Lincoln clown stunt unmasked

A local band has claimed responsibility for the Lincoln clown stunt that was widely circulated on social media networks this week — only to backtrack on it hours later.

A Facebook page called ‘Lincoln Clown 2013’ created on Monday gathered more than 8,000 likes before it was deleted on Tuesday night, shortly before 10pm.

The page reported so-called sightings of the clown in Lincoln, with several locations across Lincolnshire reporting similar encounters.

The Lincoln Clown 2013 Facebook page surpassed 8,000 likes in 24 hours before being removed.

Another similar page called ‘Hykeham’s Clown’ surfaced on Wednesday and gathered some 2,000 likes before being removed.

The frenzy around people wearing scary clown masks and costumes at night was originally inspired by the Northampton clown, who was unmasked as a 22-year-old student following his street appearances earlier in the year.

In Lincoln, reader Mel Bennett spotted a man wearing a clown costume and mask walking on Woodhall Drive in the Ermine in Lincoln at around 7.30pm Tuesday night and sent in her photo.

She said: “The clown was just walking and waving at passers-by. It wasn’t scary at all.”

It’s unclear at this stage whether any of the sightings in Lincoln were part of the claimed stunt or others have piggybacked on the idea, inspired by the Facebook chatter.

Lincolnshire Police told The Lincolnite that no incidents involving people dressed as clowns were reported in the county, though they did receive a lot of enquiries based on the social networks buzz it created.

In Lincoln, unsigned folk duo Pheasants and Their Enemies claimed they were behind the Lincoln version of the attention-grabbing stunt.

Stewart Aisthorpe, one of the two members of the band, said: “The stunt is an attempt to show that social media can create a buzz over something bizarre and pointless, but nevertheless intriguing.”

The band have been playing music together for a number of years and have had very moderate success. Their Facebook page currently has less than 500 likes.

Stewart Aisthorpe claimed: “There is no malice involved in the prank and it was purely an exercise to get people talking and active within the city and surrounding county.

“The idea was taken from numerous similar acts around the country and no doubt there have been numerous local and nationwide copycats latching on to the idea,” he said.

— Later update: Several hours after the publication of the original story, Stewart Aisthorpe backtracked on his elaborate claims. The story has been amended to reflect this.

Stewart Aisthorpe said: “I would like to come clean and expose that revealing my band as the Lincoln clowns was a hoax. The hoax was a shameless attempt to gain publicity.

“I must confess we had no involvement and I apologise for getting people excited. I’m not sure who the clowns are but I definitely think the joke has ran its course,” he said.

The band gained some 40 new Facebook fans in the process.