him one night last week and no one believed him— don't crowd me (@OrlaghWoods) October 4, 2016