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A clown has been spotted around Waukesha, Wisconsin, recently – and it's creeping some people out.
The clown, seen around the city and near Carroll University wearing a bright orange jumpsuit, even prompted some calls to police from concerned neighbors, WISN 12 says.
Becca Roraff, whose boyfriend snapped a picture of the clown, told the news station, "When I first saw it, I was kind of creeped out because it was just a random person on the street with a scary mask. I don't like clowns."
Waukesha police told WISN 12 they're aware of the situation, noting it is a teenager that is "developmentally delayed and is just doing this to see people's reaction." Police noted they have told the teen and his parents that it would be helpful if wouldn't "stand out there doing that."
Clowns lurking around neighborhoods have been reported around the country in recent years.
Last year, a video of creepy clowns surprising people in California went viral, ABC News said. Back in June, a clown was spotted walking around a cemetery in the Chicago area late at night, CBS Chicago reported. There was also a balloon-holding clown reported in New York, Staten Island Live noted.
Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)
Clowns are supposed to be fun and joyful characters, but some people have an irrational fear – called coulrophobia – of the jokesters, NBC News said. Although the full-blown fear of clowns is quite rare, Business Insider notes, it's not uncommon for people of all ages to be creeped out by them.
Several publications and at least one study, which found clowns are too scary for hospitals, have discussed the fear.
A 2013 piece by Smithsonian Magazine titled "The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary" says the jesters may have always been scary – they've long been tied with a dark history that includes murder, financial ruin, infidelity and pedophilia.
In 2015, The Telegraph wrote an article about why clowns are so scary, noting the clowns mask is used to hide its true emotions, among other things.