Social media reports of clowns terrorizing children on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, are false, a base official said Thursday.
"The MPs responded, as they always do, and found no evidence of clowns anywhere," said Robert Jenkins, a Fort Campbell spokesman. "We've had people say they've seen them. There has been no evidence of a clown invasion of Fort Campbell."
Reports of clown sightings on the installation began appearing on Facebook pages around Sept. 22. One woman reported a clown jumped over a fence and started pushing her child on a swing. Another said she saw a clown wandering outside her house.
A clown warning was issued via Twitter on Sept. 24 by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland, according to news reports. The tweet, which has since been deleted, warned residents to "watch for clowns in your area. They could be child predators seeking kids."
Fort Campbell sits on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Threatening clown sightings have been reported in at least 10 states, with some reported to be true. A man identified as Jonathan Martin was arrested while dressed as a clown Sept. 23 in Middlesboro, Kentucky, about 300 miles away from Fort Campbell, on charges of disorderly conduct and two warrants, according to news reports.
Jenkins speculated that the clown costumes have been inspired by new horror films linked to the upcoming Halloween holiday. He said Fort Campbell residents who want to dress as clowns as a prank should first consider the possible ramifications.
"People might think it's funny to dress up, but I can tell you that if someone is doing that and they are found by the MPs … that person could be charged with upsetting the good order and discipline of the installation."
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.