Evil clowns are roaming the neighborhoods of America. They’re wielding machetes and luring our children into the woods.

It began in Greenville, S.C., at Fleetwood Manor Apartments, a complex nestled against the edge of several acres of woods. On August 21, a police deputy investigated reports of a clown with white face paint trying to lure children into the dark woods and into vans. A resident told him one of her sons had seen many clowns flashing green lights and her other son had heard pounding on the door with the sound of chains clanking. Other children told him that clowns had tried to tempt them with money and that the clowns live in the house by a pond deep in the woods. Another resident said she had seen a clown with a blinking nose near a dumpster at 2:30 a.m. He waved at her. A week later, a boy at an apartment ten miles away reported seeing a man in a clown mask in the woods near his home. Later that night, a boy at an apartment just three miles from Fleetwood Manor reported seeing another clown. The following day, a woman told police she saw a clown standing outside a Greenville laundromat, simply staring at her. Most of the reports were the same: clowns trying to lure children into vans or the woods with candy. Weeks later, the same thing happened in Kansas City — dozens of reports of a scary clown lurking around elementary schools. Except this clown had a sword or a knife. Soon there were reports from Denver, Omaha, and Pennsylvania. Similar flare-ups have happened in the past and they follow the same patterns: The sightings usually occur in the months leading up to Halloween, the reports from each region are similar to each other, and they’re baseless.

But people say the internet has also created a new type of clown — the stalker clown. These are pranksters who dress up just to freak people out. Some recent examples of stalker clowns were a clown who was filmed lurking and waving in a Chicago cemetery last summer and a teenager who terrified students and neighbors.

This really begs the question- do they do birthdays?