Sigh. Every now and then, you come across a news story that just positively warms the cockles of your cold, dead heart and reminds you what it is you love about humanity.

This breaking news about Carolinian children being terrorized by weapon-wielding forest clowns is definitely one of those times.

The story began last week in South Carolina, when some kids in Greenville reported being harassed by a clique of terrifying, knife-wielding clowns who tried to lure them into the woods.

The clowns offered them money to enchant them to visit their "house down by the pond," but the children, not yet absorbed in the fiscal desperation of student loan debt, refused and ran away to tell an adult.

That same night, a woman reported hearing "clanging," and opened her door to find a man dressed in a clown costume rattling chains on her porch.

Another woman told police a large clown figure had "slowly waved" to her from under a street lamp as she passed by him on her way home.

No arrests were made during the clown outbreak that night, but they continued to be sighted all over the Greenville area.

James Arnold, a parent who lives in the apartments near where the kids rejected the clown money, told Buzzfeed News what his children claim happened.

"[Our kids] mentioned, 'Mama, there's clowns out there in the woods and they're trying to get us to come out there,'" Arnold said. "Some had chains, some had knives, and some were holding out money, saying, 'Come here, we've got candy for you,' but they wouldn't go."

After an incident report was filed describing "several clowns in the woods flashing green laser lights," the Greenville County Sheriff's Office began an investigation. So far, there's not much actual evidence of the creepy-ass forest bozos, but, their plague seems to be spreading. Now, it appears that the scourge of shitty ICP wannabes has expanded into the northern territory of the other Carolina.

Just last Monday, some kids in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reported an eerily similar encounter to the ones South Carolina’s youth have been having.

They’d been playing near another forested area when they allegedly encountered a guy dressed in a clown outfit remarkably similar to the ones reported in South Carolina. He was calling out to them and offering them candy. This one wasn’t swinging a chain or offering cash bribes, but he did seem pretty adamant that the kids should have some sugary treats to destroy their gums.

Again, the kids were not down for that party, and they rejected the clown’s saccharine advances. They ran back home to tell an adult, who later called the police.

Later that night, another a clown sighting was reported at around 12:30 AM in the area, prompting police to decide to increase their security presence in the area.

… Too bad that only made the clown infection stronger. The next morning, a man reported seeing yet another bozo — this time wearing a yellow polka-dotted shirt, a mask, blue pants, and curly hair outside his apartment complex in Greensboro.

According to the News & Record, the man then decided to take matters into his own hands do what any sane person would do in the midst of a clown epidemic, and chased the creepy jester down the street with a machete before the clown escaped back into the forest.

It's not clear if each sighting was the same clown, but it looks like both Carolinas are now dealing with their own It-like nightmares. It's only a matter of time before this contagion spreads westward to our mountainous home, rich with the forestry that clowns seem to so deeply enjoy.

So many questions here.

Why do they only appear in cities with “Green” in the name?

Why do all clowns live in the forest?

Which bathroom do they use in North Carolina?

I know what you're thinking and no, this isn't just run-off from the Gathering of the Juggalos (that was in July) — rather, my theory is that this clown outbreak is just a bunch of freaky-ass adults sharing the contagious joy of scaring children. They're just doing their part to remind our nation's youth that life isn't all sunshine and sugar-free fruit snacks their moms make them eat; it's dark and horrific and traumatizing and that's real.

Plus, what are these kids doing outside anyway? They should be inside, face-deep in a computer, microwaving their brains with mindless social media that destroys their future ability to communicate on an interpersonal level. That's how people operate these days. That's where they belong. We have the clowns to thank for putting them back in their place.

Thanks, Patch Adams!