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When some people go on holiday, they forget to turn off the gas. When Alan Moore goes on holiday, it seems he sometimes forgets to turn off the Ideaspace conduit: on Friday the 13th, while the legendary comic writer was off on vacation with family, a mysterious clown started randomly appearing on the streets of Northampton, England, in full costume and make-up – including near the house of the Greatest Living Englishman

A clown – with red wig and full make-up and sometimes holding balloons – is freaking out residents of one English town, the local paper reports…

The Northampton Clown – which has exploded on social media in the UK – has even sparked a police warning. Police said they were looking to track two teenagers who were caught dressed as clowns, and had been caught acting in a peculiar fashion.

As reported in the Northampton Herald and Post: “He doesn’t juggle. He doesn’t twist balloons into animal shapes. He just stares.” A woman alleged that the clown had knocked on her door in full clown attire before then offering to paint her window sills.

Social media is abuzz with the mystery, with various images of the clown cropping up on Twitter as days go by. Currently it’s that perfect Fortean blend of sightings and rumour, when in reality it’s probably just somebody (or a few somebodies) having a bit of fun. The Northampton News and Post has pointed out that a short mockumentary posted to YouTube in May this year, about a clown in Northampton, may hold at least part of the answer:

The writer and director of the film, Alex Powell, has stated beneath the video that he is not the Northampton Clown. But there seems to be some link, as the clown costume looks to be the same in both instances – and more provocatively, from 12:05 to 12:10 in the video the same garage door is shown as in the background of some of the recent photos of the clown (see the image at the top of this post, for example).

A clear difference between the two clowns though brings a more sinister edge to the fun – the Northampton Clown, in the recent images posted to social media, appears to be made up very similarly to Pennywise the evil clown/entity, as represented in the film version of Stephen King’s It. He even seems to have adopted the same pose…

Pennywise the Clown

Sleep tight, people of Northampton!

Update: Ah it gets even better! The evil clown/entity Pennywise reappeared cyclically every 27 years. Stephen King’s It was published on September 15, 1986. You do the maths… (h/t to this commenter at the Dangerous Minds blog).