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Clown says pranksters hanging around in the woods giving profession a bad name

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Charlie Strachan shows some of the tools of his trade Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Henderson. (Norberto Arroyo/KSNV)

In just a matter of days, the movie "It" will hit theaters nationwide.

The movie will depict a killer clown, adding yet again to the resurgence of the creepy phenomenon.

In an effort to combat fear though, the so-called "good clowns" are now speaking out. They say they are tasked with the goal of shedding positive light on to their profession, including one Las Vegan.

For several months, Charlie Strachan has shaken his head at viral images and videos depicting creepy clowns running about and scaring unsuspecting people. Strachan, also known as "Charlie the Clown", wants the public to understand those are pranksters — people dressed as clowns — who, he says, are giving his profession a bad name.

"It's not funny, and it is a tough time for clowns," said Strachan. "I want them to know that I am a human being with emotions and feelings."

From his work on 10-foot-tall stilts to juggling and even fire throwing, Strachan is proud of the skill set he's acquired from his years of experience as a professional clown. He adds he doesn't enjoy seeing the pranksters tarnishing his job as an entertainer.

"I got to work for the Ringling Brothers, and I worked at Disneyland and Circus Circus," he said. "So, I am the real deal."

Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns, really took off in the 1970s when serial killer John Wayne Gacy was convicted of killing at least 33 young men and boys. Gacy worked on the side as a clown.

Since then, clowns have become one of the most widely used pop culture villains. "It" opens in theaters across the country in just a few days.

"It's a challenging time for clowns," said Strachan. "Believe me, the clowns you see in the movies and the clowns you see on TV that are scary. And the ones in the woods, they're not really real clowns."

Strachan now asks that next time you see a real clown to just remember: under the wig and makeup is a real person, with an array of skills, just trying to earn a living.

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