Pogo the Clown

by Diana Ruiz

Clowns are supposed to be comical performers who service in physical comedy acts to make the audience laugh. However, with the new film remake of Stephen King’s IT and the new season of American-Horror Story: Cult, these clowns appear chilling and menacing. These clowns have exaggerated features and they wear makeup that dehumanizes them. It all started with a man named John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer.

Gacy worked at children’s parties, dressing up as a character named Pogo the Clown. He was active from 1972 to 1978 in Chicago, Illinois. Gacy was convicted of killing 33 people in 1980; all of his victims appeared to be young men and teenage boys. He would lure his victims to his Norwood Park ranch house, and ask them if they wanted to smoke or do odd jobs. Once inside, he would rape, torture, and strangle the young men to death. Gacy had buried 26 of his victims in the crawlspace beneath his home. The media dubbed him the “Killer Clown” during his trial because he dressed up as a clown based on his character, Pogo, to kill his victims. Gacy was found guilty on March 12, 1980 and sentenced to death. He was executed on May 10, 1994 by lethal injection.