Creepy clowns spotted in the Midstate? Police say no

DUNCANNON, Pa. (WHTM) – Police in the Midstate say the internet is to blame for false sightings of suspicious people in clown costumes around the area.

They’ve been reported around the country, even some in neighboring counties including Huntingdon and Schuylkill.

Now, police in Perry County are getting reports of them, but they – along with other local departments getting calls – say there’s nothing to them.

“You don’t think it’s going to come to Perry County,” Ashley Lightner said, “but everything, I guess, comes to Perry County.”

Rumors included.

“You never know what to believe on Facebook,” she said. “Social media’s just crazy nowadays.”

That’s where Lightner heard about the clowns; some friends claimed to see a group at a Duncannon pizza shop. Others said they saw one in her apartment complex, Pfautz Apartments.

“I mean, I’m not a big fan of clowns,” Lightner said. “I watched so many horror movies. I just saw one that’s called ‘The Clown,’ and I saw this and I was like, ‘Well, I guess my life’s going to be a horror movie now.'”

Not quite.

“Absolutely there has been no clowns out there,” Penn Township police Chief Richard Pickles said, “except for the clowns on Facebook.”

The only ones ABC27 found call Old Sled Works home. Aside from those, Pickles said there have been no confirmed clown sightings.

“We’ve gotten several calls from out-of-state family members checking to see since they saw it on Facebook and everything,” he said, “but there’s absolutely no truth whatsoever to that.”

Mechanicsburg and Carlisle police also say they’ve found no clowns despite — yet again — social media rumors.

School district officials in Lebanon say reports of clowns near the middle school are also unsubstantiated.

“Don’t buy into what you see on Facebook until you confirm it,” Pickles said.

“I was like, ‘No, mom, I really think it’s real. Everyone’s talking about it. You have to believe it,'” Lightner said.

Turns out you don’t, but police are staying vigilant.

“They definitely are on alert all the time and now that they know that the rumors are starting,” she said, “so I think they’re going to be now out there and seeing all that’s going on.”

It’s not just the paranoia: ABC27 talked to some professional clowns in the area who say these kinds of rumors are actually damaging to their reputation.

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