“The poor clown who suffers the death penalty twelve times a week usually enters the ring, and after performing certain actobatic feats, commits some crime agains his fellows, for which he is condemned to die. He is placed apon the block, his head is covered with a cloth. Harlequin approaches as executioner, and begins to cut with a huge knife across the victim’s neck. In a moment all is over, the cloth is removed, and Harlequin lifts in the air the severed head. Delighted with his trophy, he carries it about under his arm, places it in a charger in the center of the ring and finally takes it back to the block wrapped up in the cloth, and places it by the side of the headless trunk. He removes the cloth, and then in sport places a lighted cigarette in its mouth. In a little while you notice that the cigarette begins to glow, smoke comes from the nose, and the eyes roll. Evidently the head has come to life. Not able to bear the horrible sight, he throws the cloth again over the head, seizes it, places it in its original position on the shoulders of the victim, kneads it to the body, and suddenly the figure rises, head and all, and bows to the audience – an orthodox clown.” (Scientific American, 1890)
What can I say? Clowns are creepy.