MACON, GA — Clowns appeared Tuesday morning near a school bus stop in Macon, Georgia, possibly emerging from the bushes or a nearby abandoned house, and began chasing children, the kids later told investigators.
The Bibb County deputies who arrived to the scene after a 911 call were from the third Georgia police department to receive clown reports since Friday, and the latest in a growing list of bizarre clown sightings stretching across both Carolinas and Georgia since Aug. 21.
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Randy Gonzalez said Tuesday none of the children reported making physical contact with any clowns, but that doesn’t mean the children weren’t frightened.
“Somebody was chasing them. They said they were scared, which is natural,” Gonzalez said.
He added that adults were also among those who reported seeing the clowns, all of whom ran off before deputies arrived. Gonzalez said it’s not clear if the sightings are related to another recent incident in nearby Dublin, Georgia.
In that incident, on Sept. 9, a person said they got into a car accident after swerving to avoid a clown, according to Dublin Police Chief Tim Chatman, who spoke with CBS affiliate WMAZ.
Chatman said the Dublin police have received several recent reports, but have not been able to substantiate any.
Among those in Dublin who say they saw clowns are Michaela Brooks, who told WMAZ that she and her sister saw three clowns in a car at around 11 p.m. on Sept. 8, in the Middle Georgia State University parking lot.
“A car came up behind us and parked. I didn’t think much of it, until my sister started freaking out, and she told me they were dressed as clowns,” said Brooks. “We could only see part of them because they were parked to the back of us … you could see the big hair.”
More than an hour away, in Lagrange, Georgia, police posted to Facebook Monday that they “received several calls about clowns in a van and in wooded areas trying to talk to children.”
“This behavior is not cute or funny,” the department posted. “Understand that if officers see this behavior, you’re going to have a conversation with them. And, if applicable, you may face criminal charges.”
The reports of clowns emerging from the woods and approaching children began in Greenville, South Carolina, on Aug. 21, when a woman reported that her son had seen a “suspicious character … dressed in circus clown attire and white face paint, enticing kids to follow him/her into the woods.”
Children in that case also told police they believed the clowns were associated with a nearby abandoned house. They said clowns offered them money, and shined lasers.
A week later police in Greenville received a similar report. And again, the night after that.
Then the clown sightings started to spread.
First to the North Carolina cities of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, where police received several reports in early September. Police in Winston-Salem believeat least one report was fabricated,though no police department has been able to substantiate a report — including one Greensboro case in which a man said he was armed with a machete when he chased a clown back into the woods.
As the reports spread to Georgia, Gonzalez said police don’t find the clowning funny.
“They’re scaring children,” Gonzalez said.