I have an irrational fear of clowns. This fear stemmed from watching the movie It when I was too young to be watching it. There was a commercial on television, pimping the teaser for the movie. Mom and Dad said that I couldn’t watch it…but all I needed to know was that there was a clown in it, so I stayed up late and watched it in my room.
It doesn’t matter that my adult head knows the difference between fiction and reality–the fear is too deeply ingrained to change its course. How annoying.
Apparently though, it isn’t an odd thing to be afraid of clowns. It’s called “coulrophobia,” and it is the “abnormal, exaggerated, or irrational fear of clowns.” Technically, phobias are classified under the heading of “anxiety” in the world of psychology…so coulrophobia isn’t recognized under its own heading. It never occurred to me that a significant percentage of people with phobias have my same fear of clowns. Who knew that a five-year old’s birthday party entertainment could be such an instigator of fear?