This image released by Warner Bros. (Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)
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David Carlyon, author, playwright and a former clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1970s, argues that the fear of clowns – known officially as coulrophobia – is a relatively new phenomenon, born from the counterculture 1960s and emerging as a popular force in the 1980s.Carlyon said that clowns were considered sweet and funny for two centuries until an inevitable backlash that included Stephen King's hit novel "It," the film "Poltergeist," Heath Ledger's white-faced maniac the Joker, the misanthrope Krusty the Clown from "The Simpsons," the shock band Insane Clown Posse and Homey D. Clown from "In Living Color".Not so fast, argues Benjamin Radford, an author and editor at Skeptical Inquirer magazine who literally wrote the book on the subject, 2016's "Bad Clowns".Not to throw a pie in anyone's face, but he argues that evil clowns have always been among us.Radford traces bad clowns all the way to ancient Greece and connects them to court jesters and the Harlequin figure.
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