Posted by R. Berg on December 25, 2001

In Reply to: Coulrophobia- Fear of clowns. posted by Bruce Kahl on December 25, 2001

: : : : : I do not like clowns! They give the creeps. I am 45 years old - you think I would have outgrown this by now, but I haven't. The odd thing is that when I went into a room full of people, nearly 40% of them agreed that they didn't like them either. Anybody have any information as to why people tend to dislike clowns?

: : : : They're big and loud and they have painted-on faces so you can't tell their true expressions. For starters, that's pretty creepy. Merry Christmas.

: : : Hatred and fear are different things, of course, but fear of clowns is a recognized phobia. The phobia site linked below (if link is missing, use notes.html) has some interesting things to say (go rather far down the page) about the common aversion to clowns.

: I had no idea that some people fear clowns.

: "....You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns When they all come down and did tricks for you..."
: Bob Dylan--Like a Rolling Stone

Much of what is said on the "Coulrophobia" page (link repeated below, or z001127d.htm) is facetious. I don't find it plausible that, as the author says, most clown phobias originate with a bad childhood experience at a circus. There are two kinds of phobias, learned and symbolic. And people can fear the same thing for different reasons. Perhaps clowns frighten some because the painted smile and silly mannerisms suggest the inauthenticity and denial in an attitude of forced cheer as an escape from painful reality, a stance I remember as popular in the 1950s.