It is Coming To Get You Is Pennywise beyond folklore?
Could there be a killer clown wandering our streets? Is this shape shifting thing of nightmares real? Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and reminiscence on those disturbingly creepy clown events as It: Chapter Two opens in theaters. For all those Stephen King horror fans or conspiracy theorists, this one’s for you.
Many may remember the disturbing events of 2016 but one in particular stood out, the clown conundrum of 2016. It was a weird time for us all when people started seeing clowns lurking in the woods, just beyond reach, looking, as if they were staring into our very souls. Many of these clowns were harmless and the only guessed intent of them was to creep people out. Although, as the year progressed, more joined in on the action, the root of this disturbing phenomenon is still unknown. It is said that this very “clown attack” could have been caused by the marketing team for the movie to come out shortly after, It. If this attack of clowns is from the movie’s marketing team, it is no less than genius. Clowns lurking in the shadows, causing “mass hysteria” and creeping citizens of many states definitely matches the overall concept of the famed horror movie. People got so freaked out by this in fact, some schools in Ohio were shut down and clown costumes became prohibited to wear. College students even joined in on the fun by becoming “clown hunters”.
Although the 2016 clown attack was very well known for how recent and bizarre it was, this is not the first time something like that has happened. A very similar scare took place in the early 80’s and could have even inspired Steven King. Maybe Pennywise is not a thing in real life but in fact a whole event, several clowns put together to create this terrifying creature. In 1981, an event went down later known as the 1981 Phantom Clown Scare. This event slightly differed from the 2016 event due to the overall creepiness of it. In 1981, grown men went around, dressing as clowns, harassing young children. This was the first time that people started caring about their kids being out on their own, unsupervised. These masked clowns would be in parks, watching children play on the playground, or even at school, lurking in the shadows. This sparked many people’s concern as some of the clowns would lure kids into their vans by offering candy and then taking the young child somewhere to be raped, kidnapped, or even murdered. As psychology states, the world around us has a huge effect and even if King may have not realized it, his book came out in 1986 and this happened in 1981, potentially having a very strong subconscious influence from the phantom clown scare. Both the event in real life and the character in the book, Pennywise, preyed on young children, striking fear in the hearts of many.
Now that we have talked about two real events potentially playing the role in inspiring the book or becoming a marketing ploy for the movie, let us dive a little bit deeper. As any good theories go, this one came from reddit. A reddit user under the name “brownsnake84” had a few words to share on our beloved clown and his creator. This theory states that Steven King is actually a character in the novel, “stuttering Bill” Denbrough. He was born in Maine but had to leave due to his father’s abandonment and his traumatizing experience of watching his friend’s brutal death. Due to age and growing up, King’s memories of Pennywise started to fade. It is said that these faded memories could have been caused by the “shape shifter’s mental effects”. King moved back to Maine when he was 11 and the theory goes, that is when he decided to create the famed Losers Club. As King aged, he went back to Maine with Ben Hanscom who helped him investigate Derry. Now, as he is traveling past Derry often, King can recollect most of the past and memories of Pennywise due to his proximity. As he goes on with his everyday life, King is now preparing for Pennywise’s awakening in 2038. It is said that many of the members from the losers club share similar traits to Steven King, adding more evidence that this could have been based off of his childhood.
Is Pennywise beyond the pages and screen? Or could this all just be a publicity stunt and theory from a crazed fan? Either way buckle up for this weird journey and go watch It: Chapter Two in theaters before it’s too late. Pennywise would want you to.