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People Are Obsessed With This Frightening Hoax About A Rapist Clown

It's basically a scene from the film Amusement, people. Not real!

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A terrifying and totally fake story about a rapist clown has been freaking people out on the internet for more than six months. It's all thanks to this hoax, published in early December:

Now8News is a hoax website that publishes completely made-up articles in the hope of fooling people into sharing them. Its hoax story said a man dressed in a clown costume pretended to be a large doll in a little girl's room so he could come to life and sexually assault her at night.As noted by Snopes, the photo of the supposed clown rapist is in fact the mugshot of a man who was arrested for carjacking in early 2015. This hoax generated over 22,000 Facebook likes, shares, and comments.
Now8News / Via now8news.com

Now8News is a hoax website that publishes completely made-up articles in the hope of fooling people into sharing them.

Its hoax story said a man dressed in a clown costume pretended to be a large doll in a little girl's room so he could come to life and sexually assault her at night.

As noted by Snopes, the photo of the supposed clown rapist is in fact the mugshot of a man who was arrested for carjacking in early 2015.

This hoax generated over 22,000 Facebook likes, shares, and comments.

It also spawned a wave of copycat stories, at least one of which went even more viral, with over 72,000 Facebook interactions.

Empire Herlad
Empire Herlad

The story got a big boost on Twitter when the @SexualGifs account, which has over 1.5 million followers, tweeted a screencap of one version, generating over 8,000 retweets.

Question: Who are the more than 7,000 people that liked this tweet?
Twitter: @SexualGif

Question: Who are the more than 7,000 people that liked this tweet?

The hoax keeps spreading, leaving completely freaked-out people in its wake.

A common reaction from people who share the story is to say they're done with clowns.

Even after being told it's a hoax, she still swore off clowns forever.

Other people talk about all the ways they'd like to see the (fake!) rapist punished.

One reason this hoax is effective is that it "mirrors an urban legend about serial killers disguising themselves as various inanimate objects," according to Snopes. This same concept was used in the horror film Amusement, which featured an attacker disguised as a clown doll.

Picturehouse

It's so effective that even people who check if the story is real will suffer consequences.

Craig Silverman is a media editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto.

Contact Craig Silverman at craig.silverman@buzzfeed.com.

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