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If You Thought ‘It’ Was Scary Wait Until You Hear About Real-Life Pennywise John Wayne Gacy

If You Thought ‘It’ Was Scary Wait Until You Hear About Real-Life Pennywise John Wayne Gacy

When last year's It premiered, it reinforced people's fear of clowns. While the film adaptation of Stephen King's legendary novel had a decent amount of comedy thrown into the mix, it's hard to deny that some scenes were enough to scare Hannibal Lecter.

Thankfully, Pennywise the clown is a work of fiction and the shapeshifting being from another dimension doesn't exist on Earth.

But we should probably be more concerned about human beings from our dimension because they can still do some gruesome, vile, sick, twisted things.

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Introducing John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer who had the nickname 'The Killer Clown' because of what he did when he wasn't butchering kids and young adults. While he was only convicted of 12 murders, he actually tortured, sexually assaulted and killed 33 teenage boys and young men over a seven-year period.

First Lady Rosalynn Carter with John Wayne Gacy while he was a Democratic Party activist. Credit: White House Photographer
First Lady Rosalynn Carter with John Wayne Gacy while he was a Democratic Party activist. Credit: White House Photographer

In 1967, he started sexually abusing teenagers by promising to show them porn films at his house, blackmailing them or tricking them into thinking he was doing hay experiments for research. Despite being sentenced to 10 years behind bars, he only served 18 months and was released with a year's probation.

When he was paroled, he tried to re-enter society by starting his own construction business. He was helpful in his community and was even given the title of director of Chicago's annual Polish Constitution Day Parade.

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But his membership with a local Moose club was what got him the 'Killer Clown' moniker.

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Gacey's actual clown costume. Credit: Steve Terrell/Creative Commons
Gacey's actual clown costume. Credit: Steve Terrell/Creative Commons
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Story Behind Real-Life 'Killer Clown' John Wayne Gacy Is Terrifying

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He found out about a joker club, where members would dress up as clowns and perform at events. Gacy invented 'Pogo the Clown' and 'Patches the Clown', designed his own costumes and did a few gigs.

One of his tricks was getting out of a pair of handcuffs, which he would also use on his victims before raping, torturing and eventually killing them.

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He'd already killed three teenage boys by the time he adopted this creepy clown persona and proceeded to butcher dozens more. When police started investigating him, they sent surveillance detectives to keep an eye on him.

Credit: Des Plaines Police Department
Credit: Des Plaines Police Department

One evening, Gacy invited the detectives to join him for dinner and said: "You know...clowns can get away with murder."

One of the more disturbing things about this serial killer was that all of the murders happened in his home and 26 victims were buried in the crawl space underneath the property.

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When he was eventually convicted, he spent 14 years on death row and would regularly paint clowns 'to bring joy into people's lives'.

Gacy was executed in 1994 by lethal injection and some of the more than a thousand people who gathered outside Stateville Correctional Center wore t-shirts saying: "No tears for the clown."

Featured Image Credit: It / Des Plaines Police Department

Topics: America, Interesting, Community, Weird, Serial Killer

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Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.