How to Explain Phobia Fear of Clowns?

Have you been wondering why you have a phobia fear of clowns? Read this article to find out why

Here it is, folks. Today is the day that we face our phobia fear of clowns. Let’s talk about it.

phobia fear of clowns

Let’s jump right into the pool of terror and fear explore the topic down to the bottom of it. We will look into this strange fear of clowns, which were initially created to bring happiness, from a different perspective.

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Phobia fear of clown

It makes sense for humans to fear a hungry tiger or a crazy person with guns, but why clowns? Even before the killer clown incident in the UK and US, people have always been afraid of clowns.

Why? A clown has no immediate threats, yet people somehow feels a strange and uncanny sensation of terror looking at them.

Cognitive dissonance

To fully understand why most of us are strangely afraid of clowns so much, it is essential to know what cognitive dissonance first. 

Cognitive dissonance is a state when a person has contradictory or conflicting thoughts. The prime example would be the fear of clowns we just talked about. 

The clown doesn’t have venomous fangs or isn’t a lump of 200kg muscles like a Siberian tiger, thus no threat at all. Or is there?


The phobia fear of clowns, triggers our cognitive dissonance because of the ambiguity. Stephen King, a famous author of horror stories books, describes that fear can be divided into three categories. Terror is among those categories. 

Masked human emotion

Let’s dwell even deeper into the land of fear and explore how it brings about terror with ambiguity. 

It mainly has a lot to do with the mask or the make-up of the clown. The natural facial expression of a human is the part where other humans would perceive your current or emotional state. 

Even wearing a neutral is already scary enough on its own, let alone a creepy smile that potentially indicates a psycho killer. 

Our brains work in a really interesting way. A mole on the face, a pimple, or even something as disgusting as crooked teeth wouldn’t really bother us that much. 

Yet, the brains are able to detect even the slightest uncanny feature that is not naturally part of a human. In doing so, the sensation of fear is ignited.

phobia fear of clowns

All of these factors eventually lead to the ambiguity of the clown itself. 

People who see the clown for the first time wouldn’t know if they are looking at a sane person doing his job or an actual crazy person.

People who detect something uncanny about the make-up, mask of a clown, or the imperfect imitation of a human, would not know if they are looking at a human or a humanoid object. 

These are the typical scenarios that the brains do not see any immediate threats but still perceive the objects (the clown) as a danger. The reason is simply that we do not know if the clown would pose a danger, either. 

Our brains do not know how to respond. Some parts react with fear, while other parts do not recognize such threats. Hence, instead of responding with the typical fear sensation, we feel uneasy and eerie toward the clowns. 

Wrapping up 

There you go, folks. Hopefully, that has answered your question on why we humans inherently have the phobia fear of clowns.

These clowns are not just straight-up creepy, but there is actually a reason why we are afraid of them. Though the reason for the fear itself can be explained, people would still be afraid of clowns. That’s because every different clown you see is a different person, a different individual or perhaps a different humanoid object… 

So, next time you see a clown, either pierce through that curtain of fear to overcome the ambiguity or simply…run

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