Why are people afraid of clowns?

Kei Quinal

Reading — Intermediate Level
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Many people find clowns to be creepy, if not downright terrifying, but it’s not just the painted faces with giant lips that give people goosebumps. They’re a common fear along with death, needles, and public speaking. What most people don’t know is that a fear of clowns is actually a real phobia with potentially detrimental mental and physical symptoms.

Coulrophobia is the official title for a phobia of clowns. A phobia is also known as an intense fear that impacts behavior and in some cases, daily life. For those with a fear of clowns, certain events that may be considered fun for many such as circuses and carnivals, may trigger anxiety. Some popular symptoms may be an increased heartbeat, nausea, shaking, sweating, and difficulty breathing.

Real-life events play a large part in the tangible fear, even beyond the widespread hysteria about killer clowns in the summer of 2016. Part of the inspiration for Pennywise was serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was given the moniker “Killer Clown” for his use of a clown costume in his murders.
  1. A fear of clowns is not life threatening.

  2. Which of the following statements is incorrect?

  3. A person has Coulrophobia if he/she  

  4. Phobias are imaginary fears that are not caused by real-life events.

  5. Coulrophobia became more widespread because of a serial killer named  


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Do you have a phobia? If yes, what is it?

  2. What caused you to have that phobia?

  3. How do you handle that fear?

  4. In your culture, what phobia do most people have?

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