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Paranormal Spotlight: What are the "Black Eyed Kids"

Updated on October 27, 2017
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Todd is a full-time clinical research administrator by day and an avid consumer of weird fiction and esoteric knowledge in his spare time.

Strange visitors.
Strange visitors.

Introduction: Imagine This

It's a cool autumn evening, the leaves have just started to fall off the trees in your yard. You've just settled in on the couch to watch some TV after dinner. Your significant other is in the house somewhere doing... something. Your dog is curled up by your feet. You glance out the window and take in the colors of your trees. You turn back to the TV and are startled by a sharp, urgent knocking on your front door. You glance back out the window and see two small forms standing on the porch.

"That's strange," you think to yourself, there had been no one near the porch when you had glanced out the window a second ago and no one in or near your yard.

"I'll get it!," you yell as you pull yourself up and go to the door.

As you open your front door you are suddenly hit by an almost overwhelming sense of dread, you are suddenly very glad for the screen door between you and the outside world. On your front porch stand two boys dressed in dark clothing and hoodies. The older of the two looks to be about 12, the younger maybe 7 or 8. They both are looking at their feet and you can't see their faces, but something about them makes the hair on your back stand up.

"Can... can I help you?" you stammer.

"Mister, please let us in!" says the older boy, "We are lost and we need to use your phone."

"Where are your parents?" you ask.

"We need to call our mother," the older one says, "please just let us in, we won't hurt you."

At the mention of harm your heart does another little flutter, you think, "What are these two."

You notice that both boys seem very calm for their ages, they aren't shuffling around like kids normally do, in fact they seem almost glued to the spot, standing stock still as they talk. Not like normal kids at all.

As if he heard your thoughts, the older boy says, "We're just kids mister, let us in to use the phone, please!"

Something in the way that they are standing, the way that they are speaking, makes you catch your breath. It's then that you realize that your hand, almost as if it has a will of its own, has been slowly rising towards the door latch. You quickly pull it back.

"Mister," says the older boy, growing annoyed, "you HAVE to let us in. We will be very cross if you don't."

The boys raise their head just a bit to look at you. It's only then that you notice their eyes. They are completely black. There are no visible features in their eyes at all, no pupils, no whites. It's as if two perfectly black orbs have been stuck in their eye sockets.

You slam the door closed with a whimper and the boys resume pounding on the door angrily. You grab your phone and start to dial the police, but suddenly the pounding stops. You turn back to the window, and its as if they were never there. There's no way they could have left your yard without you seeing... but they are gone.

"Mister," says the older boy, growing annoyed, "you HAVE to let us in. We will be very cross if you don't."

The boys raise their head just a bit to look at you. It's only then that you notice their eyes. They are completely black. There are no visible features in their eyes at all, no pupils, no whites. It's as if two perfectly black orbs have been stuck in their eye sockets.

The "Black Eyed Kids" Phenomenon

If the above scenario sounded like something from a horror movie, you may be surprised to hear that there are many, many reports of very similar occurrences reported throughout the United States and abroad.

These events have come to be known as the "Black Eyed Kids" phenomenon, or BEK. BEK visits have some common features.

  • Strange children who seemingly appear out of nowhere. Most often two boys but may be of either sex. One almost always appears to be older than the other and does most, if not all of the talking.
  • A sudden feeling of dread or danger (sometimes described as a strong fight or flight response) as the children are approached.
  • The feeling that something in the attitude and speech of the children is "off" in some way, often that they behave counter to what you would expect from children of their age.
  • The children ask, with increasing urgency, to enter your personal space. Often this is so that you can "help" them in some way. If you are at home they may ask to use the phone, if you are in a car they may ask for a ride home, etc.
  • There seems to always be an element of mind-control or telepathy, the experiencer feels as though they are acting outside of their own will, or that the children can sense their thoughts.
  • Eventually, there is a realization that the children have completely black eyes with no visible whites. This usually induces panic and causes the experiencer to abruptly break of contact.

Other features can include:

  • Anachronistic clothing: the children are sometimes described as being dressed in fashion that is off by a few decades or even centuries.
  • Anachronistic requests: There have been some reports where the children have asked to come inside to use the telegraph, rather than the telephone, or otherwise have asked for things no longer in common use.
  • On occasion, out of place props are reported. For instance, in one account the smaller of the two children was seated on a bicycle, even though he would have had to carry the bicycle up several sets of steps to reach the door.
  • Often, the children will become angry and threatening if it looks like they are not going to gain admittance and become increasingly insistent.

"Urfa Man", believed by some to be the first depiction of a black eyed being.
"Urfa Man", believed by some to be the first depiction of a black eyed being.

"Whatever the Black Eyed Kids phenomenon is, it may have been with us for a long time."

Origins

According to Ryan Sprague, writing for Jim Harold.com, and several other sources, the first account of an encounter with black eyed children came from Brian Bethel, a journalist from Abeline, TX. In Bethel's story, he was out late at night paying his internet service bill at a payment dropbox at a local mall on an evening in 1998. As he was making out the check by the light of the mall's movie theater marquee, he was approached by two boys who wanted a ride home to get money to go see the movie "Mortal Kombat." Bethel was overcome with an incomprehensible fear of these two children and would, through the encounter, eventually note their coal black eyes with no whites. The fear Bethel experienced was so great that he didn't know in the moment if he was going to live or die. A great audio re-enactment of the event can be found in the October 23rd, 2017 episode of the Astonishing Legends podcast (one of my favorites), along with several other stories about the phenomenon.

Skeptics say that Bethel's story has been used as a template for all other encounters, that the story was released on the internet and it's compelling nature essentially led to many copycat stories. Indeed, many of the stories follow the structure of Bethel's report so closely that one does indeed have to wonder if there may not be something to that idea. Bethel himself told Sprague that he takes each story shared with him on its own merit, and is convinced that many of the stories he's been told are true.

Bethel's story in 1998 may have been the first to spark widespread interest in the BEKs, but it is not the first reported case of these strange visitors. According to one widely sighted story, one of the earliest encounters with black eyed children occurred in 1950 in rural Virginia. A sixteen-year-old boy named Harold was walking home from visiting a friend when he encountered a boy whom he had never seen before. Harold lived in an incredibly tight-knit community and it was odd to see someone who he didn't know. Harold approached the boy and asked if he was alright. The strange boy eventually replied. "I want to go to your house. Take me to your house." Harold felt a thrill of fear, and in that moment the boy looked up at him with coal black, empty eyes. Harold looked quickly up the road, thinking of running when the boy said, "Now don't you run away from me," in a commanding voice, "Yo're going to take me to your house." Despite this warning, Harold made a run for it. As he sprinted towards home he heard a long screeching wail. He told his parents about the encounter, and seeing as Harold wasn't prone to flights of fancy, they took him seriously. Harold's father grabbed his shotgun and went to investigate, but there was no sign of the mysterious boy.

In fact, strange stories about black-eyed beings have been with us for a long time indeed. From some accounts of fairies from medieval times to many accounts of grey aliens, creatures with hollow or totally black eyeballs are not a new thing.

In fact, one of the oldest statues in the world, the Balıklıgöl Statue, also sometimes called the "Urfa Man" depicts what appears to be a humanoid with totally black eyes. The sculptor of this 13,500-year-old statue went to great effort to fashion the eyes out of obsidian. Some people believe that this could indicate visitations from black-eyed beings going back tens of thousands of years. In a blog post from October of 2015, noted paranormal researcher and author David Weatherly posits that "Urfa Man" may be somehow related to Black Eyed Kids, or that at least it may be the earliest known depiction of a black-eyed being.

Whatever the Black Eyed Kids phenomenon is, it may have been with us for a long time.



Yeah, um.... no thanks!
Yeah, um.... no thanks!

"... I think we can all agree that stories about these strange children are fascinating."

Theories

So, just what might these things be? The theories are endless! I'm going to summarize a few of them here.

  • Fairies: As I mentioned above, it is a popular idea that the modern Black Eyed Kids phenomenon may be the current incarnation of beings that have been with us for a very long time. Legends of fairies and similar creatures are almost as old as humanity itself, and some believe that the BEKs may be our old friends in another form.
  • Aliens: The black eyed description fits closely with the popular image of extraterrestrials, especially the subset of aliens known as the "Greys." These types of aliens are perhaps the most commonly reported varieties and other than their gray colored skin, their most dominant feature are large, reflective almond-shaped eyes. Of course, the Greys themselves share many features in common with fairies. The basic premise here is that the childlike appearance is a ruse to gain access to your house for nefarious alien purposes. The anachronistic features of some of the encounters are sometimes reported in encounters that are believed to be extraterrestrial in origin. It seems like these "infiltrators" are often sent with out of date information on how to pretend to be human. "Take me to your telegraph good sir!"
  • Interdimensional beings: One theory is that the BEKs are interdimensional beings and that the child's body is just their way of imposing themselves into our existence. The reason that they need permission to come into your house is that they must set up a certain resonance in their host in order to manifest fully in our dimension.
  • Ghosts: Similar to Interdimensional beings theory except that what people are seeing are the manifestations of dead souls.
  • Vampires: OK, so this is pretty obviously for anyone who knows even a tad of vampire lore. According to many legends, vampires can't enter your house unless you specifically give them permission. This fits the BEK model pretty precisely. The odd colored eyes and hints of telepathy and mind control also fit in here... of course to believe that theory one has to also believe in vampires... so there's that!
  • Hallucinations: Popular with the skeptical crowd. This idea is that the people who witness these phenomena are suffering from hallucinations. The similarity between encounters is because the experiencer has read or heard about other reports. Slightly less insulting than...
  • Fabrication: The hard line skeptical approach. This theory is that, basically, anyone experiencing this phenomenon has fabricated their story from whole cloth in order to profit either financially or in terms of attention.

My theory, I have no idea. It seems to me that this particular phenomenon is a combination of many different ideas and features from many different paranormal traditions and stories. I've always liked the idea that everything from fairies to UFOs/aliens to ghosts are all part of the same thing. Similarities between all of these various phenomena have led me to believe that either people are experiencing various manifestations stemming from a single root cause, or that there is some deep seated psychological need common to all humans that cause some people to fabricate these occurrences in almost identical detail.

Whatever you believe BEK's represent, I think we can all agree that stories about these strange children are fascinating.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this quick rundown on Black Eyed Kids. On a closing note, if you encounter these little boogers DO NOT let them in. Reports have ranged from extreme illness to death following incidents where the BEKs were allowed to enter someone's personal space. One experiencer even believes that his encounter with BEKs resulted in his development of cancer!

So, sleep tight!

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© 2017 Todd Bryan

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