More residents in South Carolina and now Ohio are reporting sightings of "creepy clowns" trying to lure children into the woods.
According to Fox 6 News, the sightings have been occurring since Aug. 23, with more and more residents of the Greenville and Spartanburg areas of South Carolina reporting seeing the ominous figures in the woods.
NBC News reported on Thursday night that a 14-year-old boy in Columbus, Ohio told police a knife-wielding man in a clown costume chased him on the way to the school bus stop.
Fox Carolina published a timeline of the sightings, which began Aug. 21 at Fleetwood Manner apartments in Greenville. A group of children saw a clown in the woods behind the basketball court.
“I thought my child was seeing things,” said resident Donna Arnold. “And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?'”
The Greenville County Sheriff's Department and Greenville Police have launched a joint investigation into the sightings, which have continued through this week and spread to other complexes in the area.
Greenville County Master Deputy Sheriff Ryan Flood told reporters that police have found no evidence of any kind at this time of clowns or menacing activity, but said, "We've increased our patrols in the area just to be sure that if there are any clowns, we'll address it and handle it accordingly."
“This type of call in particular where people are alleging that the clowns are being used to lure children, of course we are going to take that seriously,” he said.
"But to this day," Flood said, "nothing has been substantiated with any kind of evidence or video surveillance."
The clowns have appeared in daytime and at night. They have been described as wearing circus attire with white-painted faces. In some instances they have displayed large sums of cash to the children in an effort to entice them into the woods.
On Tuesday night, a pair of clowns got chased by children through an apartment complex, but escaped in a car driven by a third person in clown makeup and clothes. On Wednesday, a boy named Evan saw a clown in a wooded area while walking home from school.
“My mama told me that she called the cops and I knew she wasn’t playing and I’m being serious about this,” the boy said. “I’m not gonna joke around about something like this. This is serious.”
WYFF Channel 4 said that the entire phenomenon may be a publicity stunt for the film 31 by musician turned movie director Rob Zombie.
In the meantime, police are urging parents to keep an eye on their children and not allow them to leave home unsupervised.
“We want to make sure parents are still remain vigilant and to make sure you keep track of your children playing, don’t leave them playing isolated," said Officer Gilberto Franco with the Greenville Police Department.
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