I am Terrified of Clowns. Yet I have a Clown that I am not scared of - even though it has a solid head and soft floppy body - which does freak me out slightly. But I am totally shit-scared of Pennywise from Stephen King's "IT".
I saw a tiny tiny bit of the film version on TV as a kid and didn't sleep for a week after just a glimpse! So I refused to read the book for years, even though I'm a huge King fan and crave his work like a junkie. During the summer between my First and Second year I decided to stop being such a baby and just read it, after all what harm can a book possible do? A lot it would seem.
First off during the first few chapters I could hear voices outside my window [bear in mind it's One in the morning] I reluctantly looked out my window and saw that it was neighbours watching a comet - don't ask - I didn't, I was just glad it wasn't Pennywise!! [Not really the sort of thing you want to happen when you're already nervous!!] It also made me petrified of going any where near a sink [not good if you clean bathrooms for a living], And made me afraid to look out of my window at night or go near drains, and I became cautious of balloons, all at the age of 22. But I stuck with the book and it was well worth it. In hindsight I can see why the book scared me, there are descriptions of woods, children playing in woods, groups of Friends etc, all of which reminded me of my own childhood, and also the fears and guises Pennywise takes on are common fears for children, King is tapping into universal fears that we can all relate too which makes the horror seem real [we can easily project ourselves into the scenarios in the book].
The overriding theme of the book is the fact 'The Losers' [the group of children] have to return to their childhood and face their fears, and defeat them so they can carry on with their lives, its a theme I've picked up on for my own work, I want to try make sense of my childhood fears [mainly the big one - Death] but hopefully it'll be easier for me than it was for The Losers ...