The Real Story Behind 'Wrinkles the Clown' Is Weirder Than You Think

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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers.

A new documentary tells the story of Wrinkles the Clown, who first went viral after video showed him crawling out from underneath a little girl's bed. 

Wrinkles, who got his name thanks to a distinctive droopy mask with empty black sockets for eyes, was profiled by The Washington Post in 2015. For "a few hundred bucks cash," he told the paper then, he'd scare your child into behaving. Little stickers around Florida with a phone number offered a way to contact him.

He refused to reveal his name at the time, saying only that he was a retired veteran who moved to Florida from Rhode Island. 

So who's behind the mask? In the new doc, titled "Wrinkles the Clown," it seems like we might finally meet him, but halfway through there's a major twist: The man we've seen glimpses of is, in fact, an actor, hired to portray Wrinkles. 

As for the real Wrinkles? Well, he does appear on screen, but only in silhouette, his voice altered. 

And it turns out his story was massively exaggerated. He reveals that the videos showing him terrifying kids were all set up. He also says that he never hired himself out to frighten children, though the calls to his phone number are real. 

Michael Beach Nichols, director of "Wrinkles the Clown," said that Wrinkles never anticipated he would go viral.

"When we spoke with him it definitely seemed like he himself was pretty disturbed with the content of the calls that he was receiving," Nichols said. "For him, it was pretty mind-blowing, the reaction."

He added of the documentary: "The story was a lot about the internet and the way that children experience the internet. ... Children have these myths and help them spread."

Nichols continued: "There are things on the internet that people tend to sometimes take at face value. ... Wrinkles the Clown, even though it's sort of a lighthearted look at one phenomenon, it portends a potentially darker future online where the truth will be a lot harder to tease out."


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