Daily 49er

CSULB’s not clownin’ around

Some people risk taking a Halloween prank too far.

Illustration by Miranda Andrade-Ceja.

Illustration by Miranda Andrade-Ceja.

Illustration by Miranda Andrade-Ceja.

Chrystina Schwartz, Staff Writer

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For the past few months, creepy clowns have been appearing all over the country — now, the sinister trend has spread to Southern California, according to multiple local media outlets.

In the past couple of weeks there have been multiple reports of clown sightings in the Southern California area, leaving many students with mixed feelings about their presence.

These encounters with clowns have resulted in people being frightened and even chased, according to NBC and CBS Los Angeles.

On Oct. 5, NBC4 News reported that two female students at Cal State Northridge were chased by a clown while outside of their dorms on campus.

At Cal State Long Beach, talk of a clown sighting near Hillside dorms Oct.6 on the unofficial CSULB Class of 2020 Facebook page, claiming that people had seen a clown wandering around.

However, Lieutenant Richard Goodwin of the CSULB University Police Department said they have not received any official reports of clowns being sighted on campus.

The sightings lack any kind of explanation, leaving students to theorize the rationale behind what may be considered a “prank” by the perpetrators.

Graduate student Joe Eurell said he thinks it’s a marketing scheme.

“While I loathe and despise clowns, I recognize that this is probably a marketing or filming strategy for a mediocre horror movie,” he said.

Samuel Foxton, a business marketing major and international student from the United Kingdom, said he thinks the trend is reaching communities on a global scale.

“Although I have not read up on the phenomenon too much — as I thought it was hoax viral news — it seems the issue is spreading worldwide, and people are getting scared,” he said.

But CSULB UPD has a message for those who decide to dress up as clowns on campus for the sole purpose to scare people.

“Don’t be surprised if you get approached by a police officer,” Detective Christopher Brown said. “If the student population feels it’s appropriate to dress up like clowns and terrorize people, for a lack of a better word, be prepared if someone does call the police department — we will go out and we will investigate.”

Videos depicting people’s encounters with random clowns have blown up on social media sites such as Twitter and Youtube. Searching “clown sightings” on Twitter brings up a plethora of results, some videos even showing people retaliating with violence toward the clowns.

Although the authenticity of some of these videos is questionable, it seems clear that many people are getting a kick out of scaring people whilst dressed up as clowns.

Jeremiah Williams, a senior sociology major, said he isn’t too worried about the clowns.

“For the children, it must be terrible, masked men running around in public is a recipe for disaster,” he said. He thinks with all the sightings, it’ll only be a matter of time before he eventually runs into one.

“If [a person] is just minding [his or her] own business and not messing with me or anyone else, then I have no desire in sparking up a fight,” he said. “But if some way they present harm to me or anyone else, then I would handle the situation.”

Some students have a more confrontational approach.

“I’d run them down at the legs and park my electric wheelchair on their chest cavity, but only if they unduly approach me,” Eurell said.

Many in the CSULB community have expressed fear of these clowns, according to social media sites. Being masked and lurking around late at night scaring people can be extremely risky, since there is a chance of violent retaliation from those being pranked.

On Oct. 5 in San Diego, three teenagers dressed as clowns were detained by police for chasing after a man while he was in his car. The man recorded the encounter and sent it to CBS News 8.

The teenagers in question were let off with a warning.

“Be cautious, because if you dress like a clown you might deserve what’s coming to you, [with exception to] great bodily injury because no one deserves that. But don’t get mad when someone chases you out of a parking lot when you’re dressed like a clown,” Brown said. “Anytime you dress up as something inflammatory – good, bad or indifferent – you run the risk of getting some attention you don’t want.”

Although it isn’t confirmed, many people on social media speculate that the first clown sighting were in Greenville, South Carolina on Aug. 21. Residents of an apartment complex reported to local authorities that they had seen clowns in a nearby forest, trying to lure children into the woods.

Ever since the story was reported by the New York Times, there has been surge in “copycats” all over the country.  

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