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Just chilling: the Wasco Clown@WascoClown via Instagram

Clown sightings freak out Californian residents

Police declare: ‘We want this to stop’. Happy Halloween!

Nobody likes clowns. People especially dislike clowns when they wander around neighbourhoods at night. So naturally, California-based coulrophobes are losing their shit over the spate of clown sightings reported across the state over the past week. Images of menacing clowns after dark surfaced on social media last week, with the so-called "Wasco Clown" writing on his Instagram page: "There's more than one of us were (sic) all over."

Loca newspaper Kern Golden Empire revealed that the first images are part of a photography collaboration between a woman and her husband from Wasco, California, but the clown-based terror has now spiralled out of control.

Copycat clowns have now started appearing all across California, with the LA Times saying that police have fielded 16 reports of clowns brandishing weapons over the past week. At one point, social media was flooded with rumours that one clown was seen chasing children with an axe (this was later found as false – but still). 

It's gotten to the point that police have threatened to start apprehending the individuals involved. "We will make arrests on this," Sgt Joseph Grubbs told the LA Times. "We want this to stop."

This hasn't deterred the Wasco Clown, who posted this image of a clown next to a high school with the words: "It's funny you guys think I got arrested".

This clown mania in California coincides with the return of American Horror Story, leading some people to theorise that this is all connected to the TV show's comeback – but none of the show's creators have confirmed that this is a cunning marketing ploy.