The fear of clowns has been around for way longer than the most recent remake of Stephen King's 'It'.

Coulrophobia - 'a persistent fear of clowns, where individuals may feel “shaken or traumatized” at the thought of them.'

I have this fear, but I never knew there was a name for it.  Are you afraid of clowns?  Most likely you are.  In fact, polls have shown that Americans admit to being more scared of clowns than they are of climate change, terrorism, and even death.

So why are we afraid of these things that are supposed to bring nothing but joy and silliness?  Here are some reasons.

A psychologist explains ...

As children we are familiar with the appearance of our caregivers and family members and we see them as having a “safe and friendly human face”.

Dr Melanie said: “Clown have unnatural, large, exaggerated and distorted features and therefore don’t match the ‘safe, friendly human’ pattern we have created in our minds. This triggers an ‘unsafe/ does not match’ alert.

The other big reason people are so afraid of clowns? There is a huge unpredictability factor.  Clowns are known for being out of the box and full of surprises, which puts a lot of us on edge.

And I mean... the whole 'It' movie and creepy killer clowns walking the streets thing hasn't really given us any reason to be less afraid.

Happy creepy clown season!

More From 97 ZOK