Real clowns all sad-faced over creepy hoax craze

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, October 11, 2016

By Bob Shaw

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Pickles is peeved.

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Pickles, aka Beth Cedarholm of River Falls, Wis., makes her living as a professional clown, bringing laughter to birthday parties and corporate events.

But the creepy-clown phenomenon has hit her like a pie in the face. When the online onslaught of scary clown stories hit Minnesota recently, the only actual victims were professional clowns like Cedarholm.

“We are taking a beating from this,” she said. “There are some very sad clowns out here.”

The barrage of chainsaw-wielding, knife-carrying, blood-covered clowns is a bogus craze — but it has real-life consequences for her. It has frightened the public and is scaring away her customers.

“I hope people realize,” sighed Cedarholm, “there are good clowns out there.”

Schools and police departments have been besieged by clown complaints, but rarely uncover a clown actually harming anyone.

Except professional clowns.

Cedarholm has seen scary clowns creep into the public imagination for years. She points a finger at Stephen King, author of the 1986 novel “It,” in which Pennywise the Clown kills children. Other books and movies have heaped on the horror, at the expense of the real-life clowns.

But this year is different, said Cedarholm. The internet opened the door to hundreds of reports of menacing clowns. Sightings have been reported on Twitter in more than 12 states. Real-life clowns are pushing back, with such demonstrations as a “Clown Lives Matter” protest march set for Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 15.

“We are taking a beating from this. There are some very sad clowns out here.”

The scary-clown fad has real-life clowns scratching their wig-covered heads.

“A professional clown would never want to scare a child,” Cedarholm said.

“It cracks me up when these thugs and impostors think that putting greasepaint on their faces makes them clowns. If I put on a hat and carry a hose, it wouldn’t make me a firefighter.”

Clowns feel blindsided.

“How will we be able to make a living?” said Tricia Manuel, founder of Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp in Buffalo.