No, There Was No Late-night Clown Stalking Somonauk Park

late-night clown northampton UK
The Northampton clown, shown here in 2013, did not visit Park Forest last night. (Photo: Facebook)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Park Forest police took to Facebook Tuesday morning to reassure the public there was no creepy, late-night clown lurking around Somonauk Park. Apparently several people called dispatch after someone pulled a prank, posting an image of the clown, an actual clown who did intend to creep out children in Northampton, U.K., in 2013.

Police issued the following statement:

The Park Forest Police Department received several calls overnight after citizens were concerned by seeing a Facebook post where an individual alleges that a clown was seen near Somonauk Park. An appropriately creepy picture of a clown accompanies the post.

The picture is from the United Kingdom in 2013 and was posted by someone who claims to live in Chicago. You don’t have to be really good at geography to know that Somonauk Park isn’t close to the UK, so we have filed this incident under “Hoax, Clown”.

Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. That’s where the real clowns are at,” the statement concludes.

If you feel silly for being taken in, don’t.

Or, maybe you should.

I don’t know.

But so very many people have fallen for Internet hoaxes, it’s really not funny. And some of those trying to play the clown are looking to take some of our well-earned cash, or our credit.

The Web site http://www.therichest.com/ lists what it calls the 10 Internet Hoaxes that Fooled the World, among them:

  • an apparent 2012 campaign to go #BaldForBieber, after a photo appeared on Twitter claiming that the then-teen heartthrob Justin Bieber had been diagnosed with cancer;
  • “The Last Tourist,” a later-identified 25-year-old Hungarian man named Péter Guzli, whose picture atop the World Trade Center with a passenger jet heading right for him, came forward to reassure the world that he was okay, that he was not atop the doomed building when it was hit;
  • and don’t forget all that “free money from Bill Gates,” which began circulating in 1997. Share this post. Share that post. Bill would track you down and send you money. Later on, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg actually did interviews confirming that he was not giving away free money either. At least for those who made certain posts on Facebook.

Among the more dangerous side of this are those who engage in phishing schemes to defraud members of the public.

The pearl of wisdom in Latin is, “Caveat emptor,” “Let the buyer beware.” On the Internet, we might say, “Caveat lector,” “Let the reader beware.”

And we’re not clowning around.