Well, here's a story that will probably chill you to your core, regardless of whether you're one of all those clown-phobic people out there. Hey, clowns can be creepy, no way around it, and in the past, it's seemed like some people have really enjoyed leaning into that unsettling vibe. But now, something's reportedly going on that sounds a great deal more serious: Are clowns trying to lure kids in a South Carolina town?
To be clear, it's unclear if this is a matter of a single clown or multiple clowns. According to Kristy Steward and Justin Hinton of ABC affiliate WLOS, there's been an account that suggests there's more than one clown. Here's the basic story: Multiple children living in the Fleetwood Manor Apartments in Greenville, South Carolina have reported seeing a clown in the woods behind the complex's basketball court, and at least one report suggested it was trying to lure children over by displaying "large amounts of money."
Here's how Greenville resident Kyria Klugh explained what's been going on to WLOS. Needless to say, the situation sounds strange, chilling, and harrowing in the extreme:
Two little boys were in the woods. They came back and were like, 'It's a clown. It's a clown.' So, everybody was like, 'No, it's not. No, it's not.' Nobody not believing them. They went and got other kids and they come out. Then they come back crying, so we was like, 'It must be something in the woods.'
This isn't the first time that there's been a story of creepy nighttime clowns unsettling or terrorizing a community, to be clear. there have been past examples in New York and California, though those were both ultimately shown to be elaborate (and very effective) pranks. The Staten Island clown, in fact, was a stunt put on by a horror film production company.
The reports out of Greenville, however, sound a great deal more serious. It's one thing to stand on the street in the middle of the night dressed like a creepy clown to startle adults ― though honestly, who does such a horrible thing!? But when you start behaving creepily or suspiciously toward children, the fun is over. To be very clear, at this point, there's no information about the clown's (or clowns') identity or motives. Just multiple reports of clowns wanting children to follow them into the woods.
Also, as CBS News detailed on Monday, another adult in the complex reported seeing a clown standing under a light next to a garbage dumpster, stating that while it waved at her and she waved back, there was no approach. According to CBS, this is the only sighting that actually resulted in an incident report.
And lest you think this might be some sort of elaborate hoax on the part of the children of the Fleetwood Manor Apartments, at least one of the parents involved has also corroborated the claims. According to Hinton and Steward's report, a woman went out to investigate after her son said he'd seen more than one clown "whispering and making strange noises" in the woods. When she did, she also reportedly saw multiple clowns, with green lasers they were shining out from beyond the trees. According to the woman, they fled into the forest when they saw her.
Frankly, at this point, there's no use speculating about what on Earth is going on here, beyond the fact that it's frightening, bewildering, and potentially very serious. Suffice to say, if you're living in or around Greenville and you spot a suspicious clown rustling through the trees, you're going to want to call the authorities.