Books

Stephen King says people shouldn’t be afraid of clowns. Right.

Stephen King
Stephen King wrote a scary clown book. But now he says people shouldn’t be afraid of clowns.
(Francois Mori / Associated Press)

Despite the clown scare sweeping the nation, Stephen King wants you to chill about clowns.

Sure, his novel “It” probably contributed to your lifelong fear of clowns. But now the author would very much like you to take a deep breath and calm down.

On Twitter, King responded to a rash of recent news stories about people dressed as clowns scaring and threatening people across the country.

“Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria  — most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh,” King tweeted.

King’s 1986 novel, “It,” featured a monster who appears in human form as a murderous clown named Pennywise who terrorized a group of young children. Tim Curry memorably played the clown in a 1990 TV miniseries adaptation.

The irony of Pennywise’s creator urging the nation to chill out about clowns was not lost on Twitter users, who were quick to point the finger at King.

You kinda started it,” tweeted a man named Mitch Peiffer. And a Twitter user named Heather responded, “Interesting. Do go on,” with a GIF featuring Curry as Pennywise.

The recent clown-related scare appears to have started in Greenville County, S.C., in August. Residents of an apartment complex there reported seeing people dressed up as scary clowns, and children claimed that the clowns had tried to lure them into a forest.

Since then, sightings of clowns have been reported in Alabama, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and several other states. Several people, many of them teenagers, have been arrested across the country for clown-related threats, both online and in person.

The hysteria has gotten so great that a Bloomberg reporter brought it up at a White House news conference. (Press Secretary Josh Earnest answered, “I don’t know that the president has been briefed on this particular situation. Obviously, this is a situation that law enforcement is taking quite seriously.”)

Stephen King might want you to relax when it comes to this latest clown craze, but he’s probably hoping they’ll frighten you next year, when a movie adaptation of “It” is scheduled for release.

The film, which stars Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, seems likely to give a whole new generation clown-related nightmares for the rest of their lives.

ALSO:

South Carolina children say clowns are trying to lure them into the woods

Sick-and-twisted ‘Clown’ movie delivers the goods

British book dealer slain for his first edition of ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ prosecutors say