Pretty soon, nowhere in the United States will be safe from creepy clowns, or creepy clown hoaxes, depending on whether you're a believer or a skeptic. More than a dozen states have now had some kind of reported clown sighting, threat or investigation, from sword-wielding clowns in New Jersey, to cash-stacking clowns in South Carolina, to clowns that like to kick it in a Chicago cemetery.

The latest cities checking in with clown hysteria are Dallas, where the Dallas Morning News reports that four high schools ramped up security after clown-related threats popped up on social media, and Philadelphia, where NBC 10 reports that authorities are taking clown threats against schools seriously. Those reports come a day after clown threats on social media put schools in Houston on alert, KHOU reported.

Many of the nationwide clown threats have been proven to be hoaxes. In Ohio, a woman admitted she made up her report of being attacked by a clown to get out of being late for work. A few of the cases have involved people actually dressed up as clowns chasing people. The New York Times reported that at least 12 people have been arrested in clown incidents nationwide, including two teenagers who terrified younger children while wearing clown masks near Richmond, Va. 

The majority of the clown hysteria, though, is unexplained, and nearly impossible to prove, like this woman's story from Fort Worth, Tex., where she says she encountered creepy clowns peering into cars in a Target parking lot.

And you know it has gotten bad when Stephen King, the man who wrote It, which has probably fueled more creepy clown fear than any other single piece of pop culture, has to weigh in on the situation to defend clowns.