(COVINGTON, La.) — The scary clown epidemic that has been spreading across the U.S. has hit Louisiana. The incidents started in Greenville County, S.C., where people dressed in scary clown costumes have reportedly been attempting to lure children into the woods with candy and money.
The clowns have since stepped up their game by starting to come out of the woods and lurk around cities late in the night with chains and other miscellaneous weapons.
Creepy clowns have also started to appear in different states. According to Fox News, “creepy clown sightings” have been reported in 47 states via social media. It is unclear whether there is any type of organized effort or if all are isolated incidents.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, an Instagram account was made in the city of Philadelphia called “Clown Of Philly” that threatened St. John Neumann High School and Maria Goretti Catholic High School, posting media captioned: “Coming to Neumann Goretti on Monday!! Gonna shoot all the kids and teachers.”
The Philadelphia Police Department did not take this threat lightly and called the Office of Homeland Security, making a counter-statement.
“The Philadelphia Police Department is actively investigating these social media posts, and pursuing those responsible for them,” Lieutenant John Stanford of the Philadelphia Police Dept. said in a statement. “The SPD Office of School Safety will continue working in concert with the PPD to ensure the safety of our children and our schools.”
These instances are not only happening in Philadelphia, but also in the local areas of Covington and Mandeville, La., where there have been sightings of “creepy clowns” by some St. Paul’s students including junior Zac Russ, who reported seeing a clown on the Mandeville Trailhead.
According to NOLA.com, two teens were arrested in Mandeville in mid-October for wearing a clown mask. The two suspects were riding in a car, and the passenger would reportedly get out to scare passersby while wearing the mask.
As the incidents become more common, a new trend of people standing up against the “creepy clowns” has arisen. In most cases, men are seen getting out of their car after a clown stops them to confront them. One video that has gained significant traction on social media shows a clown stopping a car, prompting the driver and back left passenger to exit the vehicle, wielding bats, and proceeding to attack the clown. Also, mobs consisting of hundreds of student have broken out on college campuses like that of Penn State University.
Locally, multiple counties is the state of Mississippi have banned all use of clown masks, and all Target stores have stopped putting clown masks on their shelves for Halloween.
According to several police departments, if you see a clown, the safest thing to do is to not approach or try to attack it. Rather, call your local police station and report the sighting.