At first glance, the house for sale at 222 Chatham Street in Brantford seems innocuous enough.
The 748-square-foot home is described as a "charming brick bungalow on quiet street close to schools and parks." But that sentence takes a somewhat sinister turn when you peruse the interior photos and see that the rooms are filled nearly floor-to-ceiling with toy clowns and other clown-related paraphernalia—clown rugs, clown photos, even a goddamn clown statue.
VICE reached Michael McMannis, son of the owners (who've lived in the house for 30 years) and confirmed that the family is not in fact related to It or any other deranged clowns. No, they're actually a cute elderly couple in their 80s who started buying the clowns in an effort to keep McMannis' stepfather from boozing.
"My stepdad had a drinking issue as perceived by my mother," McMannis told VICE. "Every clown represents a bottle of beer that he would have bought."
McMannis said his stepdad would go out dancing and would "drink a little bit too much" so his mom suggested that instead of spending his money on alcohol, they would buy a clown every time they went out. Did they look for vintage clowns? No, McMannis said. They didn't give a crap.
"There's no fancy clowns, there's nothing worth any value. They didn't go looking for a particular artist," he said. "You'll find there's a lot of McDonald's stuff… You can pick those up for a dime or a quarter."
McMannis said people have told his parents they're "crazy" for doing this, but it worked. Though he noted the clowns are "kinda useless."
He said the couple has been doing this for around 25 years and have accumulated roughly 1,500 clowns.
Over the years, "there are some people that love them and some people that will walk into the house and run away."
McMannis said the plan is for his parents to sell the house—likely this week—and move in with him and his wife. As for the fate of the clowns?
"A lot of them are going to be boxed up into our crawl space."
Realtor Kyle Jansink who is in charge of the listing told VICE the clowns don't seem to have deterred potential buyers.
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