Friday, January 18, 2008

Why are clowns scary?

Are you afraid of clowns? Don't worry. You're not alone. BBC News Magazine finds out why those comic performers with colored wigs, stylistic makeup and outlandish costumes, are so scary to some. From BBC:
Prof Paul Salkovskis, clinical director of the Maudsley Hospital Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, saw a patient in Yorkshire some years ago who feared clowns as one of a range of problems.

But he believes children's fear may be less to do with clowns per se and more to do with being unsettled by something as unusual-seeming as a clown.

"People are typically frightened by things which are wrong in some way, wrong in a disturbingly unfamiliar way," Prof Salkovskis says.

"It is almost certainly not a reaction to clowns, but we are sensitive to things which are extraordinary, particularly sensitive when we are young. My three-year-old was terrified by Peter Rabbit at a B&Q. Peter Rabbit is six inches high, not seven feet high."

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