Nobody likes clowns. Whether it’s the Joker or Pennywise, our fear and distrust of clowns is one that has been solidifed in our cultural imagination. In spite of their bright colours and big smiles, there’s just something off about them. Something that tells us that danger is near in spite of the fact that they seem fun and harmless. It certainly doesn’t help that they spend all day hanging around kids as part of their profession.
That being said, the idea of a murderous clown stalking little kids in the dark is just a spooky urban legend, right? Not for the young boys that felt prey to the sick, perverted John Wayne Gacy aka The Killer Clown. He spent years stalking, violating and murdering young children. All with a wide, painted smile on his face.
Sometimes, reality can be a far stranger and far more frightening than fiction. Follow us down the dark rabbit hole as we uncover some highly disturbing facts about the infamous Killer Clown from Netflix’s “Conversation With A Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes”.
1. Luring Teenage Boys with Porn and Pool
So here’s a word of advice: if a strange older man tells you to follow him down into his basement to hang out, don’t. Before Gacy began his murderous killing spree in the 1970s, he was already up to sodomy and sexual assault in 1967. He would lure boys down to his basement with the promise of pornographic films and a good time. Then he’d ply them full of drinks till they were drunk and disorientated. From there, that’s when he would start toying with them. One 15 year-old boy named Steve Nemmers remembered staying over at Gacy’s home one night. They were playing pool when suddenly Gacy made a rather shocking suggestion.
He told the young teen that they’d play a game of pool where the loser will have to commit a sexual act on the winner. Gacy laughed it off and told him it was a joke before showing Nemmers a pornographic film. During the film, Gacy had a put a gun to Nemmers head telling him to take his pants off. Needless to say, Gacy was one sick individual. What makes this even creepier is that he’d have pictures of clowns in almost every room in his house. All smiling and watching whatever sick game Gacy was playing. Perhaps they were his inspiration for the greater depravities down the line.
2. Parades with Pogo The Clown
In spite of his stint in prison for sodomy and rape, Gacy managed to find a new life for himself in Chicago. He reinvented himself as a loving family man, marrying a widow and adopting her two little girls as his own. For half a decade, he built up a reputation as a man of the community. He became a precinct captain for the Democratic political party and was in charge of hosting parades. At some point, he even got a chance to meet Rosalynn Carter, the wife of President Jimmy Carter. Seriously, what is it with pedophiles meeting famous political figures! First Jimmy Savile and Margaret Thatcher and now this.
He also volunteered to entertain the crowd as Pogo the Clown. He would make people laugh and bring a smile to their faces but there was a darker side to things. He once told a police officer how he loved being clown because he could sit on a woman’s lap and talk to her. He’d go so far as to grope them and they’d never bate an eye because he was a clown. He ended that conversation with the line: “Clowns could get away with anything. Clowns could get away with murder.”
Not exactly the best thing to tell a cop…
3. Hidden Horrors under the House
When 15-year old Robert Piest disappeared in 1978, the police began to suspect that Gacy played a role in it. On their first search of the house, they couldn’t find any evidence of Piest. So for a week, they followed Gacy around, tracking his every movement. Gacy could see he was being trailed and began reveling in the idea of having police personnel around him. He even bragged about them to his friends, calling them his bodyguards. The guy was cocky that he would invite them over to his house to hang out, which would ultimately be his downfall.
Once inside, a police officer noticed a strange smell coming from a drain pipe. The distinct stench of rotting flesh. They searched for Piest below the house. They found a body but it wasn’t Piest’s, it had been buried there much longer. After excavating the entirety of Gacy’s basement, the police had found 26 bodies hidden there. Right below where he, his wife and kids would eat and sleep.
4. Bondage and Torture
Gacy wasn’t merely content with just killing them. Oh no, Gacy was a sadist and he derived disgusting pleasure from inflicting pain on his victims. After Gacy had lured the boys over into the garage, he would knock them out with alcohol or chloroform. From there he would rape them repeatedly as they were handcuffed and bound. Some of the ways he’d torture the boys would be by stabbing them with a fire poker, pouring hot candle wax on them and drowning them in a bathtub.
Then after hours or days of agonizing torture, he would strangle them to death. Most of the kids were runaways who were shunned because of their homosexual tendencies. Back then, they were ostracised and treated with contempt. Gacy took advantage of these poor young teens and turned their final hours on earth into a living hell. Some of them survived to tell the tale and are forever scarred.
5. Doing the Dead?
Yup you read that right. Apparently, he wasn’t just satisfied with torturing, humiliating and raping his victims when they were still alive. He had to continue it after they had died. According to Tim Cahill in his book “Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer”, some investigators had reason to believe that Gacy also had sexual intercourse with the corpses of his victims after he had murdered them. In the same book, Gacy even confesses that he had committed acts of necrophilia twice while he was working in Palm Morturary in Las Vegas during his early years.
There’s little doubt that Gacy would be capable of desecrating the corpses of his victims. In 1994, he was sentenced to death for his many heinous crimes. In an interview before his execution, he delivered some truly chilling words: “Hey I got news for you. I killed 33 times. You’re only gonna kill me once. Gacy outsmarted ’em again.” The tape ends with him laughing.
If you want to know more about the Killer Clown, you can catch “Conversations with a Killer: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes” on Netflix today!