Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What is Coulrophobia?

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to find out about peoples irrational fear of clowns.

Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns, is quite common. An Internet search showed 16,000 hits. There are websites which are dedicated to this subject, where coulrophobes get to share their views. Clowns are common, especially Halloween events, like Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, that feature killer clowns as their icon for many years. So clearly, this fear is very real.

However, little scientific research has been done on this subject, so it is hard to say exactly how many people actually suffer from this fear. But, no January 2008 a report done by the BBC News stated that a clown phobia could be more ingrained than was previously thought.

Why as a society, we are afraid of clowns? In a 2004 an article by Trinity University, Joseph Durwin stated there were two accepted schools of thought. One being the fear is due to a bad personal experience with clowns at a young age. The second, is mass media has fabricated so much hype about evil clowns, that even children who are not normally exposed to clowns are brainwashed into disliking and even fearing them. But, neither of these thoughts are really satisfactory.

The History of Clowns
Durwin has provided an impressive history on clowns, stretching as far back as to the jester of ancient times. Back then, clowns were given permission, and even expected, to show the more deviant side of human nature, from defying the sexual norms, to mocking the gods at the time. As time passed, jesters changed into tricksters, who were said to a more sinister figure, that had less than honourable intentions.

The modern day circus clown is a different version of a tramp from the Depression era. Tramp clowns were members of the underbelly of unsavoury classes, that entertained more privileged people with a caricatured look at on daily life. Although tramp clowns were thought to be quite harmless, a seedy underbelly did exist in the clown circuit.

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