In New York City's Staten Island, there are reports of a grown man dressed in a clown costume who is wandering the streets, spooking locals and haunting their dreams for years to come.
"He was just kinda standing there waving like he is in the picture," said Vincent Innocente, who took the photo above on Sunday night.
"I just got freaked out coming home from the studio in Tottenville #weirdo #retards #detourillnevertake #pennywise #it #bozo #doinktheclown," he wrote on Instagram.
Sightings have been reported by the Grasmere and Richmond Valley train stations, according to the Staten Island Advance. On Instagram, he's been spotted in front of the detour sign above, and lurking behind trees and poles.
Updated — March 25, 11:55 a.m. ET: However terrifying this man clown may be, it could just be the result of a publicity stunt.
The New York Post reported on Tuesday that three of the men who posted photographs of the clown on Instagram are all tied to the same Staten Island based horror movie production company, Fuzz On The Lens.
On Monday BuzzFeed reached out to Michael Leavy, who was the first person to post a picture of the terrifying clown and who is also listed as a filmmaker for Fuzz On The Lens. Leavy said he saw the clown and took the photograph, but did not confirm that the production company is responsible for the orchestrating the possible hoax.
Leavy told BuzzFeed:
All I can say is that if people want to believe it's me or my production company they can feel free to do so, I won't complain, confirm, or deny. Apparently he was seen last night by more islanders. It's a small island so a lot of people know each other, it's just how it is. Especially if it's a well known production company as active in the community as we, a lot of people would have some ties to each other. It's bound to happen. But I could tell you it's interesting getting messages from some other clown spotters Vin Innocente and the comedian Vic Dibitteto asking me if we [Fuzz On The Lens] planned it to specifically goof on them or not.
Robert Privitera, another Staten Islander who is friends with Leavy and Innocente, captured this and posted it to Instagram five days ago.
And here is the first picture that Leavy took of the clown being super freaking creepy two weeks ago.
That means this ruthless man-clown who fears no god has been terrorizing innocent New Yorkers for at least two weeks. Whether or not it's a publicity stunt, people on Twitter are rightfully freaked out by it:
Comedian Vic Dibitetto — who has appeared in films made by the Fuzz On The Lens production company — spotted the clown in daylight, and he made a (very explicit) video that he posted to Facebook.
Dibitetto, who once played a gynecologist in a Fuzz On The Lens film, said he did not know if the Staten Island Clown was a publicity stunt.
"I have no idea," said Dibitetto. "Who the hell knows. Nothing surprises me anymore."
But on Friday March 28, the studio finally owned up to the stunt:
And they posted a statement on their Facebook page explaining their motives:
Whether or not it's a stunt: If you live in Staten Island and fear clowns, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
h/t: the Staten Island Advance