Science Gives Us the Real Reason We’re Always So Creeped Out by Clowns

Evil Spooky Clown Portrait

Evil Spooky Clown Portrait | iStock.com/tobkatrina

Despite the fact that clowns seem to be popular characters to adorn children’s bedroom walls, cakes, balloons, and toys, it seems to be almost unanimous that, once those children grow up to be adults, they seem to be creeped out by clowns.

Why is is that something created almost solely for the amusement of children and adults can elicit the opposite response? What is it about clowns that gives us the willies?

Well, there’s actually a guy who’s devoting his life to the study of just that question. His name is Rami Nader, and he studies coulrophobia, the irrational fear of clowns.

There are many reasons why we COULD be scared of clowns, ranging from jack-in-the-boxes to the creation of “evil clowns” in films such as It, but according to his studies, our fear (and even hatred) doesn’t come from exposure to clowns in media, but rather the way our brains are wired.

You see, we’re SUPPOSED to dislike clowns, according to Nader. In a survey of people asking what the creepiest profession is, guess which one won by a landslide?

Yup. Clowns.

Keep reading to find out why.

close up of a sad , upset , crying clown

close up of a sad , upset , crying clown | iStock.com/gregglmt

Nader believes that our aversion to clowns stems from the fact that they wear makeup and disguises, hiding their true identity as well as their feelings and expressions.

In short, with all that makeup, those bright colors, and the gaudy costume, we can’t figure out what’s really going on in the mind of a clown, which makes us both distrustful and scared. We also know that people (which clowns are under that facade) can’t be happy all the time, so we feel that they’re hiding their real intentions, leading us to be distrustful.

Piling on to that type of distrust is that clowns are always trying to catch us off-guard. They spray us with water bottles, sneak around behind us, and throw pies in people’s faces. Further, some of our first experiences with clowns involve jack-in-the-boxes, in which a¬†spring-loaded¬†clown pops out of a box suddenly to scare us. Not the best introduction, now is it? In fact, pretty much ALL they do is mess with people (and occasionally make balloon animals, which is cool). If you knew a person like that, would you be eager to hang out with them? It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?

In fact, pretty much ALL they do is mess with people (and occasionally make balloon animals, which is cool). If you knew a person like that, would you be eager to hang out with them? It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?