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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Decemystery (2019) 15: Black Eyed Children

An artist's drawing of a Black Eyed Child.
I believe this was on the list for last year's Decemystery, but I scrapped it for something else. Better late than never; this is the story of the Black-Eyed Children.



Let Us In: The Mystery of the Black-Eyed Children


Also known as Black-Eyed Kids or BECs/BEKs, the Black-Eyed Children are are entities that ranged in age between 6 and 16 years. They resemble humans in almost everywhere, but their eyes are pitch black (sometimes said to resemble a starless night sky) and their skin is occasionally said to be pale. Their actions are almost always the same when seen: they appear, normally in pairs, and request to enter one’s house or vehicle for one reason or another. Usually, it’s at the request of getting a glass of water or hitching a ride because they left something back at home.


Generally when first seen: the children exhibit normal actions that most children would have. A general sense of innocence and their request is simple. However, whether by most not noticing it at first or through the power of being capable of hiding them, witnesses don’t notice their pitch-black eyes at first. When they do, an overwhelming sense of terror fills them and they feel almost hypnotized by them—or are paralyzed by fear/anxiety. The children will continue to repeat their request to enter the person’s house or vehicle as this goes on.


One of the more peculiar traits of these children—and something that will tie into a certain theory—is their sense of fashion. While not something necessarily odd given the modern day adoration for the fedora and trilby hats, it’s normally stated that the children dress in a very old fashioned style, usually in attire that’s reminiscent of the 1920s–1930s. This isn’t consistent with every single sighting, but a fair number of them often state this.


Sightings of Black-Eyed Children, supposedly, date back to 1996 when a journalist by the name of Brian Bethel reported seeing them. We’ll go over his sighting in a moment, but it’s worth mentioning that this supposed origin isn’t true. Sightings can be traced back to the 1980s and it’s likely that sightings of children with dark or completely black eyes go back even further.


Now, as for Bethel’s sighting, it supposedly took place in Abilene, Texas in 1988. Bethel was depositing a check—as some versions claim—when he was approached by two pre-teens who asked if they could get a lift back to their home as they left something their as they wanted to see a movie. Bethel was about to open his doors when he felt an overwhelming sense of dread. That’s when he noticed their eyes, which were completely black. With his “fight or flight” instincts having kicked into overdrive, Bethel locked his car doors and sped off into the night without a second thought.


Bethel would later publish his sighting and claimed that a similar—albeit completely unrelated—encounter occurred in Portland, Oregon, though I am not unable to find any information on this second encounter. As for Bethel, he later went on to tell his story again on the television show “Monsters and Mysteries in America” in 2012, where he reaffirmed that his encounter was real. He then wrote another article for the Abilene Reporter News where he yet again stated that what he experienced was absolutely real.


To give a few other encounters, I’ve yanked three from the Obscurban Legend Wiki and one from a video that I’d recently heard. They are as follows:


#1: The one from a video centered on a guy who’d been mowing the lawn of an elderly woman who’d been diagnosed with cancer. Just as he’d begun to mow, he saw a boy who was wearing a sweatshirt, despite it being summer. He approached the boy and he asked if he could enter the house for a glass of water. When he noticed the boy’s black eyes, he ran away, only to encounter another, much younger boy. Just like the older one, this boy asked if he could go inside for a glass of water.


The guy was soon faced by both black-eyed children and backed away into a garage, which he shut. However, he had no means of getting into the house, or to leave the property in general. After a bit, he left the garage and eventually fled the property, but not before he ran into the younger child, who fell to the ground and cried. Whether from guilt or from some other supernatural force, the guy stopped and considered going to help the child, but ultimately decided against it and ran home.


This story, I must admit, I’ve butchered a fair bit, but this is the general gist of it. If you wish to listen to the entire thing and the other stories that were a part of the video I heard it from, click here.


#2: This story apparently originates from a website called The Richest. A nameless was camping in a remote part that resided near a beach. While preparing a fire, two young men—both in their teens—and asked if they could share the tent the man had set up. Naturally uncomfortable at the prospect of sharing his tent with two strangers—and because he was certain he was alone in the woods—he looked at the two boys, only to be met with pitch black eyes. Terrified, he went into his tent, though the boys stayed there the entire night, begging to be let in.


#3: The final two stories I’ll be sharing originate from a website called Weird US. I have no idea if this website is by any means one that can be considered viable, but I figured I’d make note of it.


This second story is from a woman named Kathy Woods, who resides in Union, New Jersey. As she was leaving a supermarket—which was about to close for the night—she heard a voice call out.


“Hey, lady, need any help?”


According to Kathy, she immediately knew that the owner of the voice wasn’t someone she wanted to associate with. As she put it, the voice was “devoid of emotion, of any sort of accent, [and] of any sort of life.” When she turned around, she saw only one kid, who immediately said the following:


“Let me help. I’ll load all that stuff up for you. You just have to give me a ride home.”


The child then grinned, to which Kathy immediately felt sick to her stomach. That’s when she realized why: the child’s eyes were black. Yet, despite this extreme level of unease, Kathy claims that there was something about the eyes that was hypnotizing, but not in a normal way. Rather, in a way that was “very aggressive” and “just plain bad.” As such, Kathy screamed “no” and threw the last bag of groceries into her car’s trunk (and spilled a fair number of items over the ground in the process) before running to the driver’s seat and getting in. As she did, she could hear the same voice giggling and laughing at her. Ignoring it, she drove off, but hasn’t been able to forget the incident.


#4: This fourth story, which is from a man named David Casey, I’d normally reword as I normally do, but I cannot in good faith no share it as it’s written as it had me laughing for a solid two minutes straight.


One spring morning a few years back, my doorbell rang. I answered it. Standing in front of me was a boy, I'd say about the age of 15, and a girl who looked to be roughly the same age. "Can I help you?" I asked. "Can we use your phone?" the girl asked in response. "No," I answered, and shut the door. I slammed the door on these kids because, although they seemed pleasant enough, they had black eyes. And I'm sorry, but that's just way too much for me. I figured you guys may have heard something about this. Am I going completely insane, or what?


That’s easily the best response I’ve ever seen to any sort of paranormal encounter in my life.


With those stories told: it’s worth saying that these are but a fraction of the numerous tales of black-eyed children out there. You can find a fair number of YouTube readings of supposedly true encounters with them. One minor detail that these stories fail to mention—whether because it isn’t a trait of all of BECs or because the witness didn’t notice it (somehow)—is that after the children leave, the smell of sulfur is present.


There exist two photographs—at least that the Obscurban Legend wiki has—of these creepy children. Here they are. If anyone knows the origin to them, do let me know (and no, I didn’t add the circle in the second picture).




In a story that’s a bit too lengthy for me to go over due to time constraints, there was a woman who allegedly let the black-eyed children into her home and later got cancer. You can read the entire story here on weekinweird. Apparently, more people later let the kids into their homes and also developed cancer. To add a bit of my own take into this: who would’ve thought that children with pitch black eyes would be bad news? Real conundrum here, chief.


In 2012, a horror film that was successfully funded by Kickstarter entitled Black Eyed Kids was made; the director later stating that he was inspired by the stories to make the film. In 2013, an article on MSN that featured the children was published and taken down with an hours. It’s believed by some that this helped refuel interest in the story and likewise helped spread hysteria in younger readers about the fear of the children. I recall being rather spooked by the article. I also recall seeing a few other news publications criticize MSN for allowing the article to go up.


In what may be one of the most laughably transparent examples of sensationalism, the British tabloid Daily Star ran three front-page stories in a single week in September of 2014. These stories claimed that sightings of BECs were connected to the sale of a Staffordshire pub that was said to be haunted. The tabloid then went on to claim that a “shock rise in sightings around the world” had occurred. While these claims aren’t grounded in any discernible proof beyond stories told on the Internet, they’re nonetheless taken seriously by those who investigate claims of the paranormal. There are a number of theories that we’ll be getting into in a bit.


On one final note—which can be found on the Wikipedia page for BECs—a science author by the name of Sharon A. Hill was “unable” to find any sort of documentation of these children and, ultimately, concluded that they are “friend of a friend” ghost stories that have taken on a life of their own as most urban legends tend to do. Hill also stated that the legend bares a resemblance to that of the phantom black dog, which is often associated with hellhounds, and that there likely never was an original encounter (contrary to what Bethel claims). As a nail on the coffin, Snopes—a website that’s dedicated to fact checking and was originally focused primarily on urban legends—labeled the BECs as being nothing more than an urban legend.


To this day however, there are sightings of black-eyed children, though they aren’t as frequent as stories of entities like Shadow People. What they lack in sightings however, the BECs more than make up for in theories. I’ve managed to find a dozen of them in fact, so let’s begin.


Theories


1. They’re demons


Probably the most popular theory among those who believe in these children is that they’re demons. Their appearance, their ability to invoke unbelievable amounts of terror into those that see them, the supposed smell of sulfur after they’ve disappeared, and their soulless black eyes all point in that direction. However, there’s one detail that I left out for this specific section: some claim that some BECs have “talons” for feet. Some also claim that they have other demonic features, though what those features are isn’t elaborated upon.


More often than not—or rather, 99% of the time—these children are just that: seemingly normal children. However, in some cases, one could be mistaken for thinking that these children are demons. Though is it true? Well, there are 11 other theories, so let’s not judge too quickly just yet.


1a. They’re Shadow People


That said, there’s one offshoot of the demon theory that’s worth mentioning and that’s of these children actually being Shadow People.


This is a mystery that we’ll be going over far sooner than one may think. The gist of them is that they’re a type of entity or spirit that’s manifested from intense emotion—such as hatred—and begins to haunt the location that the person resides in at the time of the manifestation. This entity can be malevolent and even downright aggressive, or merely a benign spirit that exists.


When we go over Shadow People, I’m likely going to include over a dozen various sightings and stories of what these things actually are (including ones from this blog’s co-author), but just understand that their intentions are hard to gauge. This, in turn, matches up with the BECs to some degree. However, are they one in the same?


That’s a bit hard to pin down.


If one is to believe that the BECs were the cause of cancer in those who let them into their houses, then I’d lean towards them being something entirely different. While Shadow People have been blamed in physical harm, I’ve never heard of them bringing death upon those they haunted, but I could be mistaken and have missed a story. Shadow People are also generally not quite as detailed as BECs are; they’re generally pitch black, but humanoid in shape and size. A good example of this is the “Hatman”, a Shadow Person who sports a fedora of sorts. While that attire fits in with the BECs, nobody really knows what kind of clothing Hatman wears. It could be 1920s garments, disco-era clothing, or he could be wearing John Wayne Gacy’s clown outfit.


Nonetheless, this theory is one of the few that holds some decent weight should you be a firm believer in both Shadow People and black-eyed children.


2. They’re aliens


It wouldn’t be a story about a creepy entity if one of the theories didn’t involve aliens. In fact, three of them involve aliens! In this case, the BECs are just aliens. Why are knocking on doors in the dead of night, asking to help with groceries, or want a glass of water? Some may claim it’s their attempt at manners. Others may say they want to embrace the role of acting like a child. Whatever the case may be, their intentions are even vaguer and more bizarre.


To some, they want to harvest our DNA and breed us out of existence. In some other cases, they want to breed with us to create hybrids (this is actually a theory we’ll get to in a bit). The intentions are generally not good, but make little to no sense in the way of a hyper-intelligent species that can travel light years to get here only to then capitulate under social anxiety.


While I’ll concede that the BECs do encapsulate the mannerisms of an alien trying to fit in among earthlings (right down to the children supposedly speaking like proper adults), the idea that aliens wouldn’t simply abduct a specimen they see as being right for what they want to create is really bizarre. Why would they travel light years—trillions upon trillions of miles—to enact their experiment[s], only to them decide to take on the form of children so they can “use the phone”?


3. They’re vampires


This theory stems from a certain part of the BECs mannerisms: their requests to enter the house (or the request to be driven somewhere, rather than trying to break a window to enter). In Vampiric lore, it’s generally stated that a vampire must first be invited into the house, they cannot simply enter on their own. Coupled with their pale skin and you more or less have what would seem like a vampire, only it’s a child.


Exactly how these children survive out in the daylight and why the one child didn’t immediately attack Kathy as she put the groceries into her car, I don’t know. I’ve wanted to cover real life vampire stories for some time, but this is as close as I’ll get for a bit. So I may as well add this: stories of real life vampires are by no means something unique. The same goes for werewolves. While the idea may seem silly, many people have claimed to have encountered the monsters of legend and are adamant about it. Now as to whether or not you believe them is an entirely different story. Me, personally, I love to listen to the stories as play video games, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely skeptical of them.


This applies to this theory too. While I think it’s a very fascinating comparison and the two do share some similarities, I think that there are a few too many lore-based discrepancies (if I’m to be nice about it). From a more hard, skeptical angle: how have these creatures survived all this time and where are the corpses of those who’ve had their blood drained?


4. They’re merely ghosts


A benevolent version of the demon theory, this one states that the children are merely spirits that are trapped in this world and haven’t successfully moved on to the next one. While the idea of a ghost is normally one that’s tied to either the general location that they died at (e.g. a person who died in a house—peacefully or violently—resides in the house; same with one who dies on a specific roadway), these children never seem to be specifically tied to one area. In fact, it seems that no one BEC is seen more than once. As such, the idea of them being benevolent in nature isn’t normally accepted, but some do believe their intentions aren’t malicious in nature.


5. They’re real children with iris deformities


Let me preface this by saying that I am not a doctor and I don’t jack squat about the human eye, outside of how some (myself included) believe it’s the gateway to the human soul. That said, there’s a theory from those who are skeptical of the urban legend and think that a rational explanation for the sighting could be a genetic disorder or a simple deformity tied to the development of the colorization of the eyes. I have no idea if this is possible, but it’s been put forward by some. My one issue with it is that I question why these children are seen in pairs. One would think a deformity like this would be exceedingly rare, not something that’s likely to affect two children of the same parent[s].


6. They’re mutants


While the idea that Charles Xavier wants to recruit these enigmatic children to join his school that’s located out in the middle of nowhere to fight Magneto is quite fun, we’re unfortunately not dealing with that case. Rather, this theory… posits something that I’ve been dreading discussing for sometime: hybridization between humans and aliens.


There have been stories of aliens abducting humans and breeding with them for a fair bit of time. One story I’ve never forgotten is the man who was abducted by a Venusian, who was allegedly the most beautiful thing the man had ever seen, and the two bred like rabbits (my own wording here) until they had to break it off. The Venusian then tried to murder the man while he showered. Love is strange and for Valentine’s Day, I’ll try to make it a point to cover this in more detail, but I make no promises as the topic is a rabbit hole.


Anyways, the idea here is that these children are the products of that interspecies breeding and now the children roam the Earth for reasons that aren’t clearly stated. Whatever the case may be, let’s just hope that the lovers weren’t murdered over this.


7. They’re cryptids


Technically speaking, this isn’t really a theory, but given their status: BECs fall into this category by default. As such, this is more or less here for completion's sake.


8. They’re interdimensional entities


Time to enter the wormhole again and visit Taured! Oh wait, no, it’s the man’s child who needs the telephone.


This theory posits that the kids are from another dimension. How’d they get here? Well, our universes/dimensions crossed over and they were dropped here for a bit and eventually went back to their own. Now as to why the kids seem to perpetually have mundane requests before they return, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps this is a frequent occurrence in their world and using something like that helps them get back home.


9. They’re tied to the Men in Black


This theory originates from Mysterious Universe and is one that I personally love, but find laughably silly. The idea is that these children are either tied to the legendary Men in Black or they’re one-in-the-same and the MiB and BEC are aliens (see above). This theory stems from their similarities in their attire and mannerisms, which I will concede are quite similar.


#1: They both have a tendency to knock on doors late at night, though they do sometimes knock during the day.


#2: They both wear old-fashioned clothing. As Mysterious Universe puts it: both wear black, both wear head-gear (1950s fedoras for the MiB while the children wear hoodies), though the children don’t wear black sunglasses. I’d personally argue that the BECs don’t need them as their eyes are already black.


#3: They request to be invited into one’s home (though the children mix things up by sometimes wanting a lift) rather than immediately entering on their own.


This has led some to believe that perhaps the MiB and BECs are the same entity, which the MiB being grown up BECs. Could it be true? Given that the MiB are tied to aliens and the children are tied to generally nothing, instead wanting something extremely mundane, I’m doubtful. Unless both are aliens and their agendas are wildly different in nature.


10. They don’t exist and it’s simply an urban legend


This theory is the most popular if you’re a skeptic—or at least don’t buy anonymous stories on the Internet. Simply put: it posits that all of the stories are made up—or at least fueled by the bias of seeing someone whose eyes appear black (be it from it being dark out, a trick of the eyes, or something else) or are simply made up for fun or to pull a prank. Or they’re stories a friend of a friend. Nothing more, nothing less.


11. It’s just cases of misidentification of real children thanks to light and shadow hiding the colors of iris’


This theory posits that the coloring of the pupils and iris’ as a whole are darkened thanks to shadows and whatnot. I’m no expert on lighting, so I cannot verify how possible this is. Nevertheless: it’s a theory thrown around as a rational explanation for some sightings.


12. They’re Native American spirits


This theory originates from a book entitled “Your Haunted Lives: The Black-Eyed Kids”. In it, the writer posits the theory that an Iroquois spirit named the “Otkon” is the reason for the BECs.


Allegedly, the Iroquois tribe believed in a dark power that was called the Otkon. This power was capable of taking over children and an “Evil One” would proceed to impregnate human females; the off-spring being chalky skinned children with black eyes. These black-eyed children were subsequently killed by the tribe after birth and burned in order to prevent them from resurrecting.


Simply breeding wasn’t the only way the Otkon could create a black-eyed child though. Supposedly, a child that wandered alone in the woods was vulnerable to being possessed by it. Once they found their way back to civilization, the child would have black eyes, pale skin, and would act nervously and repeat themselves.


The writer goes on to state that the end goal of the Otkon was to destroy the tribe and infect everyone in it with Otkon (that’s what the paragraph states; it isn’t “the Otkon”, but rather “with Otkon”, not sure why).


I’ve always been fascinated with Native American stories and this one is no exception. It’s a very morbid and unnerving story and if it’s a real legend from the Iroquois tribe, it’s likely the exact origin of the BECs themselves. However, I cannot verify this as there’s no Wikipedia article or anything else akin to something like that. I could just be missing something though. Nevertheless, are the BECs a product of the Otkon? That depends on how you view the legends and stories spread by Native American tribes. I’ll leave that one up to you.


My Take


I’m a firm believer in the paranormal (I’ve had my own experiences), but the stories of the black-eyed children leave me on the fence. On one hand, a spirit with pitch black eyes isn’t in of itself weird. However, the mannerisms of these children, coupled with their origin being something murky and very inconsistent in the way of historical sightings leaves me to believe that it may be a mixture of an urban legend kept alive by the Internet and a deformity of some sort on some kids. If there is any truth to the stories however, I’m definitely of the opinion that these children aren’t benevolent in nature. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was something akin to the Otkon, but that’s strictly just me. One of these days, I’ll dedicate a week or two to various Native American legends, such as the Skinwalker, Wendigo, Thunderbird and other stories like them.


Conclusion


I’ve never been good with children—personally at least—and the black-eyed children further prove to me that I’d be a horrible parent. It’s one thing when a child actually has colored eyes, but it’s another when they’re just black, soulless orbs. Oh well, at least they aren’t the White-Eyed Children.

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