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Halloween comes once a year. Though some people celebrate it differently than others…

While the annual horror and costume-filled holiday is not quite here yet, this has not stopped people from raining in the season a tad early.

Problems have risen, especially this year, as conflicts are popping up all over not only the U.S., but also in Canada, England, and possibly other countries.

Here at the Mount, we recently saw the localization of the half validated, half dismissible Internet propaganda phenomenon known as “Clowning.”

On Oct. 3, a blurred picture of what appeared to be a “clown” was taken in front of The Kaplan Recreational Center. This picture quickly circulated around the school by way of text messaging and various social media sites. Students at first, fled from the open-range of campus and into their residential dorms. But as time passed, it became clear some people were becoming more curious, with some even taking the heroically foolish responsibility of trying to hunt for the clown them selves.

Many witnesses reported seeing packs of male attendees of MSMC traveling in packs with baseball bats and lacrosse sticks as their weapon of choice to combat the alleged clown making his or her way across campus. But they would have been no match for someone, male or female, who could potentially be armed with a knife, machete, gun, or any other gratuitous weapon. Security personnel eventually intervened and were able to tarnish several groups’ half-baked attempts.

At Sakac, many were restless and would wake up the next morning having had little to no sleep because of the fear. Rumors began to gain traction of the “clown” making his way to Sakac and at one-point was rounding the back of the building. Female residents of the hall made sure to stay in groups, lock their doors, and close their blinds. With no concrete information to put minds at ease, the lobby in Sakac turned into a mob of females attempting to extract some kind of information out of the security guards.

At 4:11am, an email was mass-sent by Security to the MSMC student body saying the clown picture was only a hoax. Specific details were disclosed in the following days. MSMC Security revealed a photo-shopped insertion of the clown-like figure into the now-infamous Kaplan picture was what caused the mass hysteria.

Some still believe it was a clown, but most others are now relieved to learn the school has officially ruled out the presence of any clown operating on campus as a possibility.

The clown phenomenon started a few years back in England, when an unsettling picture of a clown made by an artist went viral, leading to dangerous copycats materializing, many within underground cults. The clown problem currently unfolding in the United States started in Virginia, as a method to lure children into the forest, before making its way northward.

With each day, it seems there are more cases of random, roadside clown sightings and violent threats on social media made towards specific schools and towns. The problem heightened when many of the cult-affiliated clowns started carrying weapons just a few months ago.

One large takeaway from last week’s events is that taking the current stigma attached to clowns in order to pull a fear-inducing prank should not be tolerated under any circumstance.

That being said, while the MSMC clown turned out to be fake, there are still many real clowns at large. Do not travel alone at night. It is better to be safe than sorry.