In March of 1982, in Fate magazine, and then in 1983, in my book Mysterious America, I first used the term "Phantom Clowns" to talk of May 1981's Boston, Massachusetts accounts of individuals wearing multicolored clothes who reportedly were trying to entice school children into coming along with them. The eyewitness accounts of clowns in vans bothering children were discussed for the first time comprehensively in a work of Fortean wonders.
"The story of the phantom clowns went unnoticed on a national scale until I began getting a hint we were in the midst of a major flap of a new phenomenon. Slowly, after contacting fellow researchers by phone and mail, I discovered the phantom clown enigma went beyond Boston, Kansas City, and Omaha," I wrote in Mysterious America.
Most evil clowns are fictional and as such reside only in our entertainment and imaginations, leaving only a handful of real flesh-and-blood monsters that stalk our streets. We know, for example, that Stephen King's Pennywise wasn't real, though John Wayne Gacy's Pogo was.
Yet there is another category of bad clowns, one that seems to exist somewhere in the twilight between the cold, clear reality of daylight and the slumbered stuff of nightmares. These bad clowns are reported to roam streets and parks in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere looking for innocent children to lure and abduct - yet seem to vanish just before police can apprehend them. Some say they are real, while others claim they are figments of imagination. They are known as phantom clowns.
Researcher Loren Coleman coined the term and described them in the pages of Fate magazine and in his book Mysterious America. ~ Benjamin Redford, Bad Clowns, page 151.