The origins of clowns date back to the Middle Ages. Jesters were very popular with royalty. Local festivals and fairs always included puppet shows, juggling, and general clown related entertainment.
But, as movies and television have promoted the popularity of evil, dark clowns, this darker version has increased the popularity of evil clown tattoos. The Batman Joker villain played so well by Heath Ledger is a classic creepy clown with dripping make up and all in The Dark Knight. And let's not forget the original movie version with Jack Nickelson's portrayal of the Joker. Fans of Stephen King will fondly remember the book “IT”. A story about an evil clown residing in the sewers.
Taking an icon that should represented laughter and joy for kids and creating a completely evil persona from that symbol turns out to be more than your average creepy tattoo. Similar to possessed and evil dolls.
The popularity of evil clowns have given birth to a phobia. It is called “coulrophobia “and is defined as an extreme fear of clowns. The description of coulrophobia can also include a fear of face paint – people covering up their features with paint. (Strange and rare but true).