Killer clowns are back and could be terrorising people in Australia this Halloween
Two years ago, in 2016, a strange and disturbing trend emerged. "Killer clowns", as they were known, began appearing in public spaces: on streets, near schools, in forests - first of all just in the USA, but later in Europe, South America, and Australia/New Zealand.
At the time, many people brushed the incidents off as mere nuisances, but there were actually a few violent altercations at the time. Several clowns - many of them teenagers - in multiple countries were arrested because of attacks and/or threats of violence against others, and dozens were reported to have been carrying weapons such as bats and axes in the middle of the day.
Eventually, the weird fad slipped away about as subtly as it arrived... but not for long.
Now, the face-painted freaks are back, and they're threatening to terrorise the streets of Australia during Halloween next week.
On Facebook, a group called "Clown Purge Sydney" recently posted a rather menacing status asking "Who's going trick or treating?"
It is believed that the group may be planning to dress as clowns much like those that were seen in 2016 in order to spook people while they're out celebrating Halloween - but no clear plans have been set out on the Facebook page. An earlier post saw them discussing potential locations for their antics, but, again, it doesn't appear as if anything was confirmed (at least, not on the public forum).
Some people obviously took the group as a joke, and posted funny comments on the status - but others weren't so happy about the message.
"I don't even know why you clowns are doing this, what are you trying to do, scare us?" wrote one person. "Well, it's stupid. Get a job."
Hopefully, if anything does actually happen, it won't be anywhere near as bad as the episodes that happened in the past.
Four out of every five US states had at least one report of clown activity in 2016, and Great Britain also saw some particularly worrying incidents.
In the UK, a 17-year-old was jailed after terrorising a pregnant woman. The teenager had chased the woman and her partner down the road while brandishing a foot-long axe. Luckily, he was caught and charged with brandishing a lethal weapon.
In another instance, a 13-year-old boy was arrested for scaring people in the street. One witness, a 17-year-old girl, spoke of her terror when she said that, "As I saw the full clown costume, I noticed the mask and I just turned round and ran back up to the top of the street and every time I was looking over my shoulder it was still chasing me." The boy was in possession of a knife at the time, and was given a warning about his behaviour but eventually released.
If the clowns do make a resurgence, make sure to be vigilant. Some of the people in costume are just being pranksters, but others could pose a serious danger to you, and so it's important to make police aware if you think somebody could be in trouble.