Black-Eyed Children, sometimes called Black-Eyed Kids or Black-Eyed People, are a strange phenomenon that has only recently begun to receive widespread attention and are called as such because they’re described as being between 6 and 16 years of age, and usually encountered in pairs. As the name suggests, the children’s eyes are totally black, although encounters claim that the children tend to keep these hidden from view.
The legend started with an account by journalist Brian Bethel in Albilene, Texas in 1996. Reportedly, Bethel was on his way to pay a bill when he stopped to write a check using the light from a nearby movie theater. As he was writing, a pale set of knuckles knocked on his driver’s side window which caused him to look up and notice two young boys wearing hooded sweatshirts to cover their faces. The apparent leader of the two had dark curly hair and an olive-colored complexion while the second boy, who had red hair and freckles, stood behind the first. Aside from their fairly average appearance, the two boys also had one outstanding feature: their eyes were just lifeless, pure black pools with no substance.
The two boys caused an overwhelming and crippling yet inexplicable sense of terror in Bethel, who sat frozen while the leader asked if they could have a ride to their mother’s house to get money to see a movie. “It won’t take long, we’re just kids,” the leader argued. This only made Bethel panic even more, as he put the car in reverse and drove away, as the leader shouted “We can’t come in unless you tell us it’s okay. Let us in!” Bethel continued to drive away, glancing back one last time at the Black-Eyed Children only to see that they had disappeared. Since the incident, Bethel stated that the effects of the encounter continued for weeks afterward, disrupting his sleep and causing feelings of fear and anxiety that he might encounter the Black-Eyed Children again.
Since Bethel’s encounter became public, hundreds of reports detailing encounters with Black-Eyed Children began to swarm both Bethel and the Internet. Many of them are false, with authors trying to get a scare out of people. Bethel, however, states that when he looks at stories he applies a great deal of skepticism to them if they sound too similar to other stories and looks for tiny details such as changes in behavior. Having said that, Bethel claims that he has still read multiple stories which he believes are true.
Aside from the appearance of Black-Eyed Children, qualities that carryover in each sighting is their attempt to cover their eyes with hoods, hair or hats. Encounters often occur with the children visiting someone who is all alone at some time at night with usually one child acting as the leader while a second child stands silently. They then request to enter someone’s vehicle or home, asking “Can we have a ride?” “Can we come in?” “Can we use your restroom? Can we use your phone?” The person encountering them usually experiences a strong, overwhelming sense of fear but find themselves somehow compelled to oblige the children’s requests. At this point the person tends to realize what they’re doing and stop themselves, which is where the children become more stern or irritated. The requests become more forceful, while the children try to reason with the person, saying things such as “It will only take a minute.” Around this time is when the children will lower their guard and look up at the person, revealing their totally black eyes. Upon seeing these, the person runs away or shuts the door, looking back only to find the Black-Eyed Children have vanished.
An individual named Harold claims he was sixteen when he was walking home and came upon one of the Black-Eyed Children. It was a young boy leaning on the fence in front of his home, whom Harold did not recognize despite living in a small town. Harold attempted talking to the boy, to which he was unresponsive until he said “I wanna go to your house. Take me to your house.” The boy then looked at Harold, revealing his large, black eyes which caused an extreme sense of fear in Harold. As he looked up the road to his house, the boy immediately stated “Now don’t you run away from me. You’re gonna walk me to your house.” At this point Harold sprinted up the dirt road, not looking back but hearing this strange, screeching wail.
When he got home, Harold informed his parents which caused his father to take a shotgun and search for the boy on the road, but never finding anyone. Afterwards, Harold’s mother became convinced that Harold had encountered the Devil himself and had Harold blessed by the local clergy.
One woman claims that she and her husband had an encounter with a pair of Black-Eyed Children in which they allowed the children to enter their home, after which she and her husband began experiencing strange symptoms. The husband began having regular nosebleeds and eventually a trip to the doctor revealed that he had apparently contracted skin cancer, which the doctor assumed had been caused by an overuse of tanning beds although the husband supposedly did not tan while getting little sunlight. The wife meanwhile states that she also has regular nosebleeds (among other things) and that she is in the worst condition of her life.
Oddly, in the woman’s account at one point the children say “Our parents are here” and left the house. The children then got into a car at the end of their driveway accompanied by two, six-foot tall men wearing dark suits and ties who then drove away. This account suggests the Black-Eyed Children are extraterrestrial in origin, as Men in Black (MIBs) are often linked to alien encounters, while skin cancer caused by radiation exposure is often connected with people who report seeing or being abducted by UFO’s.
However, some believe that the Black-Eyed Children are merely an urban legend that people tell for the mere scare factor. This is a very likely explanation, as most stories involving such children tend to be “this happened to a friend of a friend” and how there are essentially no officially documented reports of the children. The Black-Eyed Children themselves are very similar to other paranormal entities, such as their immediate appearing or disappearing similar to accounts of ghosts. The children’s inability to enter someone’s home without being invited it also very similar to ancient vampire legends, wherein the vampire could not enter someone’s home without invitation.
There are other, much older tales of black-eyed individuals throughout history. Possibly the first would be the Urfa Man that was discovered in Sanliurfa, Turkey. The six-foot statue is believed to be 13,500 years old (making it the oldest statue in history) but is remarkable for being carved out of stone except for its eyes, which are carved out of solid black obsidian. As to what the eyes or the statue are meant to represent have not yet been definitively understood, but it has been established that the Urfa Man is the only statue of its kind.
If the Black-Eyed Children are just a hoax, then the question is why have stories of encounters with them become so prevalent? It could be similar to the urban legends of the Rake or the infamous Slender Man, where totally normal, random people suddenly encounter strange humanoid entities that have seemingly incomprehensible goals. Both of those urban legends gathered a huge following on the Internet because of the ease with which people could contribute their own supposed encounters. It could also be the combination of the image of harmless young children with an inhuman, demonic or alien quality which creates a sense of cognitive dissonance and fear in people.
What can be agreed on is that the apparent goals of the Black-Eyed Children are unknown and almost impossible to guess at. Are they aliens, attempting to abduct someone? Or are they demons, attempting to possess or kill an unknowing victim? Again, being young children means it would normally be difficult for them to enact bodily or physical harm on someone such as an adult, which helps contribute to the effect of cognitive dissonance and fear that they somehow could hurt an adult or do much worse. According to Bethel,
“I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that they are predators, and we are the food. I don’t think they eat us in any literal sense, but they do want something from us. Maybe they do just want to kill, but I tend to think the design is far more complex than that.”
Like Slender Man, this sense of not being able to comprehend or understand the Black-Eyed Children’s goals has helped contribute to their scare factor. They share some traits with demonic entities and ghosts, while at the same time sharing other traits with reports of alien encounters. There is also how reports of Black-Eyed Children are not specific to any area or group of people, meaning it could possibly happen to anyone, anywhere. And with forums and websites such as YouTube allowing people to continue to share their supposed encounters, it is unlikely that the legend of the Black-Eyed Children will go away any time soon.