Coulrophobia | Some of the Strangest Phobias a Person Can Have


It’s not surprising that this particular phobia should be on the list. Coulrophobia, or fear of clowns, is understandable, although at first sight it would seem inconceivable. Clowns are traditionally entertainers, specifically children’s entertainers, and the symbols of hilarity and buffoonery, yet lately they have been associated with other less palatable things. Television and the movies are to blame with a series of horror movies depicting the evil, sinister and murderous clown to real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who worked as a clown in children’s hospitals and parties even as he committed his crimes. It’s no wonder then that coulrophobia stands in a clinical gray area, the term itself of dubious etymology simply popularized by the Internet, and not really a diagnosis of any condition. Still, it seems there are people with an irrational fear of clowns, and a recent study in England concluded, “…clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found the clown images to be quite frightening and unknowable." The DSM will have the last word on this one.

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