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October 04, 2016

Throngs of Penn State students wage massive 'clown hunt' on campus

Clowns Flash Mob
100416_PennStateUniversitymain Source/Penn State University

Penn State University.

The meaning of the phrase "down with the clown" took on a new flavor Monday night at Penn State after hundreds of students stormed the Happy Valley campus in search of three alleged jesters who probably never existed. 

During a string of months that has seen a spike in "creepy" clown sightings, including a series of online threats against Philadelphia schools last weekend, the event at Penn State appeared to be all in good fun.

Earlier on Monday, two teenagers in South Jersey were charged in connection with making online threats against students in Gloucester County's Washington Township community. Philadelphia police continue to investigation the threats made on Instagram against multiple local schools. One of the teenage suspects was identified Monday. 

To date, the vast majority of the alleged clown sightings have not yielded any evidence of criminal activity or mischief, although 12 arrests have been made nationwide since August, the New York Times reports. 

The craze has gotten so far out of control that American clowns are denouncing the character assassination of their profession, which could eventually cost them business opportunities. 

No reported injuries or damage was reported at last night's flash mob, according to The Associated Press. The vigilante throngs managed to keep things peaceful. Leave it to Penn State to push this whole destructive and sinister frenzy to its logical boiling point. 

"There were no clown sightings or any credible 'clown' threat that we could discern," said Lisa M. Powers, senior director of the Office of Strategic Communications at Penn State. "Fortunately, there was no property damage, no injuries and no violence. This was pure social media hype fueled by a lot of youthful exuberance, and obviously some spare time."

With Halloween fast approaching, police and parents will have to remain alert to any potential threats that seek to further exploit a hoax that has run its course.