Winner of the Bronze Medal for Popular Culture in the 2017 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards
Bad clowns--those malicious misfits of the midway who terrorize, haunt, and threaten us--have long been a cultural icon. This book describes the history of bad clowns, why clowns go bad, and why many people fear them. Going beyond familiar clowns such as the Joker, Krusty, John Wayne Gacy, and Stephen King's Pennywise, it also features bizarre, lesser-known stories of weird clown antics including Bozo obscenity, Ronald McDonald haters, killer clowns, phantom-clown abductors, evil-clown panics, sex clowns, carnival clowns, troll clowns, and much more. Bad Clowns blends humor, investigation, and scholarship to reveal what is behind the clown's dark smile.
"Radford isn't clowning around: [Bad Clowns] is heavily researched and well-footnoted and he takes readers from the first known clowns in ancient Greece through serial killer Mr. Punch of Punch and Judy right up to the legions of fans of Insane Clown Posse."--Mirage Magazine
"With his wildly fun and surprising book Bad Clowns, Benjamin Radford wipes away the greasepaint and skillfully illuminates the weird world of clowns gone wrong."--Skeptical Inquirer
"Clowns with sinister sides and malevolent motives come under critical scrutiny in this pithy, abundantly illustrated study of the 'bad clown' as a pop culture phenomenon."
"Bad Clowns is no joke. . . . Radford . . . tackles the topic of coulrophobia, evil clowns, criminal clowns, killer clowns, and nasty clowns in this insightful book."--Twilight Language
"Radford's research is varied and extensive."--Times Literary Supplement
"Do you fear clowns? As this book shows, you're not alone, and such fear is not completely irrational. Benjamin Radford reviews an amazing array of bad clowns in media from comic books to pornography. He discovers the reasons behind their evil ways, and he analyzes clown aversion. It's rough stuff, but it is given a skeptical, scholarly, and engaging treatment."
--Jan Harold Brunvand, author of Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends