You don’t know Bigfoot unless you know Loren Coleman. In fact, you can’t study crytids such as the Loch Ness Monster or the Chupacabra without at some point referencing the International Cryptozoology Museum which Loren founded in Portland, Maine, in 2003. Although clowns – even the creepy or phantom ones popping up all over the U.S. – aren’t cryptids, it looks like Coleman is becoming the go-to guy for them too.
What makes Loren Coleman a phantom clown expert? For one thing, he coined the term back in 1982 during a rash of clown sightings around Boston similar to the one we’re experiencing today. Coleman was the director of the Charlestown office of the Massachusetts department of social services. When he couldn’t find any published information on clown hysteria, he contacted people around the country and learned of similar sightings in Kansas City, Omaha, Denver and other cities.
Coleman published his findings on these mysterious, sometimes scary but never substantiated clown sightings in an article in Fate magazine, describing the apparitions as “phantom clowns.” A prolific author, Coleman expanding his research on phantom clowns into an entire chapter in his book, Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation's Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures. As a result, he says he’s in demand again as America’s phantom clown expert.
Everybody [has] jumped on the phantom clown bandwagon.
Coleman summarized his extensive list of past phantom (and real) clown sightings on his blog, listing a large number from the 1981 plague as well as similar sightings from around the world with the latest – before the current epidemic – being in England in 2015. He includes a map of recent U.S. sightings and explains that there’s a difference between phantom clowns and stalking clowns. “Stalking clowns” are criminals who wear clown outfits while they stalk, kidnap and sometimes harm children.
Phantom clowns are usually very specific. There's a clown, often seen in a van, kids being approached and telling adults, and then the clowns never being caught.
Loren also talks about the media’s role in the spread of phantom clown sightings.
Suicide clusters, school shootings, terrorist attacks and phantom clowns are all driven from one incident to another by the media reporting on them.
Finally, he links the current clown sightings to the U.S. presidential election.
Also, there does seem to be a growing awareness that the "coincidence" of these clown sightings in this 2016 election year may, indeed, be synchromystic.
The nation’s phantom clown expert is expanding his speaking engagements to cover the topic and has opened a small clown exhibit at the International Cryptozoology Museum.
Will Bigfoot sightings now increase as the jealous cryptids tries to get Coleman’s attention back on them?