It even has a
scientific name: Coulrophobia
Coulrophobia: The fear of Clowns
What is coulrophobia?
Since it is not an old phobia, but one that increased in recent decades,
little is known about coulrophobia.
Scientists and doctors now agree that it is a result of not knowing who lies
behind the excessive makeup, red nose and hair color.
The clown wears a colorful makeup to deconstruct the facial features to
create a new identity.
And clowns can also break social norms, their mask makes them able to do
things that others can’t do socially, like interacting with unknown people at
Some researchers believe that coulrophobia cases increased after the 90’s, when Steven Spielberg
classic horror film “IT” depicting a murderous clown was released and the portrayal of Joker as an evil character
in Batman movies did not help the matter either.
The phobia can cause a state of panic, difficulty in breathing,
irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea and feelings of fear.
The coulrphobia may seem absurd for some, however, many people suffer so
much, that it prevents them to eat a hamburger in a famous fast food chain. It
is not a trivial matter either and coulrophobia shouldn’t be treated
Some hospitals use clowns as mural decorations which may make some
coulrophobic children feel unease during their stay at the hospital.
Although the fear of clowns develops most of the time during childhood, it
is prevalent among adult population too, even if a big number of adults would
It is said that the phobia develops in early years, when children are very sensible to an unfamiliar face in a
There isn’t any official data about how many people suffer from coulrophobia, although it is believed that it is
much more prevalent in western society (where exposure to clowns is more prevalent since a younger age). Some
estimate that around 12% of adults in the US suffer from it.
At the end of the day, any phobia is an irrational fear and clowns exist to entertain us. To help better
understand what provoked this phobia and how it is manifested, write in the comments below.