Standing on the quiet street outside, the brick bungalow at 222 Chatham Street in Brantford, Ontario, looks perfectly charming. Around back, there's a large, organized shed full of assorted tools and a spacious backyard with luscious green grass — nothing out of the ordinary. It's only when you enter the two-bedroom home that you'll begin to notice something odd.
In some rooms, it's fairly subtle.
In others... well, it's hard to miss.
Clown dolls, framed portraits of clowns, a life-sized clown statue (!), clowns that fill an entire glass wardrobe in the living room — there are a lot of clowns chilling in this 748-square-foot home, to say the least.
But the story behind this insane clown house is actually quite heartwarming, and isn't the result of a creepy obsession with the movie "It." The owners are an elderly couple in their 80s who have lived in the house for more than 30 years, their son Michael McMannis told . The clowns came about after Michael's mother became worried about his stepdad's tendency to go out dancing and "drink a little too much," Michael said.
"My stepdad had a drinking issue as perceived by my mother," he told Vice. "Every clown represents a bottle of beer that he would have bought." So instead of spending money on alcohol, they'd buy a clown together every time they went out. The result: a wide-ranging collection of more than 1,500 clowns that has grown steadily over the past 25 years, filling their entire home.
Because the couple will soon be moving in with Michael and his wife, their house was put up for sale and . It didn't take long for the listing to attract some attention, but realtor Kyle Jansink told he was surprised that the listing blew up online. "I would have never guessed. I just knew there was a lot of clowns," he said.
The couple have received mixed reactions from visitors to their home over the years, with "some people that love them and some people that will walk into the house and run away," Michael told Vice. But while the clowns may not have much monetary value themselves — you're more likely to find McDonald's toys than anything vintage — their unique collection was successful in combatting his stepdad's drinking. And soon, he said, they'll be boxed up into the crawl space of Michael and his wife's home. Out of sight, but never far ...