12 people arrested in US amid 'clown sightings' epidemic

Sightings have reported in at least seven US states

12 people arrested in US amid 'clown sightings' epidemic

Screenshot: Stephen King's IT

At least 12 people have been arrested in the US amid mass reports of 'clown sightings'.

Earlier this month, four different cases of creepy clowns were reported to police in South Carolina - only a month after similar incidents took place in the same area.

According to the New York Times, sightings have since occurred in at least six other US states: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

According to the newspaper, 12 arrests have been made across several states, with individuals facing charges such as false reports or threats.

In two cases in Alabama, arrests were made after social media users posted threats of attacking schools while dressed as clowns.

In Virginia, two teenagers were arrested for chasing children while wearing clown masks, while two people were arrested in Georgia for making bogus 'clown sighting' claims.

Many other sightings have been attributed to 'mass hysteria', pranks, or children with overactive imaginations, the NY Times suggests.

One report from the Associated Press has also linked a fatal stabbing with an alleged clown sighting, with police investigating whether or not "someone wearing a clown mask may have provoked a confrontation".

The unusual phenomenon of clown sightings has even led to comment from Stephen King - creator of the evil clown 'Pennywise' in his horror novel It.

He told the Bangor Daily News: "The clown furor will pass, as these things do, but it will come back, because under the right circumstances, clowns really can be terrifying."