Cops, parents not amused by sightings of clowns
ONE clown showed up on a roadside in a rain poncho, another waved money at children near woods.
The reported sightings
of silent, menacing clowns in north-eastern South Carolina may be part of a horror movie publicity stunt or an elaborate hoax. But they are no laughing matter for parents and police.
Over the past two weeks, residents have told the authorities they have spotted clowns, or people who looked like clowns, on at least eight occasions.
Investigators have failed to confirm a single sighting.
One theory is that the clowns are connected to the release of the independent horror movie 31, by director Rob Zombie.
A preview of the movie, which features a gang of sadistic clowns, screened
on Thursday evening at
a theatre in Greenville, population 61,000.
Greenville police chief Ken Miller told reporters that investigators do not know if the sightings had any connection with the movie or whether it was something more sinister.
Representatives of the movie could not be reached.
A motorist in Greenville called 911 to say he saw a figure standing at the side of the road wearing a "clown mask" and a rain poncho, said Master Deputy Ryan Flood of the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.
The caller said the clown disappeared into the woods.
Sightings have spread to the neighbouring county of Spartanburg, where a woman reported seeing a person dressed as a clown
in her backyard at night.
Several people reported seeing a man dressed as a clown outside Greenville trying to lure the children into the woods by waving
a wad of cash and a
green laser light.
The restiveness prompted police to warn that South Carolina law prohibits anyone over age 18 from dressing up as a clown.