Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twilight star Robert Pattinson has disclosed that he is terrified of clowns after seeing one burn to death as a child.

The British actor was left traumatized and said that the experience had stayed with him ever since, leading to fears he was forced to confront while making his latest film.

"The first time I went to the circus somebody died," he told The Today Show. "One of the clowns died. His little car exploded. The joke car exploded on him. Seriously. Everybody ran out. It was terrifying."

You know, I would never have thought this was possible. How could a clown car explode? I mean, it's not like clowns are carrying molotov cocktails, though admittedly I've never seen the Pickle Family Circus. And for a clown to burn to death, there must have been something seriously combustible in the car with them. Which, you know, isn't awfully logical. They're riding from backstage to the center ring: it's not like they need a mattress, or a magazine. And they drive like a hundred feet, max. The tiny transport doesn't exactly require a Dodge Durango's gas tank.

Though this incident apparently escaped the attention of major media, the Weekly World News dates it back to December of 2005. Wedged between articles about Princess Diana's face found on a potato skin and a ghost surrendering to the police, they record the gory story:

Sadly, they don't offer any details to prevent this horrendous accident from recurring, though just by the power of elimination I'm guessing it had to be a fuel-line leak set off by the spark from a joy buzzer. But whereas I previously might have doubted Mr. Pattinson's account, or even made fun of him, now I can empathize. How horrible it must have been for him to witness this scene at the tender age of 19. I can picture it now: his denial at seeing those first plumes of smoke sending a warning of impending doom; his shock at seeing the clowns with their tiny hats and rainbow afros alight; his smidgen of hope when some well-meaning souls grabbed buckets and flung their contents toward the conflagration, and that hope dashed when he saw that they were actually full of confetti that turned into tiny fireworks of flame that pelted the melting merrymakers; and his horror at witnessing the faster clowns trampling the slower ones beneath their giant shoes.

In the end, I'd like to offer Mr. Pattinson some small bit of consolation. That poor departed clown has surely gone on to a brighter place where every seat holds a Whoopie cushion and every flower shoots water in your eye. And we can thank heaven that only one clown was lost, while the rest can go on just pretending that they're trapped inside a big box.

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