Photo: The Washington Post/Getty Images

For years, visitors to the small mining town of Tonopah, Nevada, have stumbled, knowingly or unwittingly, into the uncanny valley that calls itself the Clown Motel. There, between a strip mall and an old miners’ graveyard, hundreds of grinning clown dolls reside inside a dilapidated structure that, by sheer appearance alone, promises a night that will no doubt be dark and full of terrors.

Bloody Disgusting’s Joel Terranova took his chances on the motel during a recent cross-country drive, renting a room and meeting the motel’s proprietor, from whom he bought his own creepy clown to take home. And while no living clowns tumbled through closet doors or shower curtains, grins warped into a sugary snarl, there remained something off-putting about the place.

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He writes:

A painted clown on the door greeted us as I struggled to unlock the door. The lock finally popped open and we went in. There were two clown paintings hanging directly over our beds, but the best adjective to describe what we initially saw is ‘dated.’ Several appliances were in the room that had to be at least fifteen years old. The furniture was quite old and a musty smell lingered throughout. My friend immediately began searching the room, worried that a clown might pop out at some time (moments before, I had made a comment about the film Vacancy).

I began looking around a bit closer and noticed some things that bothered me. One was a lamp shade that was in tatters. Another were some noticeable dents along the walls. There were what appeared to be numerous scratches on some of the wood furniture. The logical side of my brain told me that this was simply because it was an old motel that probably did not have the funds to renovate.

The other side of my brain, however, started to go wild. Was there really something more to all of this?

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The answer, obviously, is yes. The dents are no doubt the result of those poor souls being slammed into the wall by blood-stained, white-gloved hands, the scuffs on the wood collateral damage from the rise and fall of a clown’s kaleidoscopic carnival hammer. And the lampshades? Well, that’s probably just wear and tear. There’s a reason it only costs $42.50 a night there.

Terranova didn’t end up staying the night, but he did unwittingly create his own sequel to the carnage he would’ve faced if he had by buying a clown to take home. Stay tuned for its eventual possession and the gory aftermath.