• Accessory of the week: why we heart this beret

    Accessory of the week: why we heart this beret


    • Accessories
  • What's new on Netflix UK in October?

    What's new on Netflix UK in October?


    • Netflix
  • The 10 fashion commandments you MUST obey for AW17

    The 10 fashion commandments you MUST obey for AW17


    • Shopping
  • Celebrities at Fashion Week: The most FROW-worthy looks

    Celebrities at Fashion Week: The most FROW-worthy looks


    • London Fashion Week
  • Here's EVERYTHING you need to know about the BIG GLAMOUR Flash Sale

    Here's EVERYTHING you need to know about the BIG GLAMOUR Flash Sale


    • Glamour Flash Sale
  • 23 autumny dresses to chuck over a pair of sassy boots

    23 autumny dresses to chuck over a pair of sassy boots


    • Dresses
  • Sexiest Man of The Year 2018: It's time to cast your vote

    Sexiest Man of The Year 2018: It's time to cast your vote


    • Sexiest Men
  • 15 of the best bronzers

    15 of the best bronzers


    • Bronzer
  • 7 super smart ways to be more productive & get sh*t done

    7 super smart ways to be more productive & get sh*t done


    • Careers
  • What your Netflix choices say about you

    What your Netflix choices say about you


    • Netflix
  • 21 mood-boosting foods for a natural happy high

    21 mood-boosting foods for a natural happy high


    • Diets
  • 13 pearl-covered pieces your nan would be proud of

    13 pearl-covered pieces your nan would be proud of


    • Shopping
  • These are the beauty products our favourite stars will forever re-buy...

    These are the beauty products our favourite stars will forever re-buy...


    • Makeup
  • 4 women reveal the moment they knew their relationship was over

    4 women reveal the moment they knew their relationship was over


    • Dating
  • Winter coats: The trends that are going to be massive this year

    Winter coats: The trends that are going to be massive this year


    • Shopping
  • 14 pictures of Chris Pratt looking hot. Because we're good like that.

    14 pictures of Chris Pratt looking hot. Because we're good like that.


    • Chris Pratt
  • 26 Inspirational quotes from kick-ass women

    26 Inspirational quotes from kick-ass women


    • Feminism
  • Best Highlighter: 15 of the most Instagram-worthy strobing products

    Best Highlighter: 15 of the most Instagram-worthy strobing products


    • Highlighter
  • Here’s exactly what each vitamin does for your skin

    Here’s exactly what each vitamin does for your skin


    • Skincare
  • Going blonde? Browse your blonde shade options, from platinum to ashy & dark

    Going blonde? Browse your blonde shade options, from platinum to ashy & dark


    • Blake Lively
  • Flat is where it's at. 31 pairs for optimum comfort (& style)

    Flat is where it's at. 31 pairs for optimum comfort (& style)


    • Shopping
  • 50 short hairstyles: the coolest short hair ideas

    50 short hairstyles: the coolest short hair ideas


    • Hairstyle Ideas
  • Unique baby names: The celebrity kids' names you'll never forget

    Unique baby names: The celebrity kids' names you'll never forget


    • Baby Names
  • What print should I invest in now?

    What print should I invest in now?


    • Natalie Hartley says....
  • Best charcoal and peel-off face masks

    Best charcoal and peel-off face masks


    • Face Mask
  • A-List Heartbreak: Celebrity Splits and Breakups 2017

    A-List Heartbreak: Celebrity Splits and Breakups 2017


    • Celebrity Splits
  • This is what it's *really* like to be terrified of clowns

    'Coulrophobia' is more than just 'a dislike of clowns' – it's an unrelenting terror. As the second film adaption of Stephen King's IT breaks records, we speak to the people who suffer with the paralysing phobia


    • 08 Sep 2017
    Rex Features

    “It had white, almost translucent skin, with a bulging red nose and a maniacal smile spreading between its thickly-painted red lips. That was 12 years ago, and I can still remember every tiny detail of its face.”

    Annie was 5-years-old when she first came face-to-face with a clown, at a friend’s birthday party in her garden in Kent. As it ‘leered’ down to say ‘hello’, she let out a piercing scream and ran as fast as she could towards the open side gate. “I don’t remember much after that, except constantly looking over my shoulder to check that the ‘monster’ wasn’t following,” she says. “But my mum tells me it’s lucky she caught up with me – another few seconds and I would’ve made it to the road.”

    Now 27, Annie still can’t even look at pictures of clowns without being consumed by terror. “My heart starts pounding, and I often feel sick or dizzy.” She suffers with what’s been termed ‘coulrophobia’ – a persistent fear of clowns that has yet to be recognsied by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    And she’s not alone. Ryan, a 39-year-old from Belfast, has suffered from coulrophobia for as long as he can remember. “I was probably only two-years-old when I first saw a clown and it’s one of my earliest memories – that’s how profound it was,” he says. “We were at the circus when suddenly, this creature approached my mum to try and get her into the ring to participate in the show. I was absolutely terrified. I clung on to her, not wanting that thing anywhere near my mum, and screamed the place down.”

    This abject fear has stayed with Ryan ever since. Growing up, he was terrified of attending friends' parties in case clowns had been booked as entertainment, and in his 20s, he couldn’t take his nieces and godsons to the circus, despite how much they begged. “I felt so bad,” he says, “but even if a clown appears on TV, I have to turn away, shut my eyes, and change the channel. I can’t even look at advertisements on the tube without being flooded with fear.”

    Rex Features

    In fact, so many of us are petrified of clowns that the release of IT, as well as last year’s creepy clown craze, is harming the professional clown business. “It all started with the original IT [the novel by Stephen King],” says Pam Moody, World Clown Association (WCA) president, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a science-fiction character. It’s not a clown and has nothing to do with pro-clowning. People had school shows and library shows cancelled."

    Pam also told of how one pro-clown, who had arrived early for a children’s birthday party and was waiting in her parked car, was reported to the local police. “She looks up and there are four police officers surrounding her,” she said. “Someone in the neighbourhood called in a clown sighting.”

    But while Pennywise – IT's evil clown played by Bill Skarsgård in this year's adaption – may be a fictional entity from a sci-fi novel, that doesn't make coulrophobia, just like any other phobia, any less frightening or debilitating. And that goes for adults and children alike. "I'm 39 and my phobia of clowns still totally affects me," says Ryan. "The other day, my mum started to tell me the circus story, and when I stopped her and recounted it in greater detail than she could even remember, she was shocked. My mum had no idea it had scarred me that much."

    For more information on phobias, including treatment options, visit NHS.uk.