Pennywise The Clown Spotted Outside London

An unknown citizen takes up a mission to delight children of all ages in Northampton, UK.

Here are the facts:  an as-yet-unknown gentleman has spent the past week popping up all over Northampton (located about 70 miles northwest of London) dressed as a clown.  Generally these appearances have occurred at night, but in at least one circumstance he was seen out and about in the middle of the day.

You'll probably notice that the costume worn by “The Northampton Clown” is eerily similar to the one worn by Pennywise in the 1990 made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King’s It.  Here’s a side-by-side, just for comparison’s sake.

On Friday the 13th, a Facebook page called “Spot Northampton’s Clown” (which currently features a banner image of Tim Curry in full Pennywise regalia, just in case the homage was lost on anyone) appeared online, and is apparently being managed and updated by the Clown himself.  In the time since the page went live, it has racked up nearly 34,000 "Likes".

And here's the speculation:  some believe the Clown may be local actor William Johnston, who appeared in a short mockumentary titled "The Local Clown" that was uploaded to YouTube a few months ago (see below).  The Northampton Clown has taken to his Facebook page to vociferously deny being said actor, as well as to deny claims that he's part of an ongoing viral marketing stunt for something called "Dr. Fright's Night".  That said, it is a universal truth that all clowns are liars, so it's up to you to decide whether or not to believe these protestations.

Another claim being denied by the Clown:  that he's knocked on random doors and asked homeowners if they'd like him to "paint their windowsills", a phrase that has the distinction of sounding horrific, hilarious, filthy, and unlikely all at the same time.  The Clown has also assured his legion of followers that he'll "have to stop" if "what (he's) doing gets to be too much for people".

The more likely outcome?  Now that the story's gone global, whoever's doing this will probably be unmasked in a matter of hours, ending a darkly funny pseudo-mystery and returning all of us to the deep and profound feelings of depression we're having about the prospect of reading Stephen King's sequel to The Shining, which arrives one week from today.