At times, they say, the clowns behave in a menacing manner. At times the clowns appear to have weapons. While police have not confirmed most of these reports, they have not vanished either.
Those of us who frequent the forest preserves might wonder if clowns have infiltrated our natural areas. As a frequent visitor to local preserves, I took it upon myself to study the news reports for our area.
While the internet offered up numerous reports like those noted above, I could find nothing specific to the forest preserves in Palos.
No one has reported seeing an individual in baggy pants and floppy shoes jogging along one of the many trails in our area. I found no accounts of a man in white face paint, with a big red nose and bright orange wig, lurking in a picnic grove.
I saw not a single story describing large numbers of clowns, in full clown regalia, exiting one side of a Volkswagen in a steady stream.
All this was reassuring but I was not satisfied. After all, how easy might it be for someone with a blinking nose, and a bright polka-dotted suit, to blend in with all the other visitors to the preserves?
This ‘clown’ might carry binoculars and pretend to be a birder, or hold a leash with a fake dog at the end. I decided to continue my investigation.
Each of the past few days I’ve visited a different preserve. I brought a camera to document anything I should find. I walked the trails; I parked at the groves and sat, binoculars raised, scanning the tree line.
I saw nothing, nothing at all, until this morning. First I heard a rustling noise, which could easily have been a squirrel or a bird. The woods are replete with such sounds.
Then I spotted a flash of colors, colors that aren’t usually seen in nature. A bunch of balloons, perhaps? I shinnied up a nearby tree, set the camera to max zoom, and started snapping.
At this point I’ll let the pictures tell the story.