(WYTV)- We found a new study of clowns and why some people fear them in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

At first glance, why be fearful of clowns? They’re supposed to bring joy, make us laugh, and send us off happy.

But Stephen King’s monster in his novel “IT” took the form of a clown to terrify children. The Frontiers in Psychology study talked to more than 500 people who feared clowns to learn why.

Even though they wear no masks, clown’s faces are painted, so that’s like a mask…they can hide their thoughts behind that paint. When you can’t read facial expressions, you’re at a disadvantage.

And that makeup, white paint, and a red mouth, maybe this fellow is carrying some kind of disease, something contagious.

And you can’t predict what a clown will do, maybe anything for a laugh, and a lot of people in the study found that unnerving.

So you have someone who looks not quite human and their cheerful manner can cover something sinister.

That could be true for anyone, but apparently, clowns do it best.