There can be no doubt that one of the more intriguing mysteries of recent years is that of the Black-Eyed Children. Who, or what, these menacing, pale-faced, black-eyed things are is a matter of deep debate. Some say they’re ETs. Others suggest alien-human hybrids. Then, there’s the demonic angle. In other words, we’re pretty much still in the dark when it comes to their real origins and motivations. But, that’s not what I’m focusing on today. Instead, I’m talking about the earlier Black-Eyed Children. The ones who came before the modern-day wave. Interestingly, they surfaced not in the real world, but in the domain of fiction.
Just three years before the dawning of the 1960s the well-known science-fiction author, John Wyndham, wrote a book titled The Midwich Cuckoos. Before I get to that, in case you aren’t familiar with Wyndham’s work, he’s perhaps best known for his 1951 title, The Day of the Triffids. The Midwich Cuckoos was well-received, to the extent that in 1960 it was turned into a movie. Its title: Village of the Damned. A sequel followed: Children of the Damned.
Village of the Damned is an entertaining movie (even for people like me, who prefer horror to sci-fi), and was shot in moody black-and-white. The film begins with scenes of absolute normality in an old, quiet English village called Midwich. It’s not long, however, before something very weird happens. All of the residents of Midwich suddenly fall into states of unconsciousness. Albeit briefly. Not quite alien-abduction-style “missing time.” But not far off, one might argue. When they awake, they’re all confused, worried, and concerned about what happened to them and why. The British military and government are concerned, too.
Nevertheless, things quickly return to normal. At least, for a short while. We soon learn, however, that every woman in the village of Midwich who is of child-bearing age is pregnant. There is nothing normal about these pregnancies. The regular period of nine months is nowhere in sight: from pregnancy to birth the time-frame is barely a couple of months. All the women give birth on the same day. And the growth of the children is incredible: by the age of barely three they appear to be around seven or eight. All of which brings us to the matter of the Black-Eyed Children.
Just like the BEC, the creepy kids of Midwich have faces completely devoid of emotion. Their skin is pale. And they possess an unnerving ability to take control of the human mind. Then there is the matter of their eyes: they change from normal to glowing. In other words, it’s the eerie eyes of the kids of Midwich that stand out; just like those of the BEC. It becomes clear to the Midwich folk that the incredible intellects, mind-controlling powers, lack of emotion, and growing hostility is making the children a threat. A big threat. Even more disturbing, reports surface from other parts of the world – Australia, Russia, and Canada – where such unique children are appearing. It’s not long at all before the people of the village find themselves in a terrible position. To survive, they may be forced to kill their own children. I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen the movie. But, I will say that Village of the Damned is highly watchable.
Do the admittedly intriguing similarities between the Black-Eyed Children and the children of Village of the Damned amount to nothing stranger than an odd set of coincidences? Is it a case of fact mirroring fiction and vice-versa? The conspiracy-minded might suggest that John Wyndham had secret knowledge of the BEC phenomenon and, as a result, chose to fictionalize them in his novel, The Midwich Cuckoos. It must be stressed, however, that there is not even a single shred of evidence to suggest this latter scenario has any merit attached to it in the slightest. There is, however, no doubt that the parallels are deeply weird. Which is very appropriate for such a strange phenomenon!