IRVINGTON, NJ — Every Halloween, urban myths start circulating about black vans stealing children, razor blades stuffed into apples and other events during the time of year set aside to celebrate all things scary.
This year, there have been reports from across the country of people dressed in “sinister-looking” and “scary” clown suits, appearing mysteriously and unexpectedly near dark or at night in places where they’re not supposed to be, including parks, bus stops, homes, playgrounds and other public places, with so-called “authentic” video surveillance footage circulated on the Internet of clowns lurking where they should not.
The clown scares began in late August, when a young man dressed in a clown outfit doing promotional work for a scary movie short was spotted on the streets of Green Bay, Wisc., carrying black balloons. Since then, there have been scary clown sightings in at least 20 states.
The scary clowns supposedly came to Newark, with one allegedly spotted near Vailsburg Park on Sunday, Oct. 16, around 10:30 p.m. Someone reportedly pulled up in a silver SUV and shot the clown multiple times, killing him, before fleeing the scene traveling north on the Garden State Parkway.
Newark Police could not confirm the clown-killing incident. Irvington police said there have not been any official reports of scary clowns in town.
But Mayor Tony Vauss said he isn’t taking any chances, when it comes to public safety. He also said anyone interested in trying to start any clown nonsense in town should remember his personal public safety motto: “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”
“Irvington is not those other places,” said Vauss on Monday, Oct. 24, referring to Newark. “This is the type of environment where people take stuff like that seriously. If you come to our town perpetrating, the people here don’t play that.”
Vauss said he’s privileged to know a real clown — Uncle Majic the hip-hop clown. Majic said he had been watching all the “scary clown hype” from a distance since it began, with mild amusement.
“To be honest with you, I think it’s just horrible what these people are doing,” said Majic on Monday, Oct. 24. “These are not professional clowns. These are people in clown suits. I don’t know why people are making a big deal about it. Clowns have been around forever. Clowns have done more good than harm.”
The danger in all the pre-Halloween hype about scary clowns, Majic said, is that some people might take the threat seriously. But, Majic said, the clown scare has actually been good for his business. He said he runs a clown-booking entertainment agency, in addition to performing live at events himself and, since the whole scary clown sighting sensation began, his phone has been ringing “off the hook.”
“It actually helped my business, because people only want to hire clowns that they know. … Now they know they’ve got to go with the guy they’ve seen on TV for years,” the clown said.
Daniel Frett, the owner of the New Irvington Manor, said he has nothing but respect and admiration for Uncle Majic.
“He’s a real clown, but he handles his business,” said Frett on Thursday, June 16.
Majic thanked Frett for the compliment, saying he is an entrepreneur who takes his entertainment business every seriously. And that, he said, is in stark contrast to the scary clown “nonsense.”
“What made me the hip-hop magician was I needed a different angle,” said Majic. “I actually own ‘hip-hop magician.’ I trademarked that. No one else can ever use that. A lot of people have magic, but I wanted to do something for my hip-hop culture. I play hip-hop instrumental when I do my magic shows.”
“I didn’t choose to be a clown; it chose me,” said Majic.