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Clown sightings are not a laughing matter

It’s not funny.

Folks should just quit clowning around.

Those of us who break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of a red nose and fuzzy hair are not the least bit amused at the latest trend popping up across the nation.

You may see a clown face and think “Ha! Ha! He’s so jolly and sweet.” You are so fooled.

I look at that menacing white-pasted face of pure evil and wonder what child he just ate.

Clowns are the devil’s minions and no good can come from their recent “fun” encounters with people.

But hey, it’s OK. They’re just out there on the West Coast where LA folks are used to seeing the strange and unusual on their city streets. Then there were reports over in North Carolina, but that didn’t bother me either. It’s not like I’ll be heading out east anytime soon.

Still, there have been enough of these macabre sightings to give me pause and thoughts of “what if” as I created in my mind the escape scenarios I’d need.

Clowns have big floppy shoes, right? Even I could outrun a chainsaw-wielding, polka-dotted devil.

Much like those trusty hurricane plans I know by heart from growing up near Pascagoula — buy potted meat, bread and water, stock up on batteries, run for your life — I made a mental checklist in case there’s ever a clown apocalypse.  I never thought I’d need it. After all, those crazy clowns were always spotted in other places.

Then came the local reports. Long Beach. Gulfport. Meridian.

And now in Lucedale, just a hop and a skip from my hometown of Hurley, the police have reported two separate incidents.

Nobody’s been injured, but two residents have reported separate terrifying encounters with clowns, reporter Anita Lee said in a news story. In both cases, she said, the clowns approached the residents, then ran off into the woods.

I worked beside Anita at the Sun Herald in Biloxi. If Anita is reporting on clowns, I’m not laughing.

Anita’s pen does not lie.

The clowns are out there and I am scared.

“If one person is scared, that’s certainly a concern for our police department,” a captain with the Lucedale Police Department said.

Yes, one person is scared.

I’m scared enough for all of you.

I don’t even care if the reports are true at this point. I’m imagining the worse case scenarios of what I’d do if I was confronted by a clown.

Cry like a baby is one.

Dropping dead is another possibility.

I honestly don’t know if my ol’ ticker could handle a Bozo-wannabe running up to me on East Monticello.

Two telephone calls about clown sightings in Oxford have been declared hoaxes, according to a report the Clarion-Ledger published this week.

In Georgia, the Associated Press reported Sept. 15 on the arrests of two people who allegedly called 911 with false reports of clowns in a white van out to abduct school children.

So, in that case, the van had run out of gas and no floppy shoes were in sight. The 911 callers later admitted they fibbed about the clowns.

Really people? Don’t you have anything better to do, like prank call your neighbors and ask if their refrigerator is running?

Gulfport Police Sgt. Damon McDaniel said they have had no reports of clowns wandering around neighborhoods, but police have taken four or five calls from residents who want to know if any clowns have been spotted.

When Anita talked to him for her story, he said he thinks people are on edge because of the Lucedale sightings.

Really? On edge?

I’ve seen “Poltergeist” when the clown doll came to life and pulled the little boy under the bed. I still have nightmares about it (although the TV sucking his sister into the screen never stopped me from binge-watching my favorite shows, but I digress.)

If “Poltergeist” started my coulrophobia, then Stephen King sealed the deal with “It,” the ultimate horror novel about clowns that he published in 1986. Then it became a movie that added to my terror.

“It” is being remade for release in 2017. Yay me.

And Halloween is just around the corner. I have a feeling creepy clowns will be as popular as Hillary and Donald masks. And as scary.

Donna Campbell is managing editor of The Daily Leader. She can be reached at donna.campbell@dailyleader.com.