It’s late, it’s dark and you’re in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps you’re walking down a lonely stretch of moonlit road, maybe you’re in a desolate parking lot trying to get your car started or perhaps you’re nestled in the warmth of your own home reading yourself to sleep; whatever the circumstance, you find yourself in an isolated locale when you’re suddenly startled by a sharp knock at the door or window. You look up from your steering wheel or cautiously pull back the curtain to see… wait for it… a pair of thin, trendily dressed, usually olive skinned teenagers.
Sounds pretty anti-climatic, right? But just wait; these aren’t your average, ordinary scallywags. These adolescents have something horribly wrong with them -- something almost none of the witnesses notice at first glance -- it’s their eyes. These “creatures” have no white corneas, no colorful irises, just a pair of big, black, shark-like eyes that inspire abject horror in all who have claimed to have seen them.
What’s worse is that these bizarre younglings aren’t content to scare you and continue on their merry way; no they are insistent that you help them. They stare through you with those dull ebony orbs and demand you let them in your car and give them a ride home or that they be allowed into your house to use your phone. The most horrifying aspect of all of this is that those who claim to have encountered these sinister kids swear that they've had to actively resist the temptation to do their bidding, as if their voices carried some sort of hypnotic influence.
Stories of Black Eyed Kids -- or BEKs as they were swiftly dubbed -- have been popping up all over the internet for over a decade, but have yet to achieve any real pop culture notoriety… you’ll know when that happens as soon as you start seeing commercials for a Wes Craven’s or Eli Roth’s new movie based on the “horrifying, real-life phenomena!”
This strange trend was first reported by journalist Brian Bethel on January 16, 1998. According to Bethel, two boys approached him while he was sitting in his parked car. Bethel described the kids in prototypical BEK fashion as stylish, olive skinned kids. The boys asked for a ride home explaining that they were on their way to the movies, but had forgotten their money.
Bethel claimed that he was overwhelmed by a “fight-or-flight” response, but was nevertheless tempted to allow the boys entrance into the vehicle. He resisted the urge, which seemed to only agitate the boys, who grew ever more adamant that they be allowed into the car. It was then that Bethel finally noticed their “coal black” eyes, whereupon he was momentarily paralyzed with fear.
The black-eyed beings seemed to realize that their window of opportunity was closing and their demands reached a fever pitch, at which point Bethel collected himself and promptly exited the scene. Thus began the “official” saga of the BEKs.
As is evident to anyone who’s ever roasted marshmallows in front of an open flame, tales of BEKs have a lot of the characteristics of a classic campfire story. In fact, one of the most harrowing accounts I’ve come across concerns a man who decided to ignore years of cinematic warnings issued by scores of horror films and go camping alone. This unlucky fellow first encountered a pair of BEKs in an empty men’s room and then foolishly decided to sleep unaccompanied in his tent next to a lonely lake some miles away.
According to his chilling tale, these kids managed to track him to his tent where they spent the better part of the night begging to be let in from the cold. The man spent a sleepless night in the center of his tent doing his best to ignore their pleas for shelter, all the while convinced that any second they were going to burst in on him and end his life. As dawn broke, the chap was relieved to discover that he was once again on his own. He packed frenziedly and left posthaste, vowing to never camp on his own again.
Another of the numerous accounts of BEK encounters concerned a woman named “Adele” who was in the relative safety of her home when she had a harrowing experience with BEKs. She described the encounter thusly:
"I was sitting in my bedroom reading a book, when at about 11:00 p.m. I heard a knocking… a slow, constant one. I got up out of bed to see what it was. I looked out of the window and to my surprise saw two children. I opened the window and asked them what they wanted at this time of night. They replied by saying simply, 'Let us in’. I said no and asked what for. 'We want to use your bathroom’.”
"I was quite shocked that children of about 10 years-old wanted to use a stranger's bathroom at this time of night. I told them no, closed the window, but looked at them through the glass. I glanced at their eyes... and I have never ever seen eyes like them. They were black, completely black. I got the feeling of evil and unhappiness. It surrounded me. It was horrible."
As if that weren’t creepy enough, apparently military security is no obstacle for these entities as one Marine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina can attest. The Marine was up late watching a movie in the infantry barracks where he lived in November of 2009. Being the weekend, all of his cohorts were either out drinking or asleep, and when he heard a knock at his door he assumed it was merely his roommate who had a habit of forgetting his keys.
When he opened the door the young Marine would receive the shock of his life, for it was not his buddy standing in the walkway, but a pair of BEKs. The Marine insisted that his first instinct was to slam the door and lock it, but he was unable to do so. He described the experience in vivid detail:
“I couldn't take my eyes of their pitch-black eyes; it was like they were sucking me in. I felt horrible and was suddenly frightened for my life, like I needed to immediately take cover. They just stared at me, with those goddamn eyes.”
“I took a quick look up and down the walkway to see if any other Marines were out, but there was nobody in site. I turned back to the kids who I noticed had taken a step forward toward me. I got the feeling like I was being hunted, like these kids where predators and out for their next meal or something. Instinct gave way to reason and I decided to listen to that voice and shut the door and locked it.”
It would seem that even other children are not immune to contact from these entities and -- if this report is to be believed -- they are even willing to get physical with those who are ostensibly their own age. This alarming account was posted online by a 16-year old boy who had a run in with a pair of BEKs outside of his home. In his own words -- typos and all:
“I was skateboarding at around 10:30 last night and i had stopped to take a rest when i was approached by two kids one with blonde hair and a baseball cap pointed and a skateboard painted all black on the bottom and the other slightly less intimitdating as he look to be around 8 he had blonde hair also and was wearing a spiderman shirt the older one spoke to me as i had my head hanging low.”
"Hey, kid can you help us were lost we need to use a phone can you take us to your house?" I looked up at them and immediatly felt Dread and dispair i stood up quickly sensing something was wrong " Uh, you can use my cellphone if you want" the older kid seemed annoyed then and look me in the eyes it was then that i noticed they were black all black not in white i could see " Hey cool contacts where did you get them" i asked.”
"There not Contacts" he said flatly " Yea well sorry i couldn't help you guys out but im going inside" i turned around and started to ride but somehow the older kid caught up with me and grabbed my sholder " YOU will let us use your phone WE NEED TO GO INSIDE BUT WE CAN"T IF YOU DON"T TAKE US TO YOUR HOUSE" it was at this point i hit him in the face and ran up the stairs to my house and shook for hours later when i was on the computer i looked outside my window and the kids were staring at the window i told my mother and of course she didn't belive me.”
This is the first encounter I’ve heard of where there was physical contact between a BEK and a human being. Does this represent a trend of increasing physical violence that these creatures will employ to get their way or is it merely a case of a weaker individual getting bullied by an unknown entity? Perhaps only time will tell.
These cases and scores of others have been reported from all across the globe with very few variances. Some neglect the olive skin, while other reports state that the BEKs were dressed in fashionable clothes of another period rather than contemporary trends. Most of these cases involve a pair of boys, but there are also reports of adult women and even one bizarre account by an elderly couple concerning group of black-eyed teens that pulled in front of their house in a new van. While a pair of BEKs attempted to gain access to their home they noticed that the rest of them were walk a dachshund in front of their house. Needless to say these cases represent the exceptions and not the rule.
So presupposing this phenomenon is not only real, but increasing in frequency we are forced to ask the most basic question…
This query is as fascinating as it is frustrating, as it would seem that BEKs dwell in that nebulous void between demonology, ufology, cryptozoology and the plain old paranormal. This is a dark and perplexing realm wherein the most eccentric entities -- such as the New Jersey Devil or Point Pleasant’s Mothman among others -- are said to exist, carving their own unique niches in these distinctly different disciplines.
As BEKs seem to virtually materialize out of thin air there is very little evidence suggesting a point of origin. This, of course, has done nothing to prevent the volumes of speculation which has run rampant across the internet. The theories run the gamut from the barely credible to the utterly inconceivable, but perhaps the most peculiar -- yet somehow logical -- hypothesis is that these creatures are in fact…
Having yielded a better part of my misspent youth to monster flicks such as “The Lost Boys” and televisions shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I have to admit that there is a certain horrible appeal to the notion that fashionable, charismatic vampires may be stalking our streets.
To begin with the bulk of BEK encounters consist of youthful, usually dapper young men who employ hypnotic voices and mesmerizing black eyes to try and coerce their “victims” into doing their bidding. Secondly, these beings have displayed an evident inability to enter someone’s property without first being invited. It’s difficult to argue that these attributes aren’t vampire-like.
Still, as scores of scholars have noted in the past half-century, the concept of the seductive, chic, trance inducing vampire is more the product of modern fiction than ancient legend. Traditionally speaking vampires are not young and suave Edward Cullen types, but bestial creatures that look like bloated corpses with blood slathered maws.
While, to date, attempted blood consumption has not figured into any reported BEK encounters, it bears noting that there is not a single account from anyone who has succumbed to the demands of these black-eyed beings and actually allowed them into their home, car or tent. When speculating as to why this is, it is difficult not to assume the worst… there is a real possibility that exsanguination may play into the ultimate fates of those who indulge these creatures, but that, of course, is pure conjecture.
So, assuming we’re not dealing with vampires, then how about the equally outlandish possibility that these entities may be…
The scant bit of evidence that suggests that BEKs might be a the result of a strange synthesis of human and extraterrestrial DNA comes not from any reported UFOs seen at the sites of BEK encounters -- which, as far as I know, has never happened -- but from the vague reference some female alien abductees have had toward encountering half-human, half-Grey alien babies that were allegedly created utilizing their unfertilized eggs, which were extracted from them during the diminutive extraterrestrials’ notoriously invasive examinations.
More than a few of these unfortunate women have claimed to come into contact with humanoid babies,which they described as having olive shaded skin and jet-black, almond shaped eyes. Frankly, this wild supposition offers barely enough data to even call it a theory, but a more plausible explanation might be that BEKs are actually…
While some might be tempted to think that BEKs are merely the lost spirits of departed children who are sorrowfully wandering the Earth seeking help from adults, it should be noted that in each and every case the eyewitnesses have claimed to have felt an almost overpowering rush of fear when they came into contact with these beings. It’s as if they instinctively knew that they were not dealing with harmless children, but dangerous predators in disguise.
Admittedly “gut instinct” is not easy to classify as evidence, but the universality of this feeling in those who come across BEKs makes it difficult to dismiss. I also find it hard to believe that lost children -- be they alive or dead -- would consistently inspire such terror in adults. Wandering spirits may not be the answer in this case, but that leaves open the alternate paranormal possibility that these beings might just be…
Like the existence of Noah’s Ark or the stone tablets that Moses retrieved from the peak of Mount Sinai, belief in demons is a matter of faith. If one is predisposed to believing in the existence of angelic or demonic entities, then one would be hard pressed not to consider the fact that BEKs might be old fashioned, shape shifting critters from the bowels of hell.
This theory is no more or less reasonable than any other, in fact, when one considers the permeating aura of evil given off by BEKs it becomes downright plausible. Of course, if these are demons in the guise of young humans, one must wonder why they aren’t plying their nefarious charm rather than employing palpably eerie personas like the ones described. Still there’s no telling what goes on in the mind of a devilish denizen of Hades. Of course, assuming that none of the above options prove to be of merit, there is always the possibility that this whole darn thing is nothing but a…
Author Barry Napier -- who has reported on this phenomenon -- has made the valid point that while the internet is an invaluable tool for the distribution of information, it is also an easily abused medium for the transference of hearsay, rumors and outright lies:
“The internet has made it so that it is much easier to stay up to date with paranormal events. Sadly, it has also made it easier for people to spread many false claims and hoaxes. Because of this, it is difficult to tell when someone is contributing to a lie that has already fooled many readers or if the account is truthful.”
“One such phenomena is the growing number of stories regarding so-called Black Eyed Kids. The stories certainly reek of an almost mythological stench, but there are so many similar accounts that it is hard to look past. The events have been quietly gaining momentum in forums and paranormal websites, so quiet that many people are still not familiar with them. The Black Eyed Kids reports are scattered around the internet and chances are that a great deal of them are fabrications derived from the first reported accounts.”
This is a very real possibility. As we all know every genuine paranormal event is riddled by scores of pranks and copycat reports. It is, as they say, par for course, but that does not mean that the genesis of this phenomenon is not authentic. It simply means that investigators need to be all the more cautious when separating the truth from the exaggerations or outright fabrications.
Well, there really isn't any conclusion. There are just too many "X" factors involved at this point. But whether BEKs are ghosts, vampires, demons, half-aliens, internet hoaxsters or prank prone teens with black contacts, anthropologists and folklorists should take note as this marks one of the few times in recorded history when a legend can be traced to a specific time, place and individual.
Whether or not this phenomenon proves to be true -- and, like most of its ilk, the evidence will likely never confirm any solid conclusions -- stories of BEKs will remain a fascinating and frightening addition to the hallowed halls of Fortean research and will no doubt send chills up the spines of children for generations to come.
I’ll admit that I’m still a skeptic in regards to the whole BEK phenomenon -- it's s too "loose" and has all the earmarks of an urban legend -- but if I ever do bump into one of these “things” you can bet that I will not squander a single breath inquiring as to where it came from, but will employee every ounce of energy I've got to getting the hell out of there… and if any of you ever run into one of these mysterious misanthropes, tread very carefully and keep your wits about you -- your life may depend on it.