Word of the Day: Coulrophobia aka Bring on the Clowns!

In an ongoing cunning plan to fill the world with images of SamnDean, I bring you another excuse to post a photograph.  This suggestion came my way via ThriftyGal whose obsession with Supernatural (specifically SamnDean, well specifically Dean) is frankly on the verge of a restraining order.

The word of the day, wordsmiths, is Coulrophobia: a fear of clowns.

As all discerning Supernatural viewers will know, this phobia is something that afflicts poor Sammy, leading to this rather wonderful exchange between SamnDean:

Dean: Well, I know what you’re thinking, Sam. Why did it have to be clowns?

Sam: Oh, give me a break.

Dean: (laughs) You didn’t think I’d remember, did you? I mean, come on, you still bust out crying whenever you see Ronald McDonald on the television.

Sam: Well, at least I’m not afraid of flying.

Dean: Planes crash!

Sam: And apparently clowns kill!

(Everybody Loves a Clown,  Supernatural Season 2, episode 2)

It’s not clear why people have this seemingly irrational fear. It could be to do with a sinister portrayal of a clown in the media, think of Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s It, the clown doll in Poltergeist or the mechanical clown-faced creature in the Saw movies. I find the clowns in all these situations terrifying.

It could also be a more general fear of masks/face paint: the idea that true features are covered up making the person unidentifiable or unreadable. You can imagine that Dr Cal Lightman wouldn’t like clowns for that reason.

Searching for information on this phobia and how it was dealt with in Supernatural led me down some weird and wonderful paths. Not least the Supernatural fan forum where different sorts of potential new phobias were discussed in relation to Supernatural. Take for example the marvellous ‘newbrophobia’: a fear of the third Winchester brother and ‘finalephobia’: a fear of how the series will end. How about ‘bloodyangelphobia’ a fear that the angels have ruined the potential for any more fun episodes by being all serious and that?
As an aside… I was telling my friend K about ThriftyGal’s blognagging the other day. The exchange went something like this:
Me: My friend wants me to blog more, specifically to post pictures of hot men to illustrate grammar. She sent me a suggested word of the day today just to shoe horn in a picture of the Winchesters.

K: What word?

Me: Coulrophobia or something – the fear of clowns.

K: (laughs) why would you be scared of them?!

Me: I don’t know, maybe the whole fear of what’s behind the mask or something.

K: Oh yeah.

Me: I mean think of Stephen King’s It or the clown doll from poltergeist. Scary.

K: Oh clowns…. I thought you said clouds.

Me: but you agreed about the ‘behind the mask’ thing?

K: Hmn, yeah. I was thinking, behind the clouds…..


4 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Coulrophobia aka Bring on the Clowns!

  1. Two favourites in one! Dr Lightman and SamnDean. 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have also just noticed that you are Thrifty Gal, not ThriftyGal. Why did I never register the space before?


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