Glasgow & West Scotland

Hoaxer owns up to Glasgow 'Creepy' clown picture

Clown hoax screengrab Image copyright Facebook
Image caption A Facebook hoax suggested that clowns had been spotted in Glasgow

After a wave of "creepy" clowns sightings in the United States over the summer, a hoaxer has admitted a similar "sighting" in Glasgow was faked.

A Facebook page called "Killer Clowns in and around Glasgow" said a clown had been spotted underneath a bridge.

The post was shared more than 1,000 times before the poster admitted the picture had been taken elsewhere.

The poster said people who believed the post was genuine were "daftys".

The post which attracted most attention on social media on Wednesday claimed to show a clown lurking under "the M9 cut off bridge at Riddrie and Alexander Parade".

The post was thought be a reference to the M8/M80 junction in the east end of Glasgow as the M9 does not pass through the city.

Several hours later, the poster admitted he had lifted the pictures from the internet and that it was a hoax.

Image copyright Facebook

On Friday police in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, arrested a 13-year-old boy for wearing a clown costume and trying to scare passers-by.

He had been carrying a knife as part of his fancy dress but was let off with a warning.

The incident follows a string of similar sightings and reports, mostly coming out of the US. Some included claims that clowns were trying to lure children into the woods.

Clown mythology

Folklorist Benjamin Radford, a writer who began covering the rise of clown sightings in 2013, told the BBC that the clown reports can almost always be filed into one of two categories: stalker clowns or phantom clowns.

Stalker clowns are real sightings of people dressed up as clowns for a lark.

"They're not a genuine menace, they're just basically sort of doing a combination of prank and performance art," Radford said.

He traced the phenomenon back to 2013, when a young filmmaker from Northampton started dressing up as a clown and posting photos on Facebook as a viral social media experiment.

Image copyright iStock

Copycat incidents spread across Britain, Ireland, France and the US. In 2014, French police arrested 14 teenagers who terrorised local residents by dressing as clowns and carrying weapons.

According to Radford, the other type of clown sighting that has been making the news recently is the "phantom clown." Unlike "stalker clowns," which are real people dressed as clowns, "phantom clowns" are pure myth.

Sometimes people make up the sightings altogether, or they spread the rumour that a "friend of a friend" was almost abducted by a clown.

"They're almost entirely reported by children," Radford said. "Many of them turn out to be hoaxes, but other ones were sort of legends, or schoolyard rumour."

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