By Charlotte Aimée Hulme
Brunel fell victim to the clown craze over the weekend as a clown, whose appearance replicated that of Stephen King’s fictional character Pennywise, was spotted in several locations across campus wielding what was assumed to be a fake chainsaw.
It is unclear as to how long the scare went on for on campus on the evening of Saturday 8th October and there have been no further sightings, but it is thought to have been a prank inspired by the other events across the country. Students who witnessed the events were seen taking photos from a distance, hiding behind cars to get a better view or running across campus to the safety of their flats.
Security took the prank seriously and have been on campus to prevent the situation from escalating further. Security Operations Manager Terry Vass from Brunel University confirmed to BuzzFeed News that he couldn’t confirm if the chainsaw was “real or not” adding “we take such incidents and our students’ safety extremely seriously.”
He went on: “Brunel’s campus is patrolled by security teams 24 hours a day and is monitored by more than 400 CCTV cameras, which we are now examining. We will continue to work with police to identify the individual responsible.”
Vass told BuzzFeed News that there had been an upsurge in such incidents, adding: “Thames Valley Police attended at least 14 reports of people intimidated or frightened by people dressed as clowns over a 24 hour period this weekend. It appears to have originated in the US.”
Britain has witnessed a spate of these ‘attacks’ over this past weekend as pranksters dressed in typically menacing clown attire frighten and intimidate young children and members of the public.
Police in the UK, who are treating the situation very seriously, have issued warnings highlighting the severity of the consequences carrying weapons and causing public fear can cause. Private Facebook events have been created, organising clown rallies that will target institutions such as schools and universities as the craze rapidly sweeps across the county.
Despite Stephen King’s infamous novel It being published in 1986, it seems that his terrifying clown character who wears unsettling makeup has made a somewhat unexpected return, which poses the question why now?
It is currently unclear as to what sparked this craze however it appears to have been inspired by pranks in South Carolina and has now spread on a global scale.
The situation at Brunel appears to have been a one off, with both campus security and local police monitoring the situation closely and ensuring the safety of the students.