John Wayne Gacy: The Killer Clown

TRIGGER WARNING: this article includes mentions of sexual assault toward men and children.


John Wayne Gacy, known as the Killer Clown, was born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois to John Stanley Gacy and Marion Robinson. He was the middle child, with one older sister named Joanne and one younger sister named Karen. His childhood was rife with hardships. His Father was an abusive alcoholic who beat the whole family. Despite this, Gacy admired his dad and tried to win his affection, however he was never able to. When Gacy was seven he got sexually assaulted by a family friend but never told his family about it. While he was in elementary school he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition which lead him to gain a lot of weight, as he couldn’t exercise. Because of this weight gain, he was bullied by his peers. At eleven he was hospitalized for unexplained blackouts and spent five years after that in and out of the hospital before the doctors discovered Gacy had a blood clot in his brain. Because of all his health problems, he dropped out of school and became involved with politics at age eighteen. His father didn’t approve of this though, so soon after this he packed his stuff and moved to Las Vegas, where his disturbing, violent life of crime began.
In Las Vegas he started working for a mortuary. This is where he had a terrible awakening. He worked there for ninety days before he got curious and climbed into the coffin of a teenage boy and began fondling him. Disgusted by his actions, he moved back home the next day. Back home, he graduated from Northwestern Business College, become very invested in local politics – specifically the Junior Chamber of Commerce, called the Jaycees –, got married to Marlynn Meyers, and moved to Waterloo, Iowa. It would seem that the incident at the mortuary was just a fluke. However, the Jaycees, who were respected leaders in their community, had a very shady side. They would often use drugs, hire prostitutes, and watch pornography. This community he was involved in and his sense of superiority over being a community leader with a wife who owned three KFC restaurants lead him back to that fateful night in the mortuary. During the late 1960s he turned his basement into a teen hideout and began luring teenage boys in with offers of alcohol and porn. He then would sexually assault them when they were too drunk to know what was happening. He was able to avoid the police until 1967 when one of his victims, a fifteen-year-old boy who worked in Gacy’s house, told the police how he was sexually assaulted by him. Gacy was arrested soon after and sentenced to ten years in prison but he only served two. In 1971 he was released from prison and, having lost his job and his wife who divorced him while he was in prison, he moved back to Chicago. He then immediately tried to rape a teenage boy but failed. A year later, he lured a homeless sixteen-year-old boy named Timothy Jack McCoy to his house with the promise of letting him stay the night. Then he killed him the next morning after mistakenly assuming McCoy was out to kill him when really he was making breakfast. McCoy was the first of thirty-three young boys who were lured into his house, sexually assaulted, murdered, and then found in the crawlspace under his house in 1977 after one of his victims escaped and contacted the police. He confessed to the crimes and was executed on May 10th, 1994 by lethal injection. He is known as the killer clown, however he never actually killed people as a clown, rather he just had a bizarre fascination with clowns and liked to dress up as them (if you’re interested in this aspect look up his artwork. They’re awful, horrifying, and weirdly all clowns). John Wayne Gacy will go down in history as being a savage and disgusting monster who prematurely ended the lives on 33 young boys and traumatized many others whom he decided not to kill. The most terrifying aspect of his story to me is that on the outside he looked like a normal everyday man.