A fear of clowns is known as coulrophobia, which unlike other phobias is completely justified, because clowns are evil. From Stephen King's It to the Joker to Robin Williams in Patch Adams, they have haunted pop culture for decades.
But did you know there are clowns in real life who are just as scary? Here, are five:
Not even former drug kingpins are safe from clowns. Earlier this month, Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, a leader of the once powerful Tijuana Cartel, was shot dead at a party in Cabo San Lucas by three gunmen dressed in clown outfits, complete with wigs and red noses. The killing was later condemned at the International Clown Meeting in Mexico City, a gathering of 500 clowns from across Latin America.
"The people who do that, they're not clowns. I can swear on my mother's grave it wasn't a clown," Tomas Morales, identified as a "clown leader," told The Telegraph. "We are not like that... We are non-violent."
The "Northampton Clown" became famous in September after he was spotted standing around Northampton, U.K., silently grinning and looking scary, as clowns are wont to do. Fascinated people around the world started following his exploits on Twitter using the hashtag #northamptonclown.
— Daniel Owens (@DanielOwens1979) September 15, 2013
He was eventually identified as 22-year-old university student Alex Powell, who claimed to his hometown paper that he did it "to amuse people."
The Taco Bell jester
On Monday, police in Battle Ground, Wash., found an unconscious man suffering from head injuries lying in front of a Taco Bell. The culprit? According to the man's girlfriend, someone dressed as a clown stepped out of a blue pick-up truck and punched the victim after the two got in a verbal fight in the drive-thru line. The suspect, Lance Cormican, 24, was later arrested and charged with second-degree assault. A clown costume was found at his uncle's house.
The clown who fought a cop
This altercation was captured last year outside of Milwaukee's City Hall by witness Mitch Cooper. Police had reportedly received complaints about a clown who was attacking cars with a squirt gun. When a police officer responded, the clown allegedly resisted arrest.
"It was funny to witness, probably not so fun for the clown," Cooper told reporters. "But as a spectator, it was pretty entertaining."
Batman would probably have an easy time apprehending Dennis Lalime, 64, of Pittsfield, Me., who was charged with drunk driving earlier this month after crashing his car into multiple trees and rocks before finally coming to a stop. Driving while intoxicated is bad enough. Doing it while dressed as Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Night? Not cool.
IMAGE CREDIT: (AP Photo/ Somerset County Sheriff’s Department)