The reports of encounters with Black Eyed Kids are both frightening and bizarre.
You probably haven’t heard of BEKs yet and it’s even more unlikely that you’ve seen one yourself. Sightings of them are few and far between, but what handful of witness statements do exist have gained a degree of notoriety. Although these bizarre liaisons remain a rare phenomenon they are growing in number and what the reports describe are close encounters that are not only weird, but also terrifying.
The stories almost always begin with a knock at the door or the ring of a doorbell. One, two or more children appear on the ‘victim’s’ doorstep and ask for help: they say that they need to use the toilet, make an urgent phone call or relate another tale of distress. They ask to come in, pleading with the homeowner, but in all cases an unexplained feeling of sheer terror makes the ‘victim’ slam the door with fright.
The source of this considerable fear is unknown; perhaps it is their unusually black eyes, or perhaps it is because, as some witnesses described, the children’s faces appear to be slightly blurred.
Unexplained-Mysteries.com columnist Paul Dale Roberts met one such witness. Jihanna Aiello of Sacramento, California, described to Roberts how, in June 2009, she discovered two children standing on her driveway and staring at her kitchen window. She noticed how their faces seemed to be curiously out of focus: “Every part of their bodies was crystal clear, but when she looked at their faces, they were completely indistinguishable.”
For two hours the two boys stood almost motionless staring at her kitchen window, until Aiello decided to venture outside and confront them. It was then that she noticed that both of them had totally black eyes. Despite her trepidation, she was able to demand to know why they were standing on her property for such a long time. The boys replied: “We are sorry, we are just hungry, can we come in for a bite to eat?” When Aiello refused they persevered until fear overwhelmed her and she retreated back inside her house, locking the door.
Another story from a 47-year-old female apartment manager identified only as ‘Tee’ echoes the above encounter. A ‘creepy’ teenager arrived at Tee’s office door one afternoon:
“I opened the door to see who it was. He was young boy of about 17 or 18. He asked me about an open apartment for rent. I remember feeling very scared and shaken by his appearance. He did not look weird by his dress or such. It was his eyes. I remember feeling the hair on my neck stand up, and I was shaking just from looking in his eyes.
“I have never felt like this before in all the years I have done this job. I could not look him straight in the eyes. I felt like I was about to die. My instincts told me this. I noticed he was on a bicycle, not in a vehicle. He was not moving toward me or anything, but he was just waiting for me to invite him in or take him to the empty unit. Now, some people may think that I was just over-reacting or something, but the eyes were completely black – like there was no real pupil. He spoke normally to me, but I had to shut the door in his face and get as far from him as I could. I felt like I was in extreme danger. Only because of the eyes. I think if I had looked any longer into them, I would have not been able to shut that door.
“I shook for hours after that. I am still afraid of that image of his eyes”.
The mysterious meetings don’t stop there either, as Jihanna Aiello’s report continues: “For a period of three days straight, [the BEKs] kept showing up on my driveway. When the police came they were nowhere in sight. After that, they never showed up on my driveway, but every once in a while, I will see them in the downtown area, like they are following me. They will be behind a tree, I will drive to another section of Sacramento and I would see them again or I will see them on the side of the road as I am driving by and they will stare at me. They always wear the same clothes.”
Other accounts differ in certain details: sometimes the BEKs appear in larger numbers (one dog-walker was approached by two BEKs, only to see several more as he retreated in haste – they had hidden themselves behind the trees), other times they don’t leave so quietly (tapping on doors and windows), but the main thrust of the encounter remains the same: black-eyed children, their suspicious requests for aid and the feeling of intense dread.
Despite the uncontrollable fear that the mysterious children seem to exude, most witnesses appear to have at least enough composure to slam their door or escape immediately. Only one report has come to light that describes what happened when someone actually let the children in. In this explanation, one man outlined his terrifying ordeal (the original passage was very poorly written—below is a ‘cleaned up’ version). He was sitting at home when he heard a knock at his door:
“When I opened it there were two children standing there, both looking down at the floor. The taller one asked if they could come in as they were lost and the other boy needed the toilet. I assumed that they were telling the truth and looking down because they were shy, even though the one talking spoke very confidently, so I let them in. The one who needed the toilet just walked in and ran straight up the stairs.
“I told the other one that the phone was down the hall. “Thanks.” he said and he started to walk down the hall. I followed him and then suddenly was overcome with a really awful feeling that something bad was going to happen. I became very nervous and a bit shaky. The boy stopped at the phone and paused. “Everything okay?” I asked. He turned to me and looked up and that’s when I saw his eyes. Trust me, I will never get that picture out of my head. I was so scared that I couldn’t even scream. As I turned to run down the hall, the other kid was standing at the end.
“I became very dizzy and struggled to stand up. He walked closer to me and said that they had been sent to collect me. I still couldn’t bear to look into his face. I pushed away from him and ran into my front room, slamming the door shut behind me. I was in so much shock about what was happening that I couldn’t think straight. I stood up against the door for around an hour until I finally got the courage to make a run for the back door. I reached my back garden, jumped over the fence and didn’t look back once.”
The BEK phenomenon seems to be the stuff of Hollywood horror films. Of course, these stories could all quite easily be hoaxes. Perhaps it was just the first report that was falsified for a purpose we might never know, with the phenomenon spiralling towards notoriety as other hoaxers added their own made-up accounts. With the anonymity of the internet, witnesses are almost impossible to track down.
One man however, has related the story of his brush with BEKs openly. Reporter and journalist Brian Bethel encountered the BEKs in early 1998. This time, the drama unfolded not on a front doorstep, but in a car park. Bethel was sitting in his vehicle when two young boys approached his car. As soon as Bethel noticed them, he felt “an overwhelming sense of fear and unearthliness rush in.” Even when one of the boys smiled he could feel it “chill his blood”. Bethel continues:
“I could feel fight-or-flight responses kicking in. Something, I knew instinctually, was not right, but I didn’t know what it could possibly be. I rolled down the window very, very slightly and asked “Yes?” The spokesman smiled. His teeth were very, very white.
“Hey, mister, what’s up? We have a problem,” he said. His voice was that of a young man, but his diction, quiet calm and … something I still couldn’t put my finger on … made my desire to flee even greater. “You see, my friend and I want to see the films, but we forgot our money,” he continued. “We need to go to our house to get it. Want to help us out? C’mon, mister. Let us in. We can’t get in your car until you do, you know,” the spokesman said soothingly. “Just let us in, and we’ll be gone before you know it. We’ll go to our mother’s house.” Then, Bethel found his hand was straying subconsciously towards the door’s handle. As he regained control, he noticed their eyes for the first time, “They were coal black. No pupil. No iris. Just two staring orbs reflecting the red and white light of a marquee”.
Terrified, Bethel promptly drove off at pace. Later on, he posted the experience online where it received a small following. In 2004 he released this follow-up statement: “I’ve been haunted — no pun intended — by this story ever since I decided to share it. Rather than the ridicule I expected, it seems that it touches some sort of strange, primal chord in people.” He added, “I’ve been trying, of course, to move beyond and forget these events, but inevitably something comes along to remind me of it”.
So, if it isn’t all a hoax, is this phenomenon actual paranormal? Theories about what the BEKs actually are abound. To some, various details contained in the accounts are redolent of vampire mythology. More than one tale mentions the unusually white colour of the BEKs’ teeth and that the children seem desperate to be ‘invited’ into the victim’s home, as if they cannot enter unless specifically asked to come in. Also, many of the accounts happen towards the end of the day or during the night, a time when vampires are traditionally said to stalk the earth.
Attempts at identification have led other researchers to think that a demonic entity is the true form behind the BEK. Their appearance as children may be a disguise assumed because they want to be viewed as harmless and innocent in an attempt to appeal to simple human kindness and our instinctual desire to help a youngster in peril.
Alongside the supernatural theories there are, of course, rational explanations. The blackness of the eyeball could be simply down to the employment of black contact lenses, although use of these lenses seems incongruous when considering the age of the children and counter-productive to someone trying to gain another person’s trust.
At least one medical condition can cause similar effects to those described. Aniridia is an unusual congenital ailment which prevents proper formation of the iris, usually affecting both eyes. With Aniridia, the iris is much reduced in appearance with the vastly enlarged pupil filling in the space it otherwise would have occupied. However, this does not explain the blackness of the BEKs’ sclera (the white part of the eyeball).
Whatever the truth, many questions remain tantalisingly unanswered. Why don’t the children wear sunglasses to hide their eerie eyes? Are their black eyes used to induce some kind of hypnotic effect? Is this the source of the fear? Is the whole BEK phenomenon simply an internet-profligated urban myth? While debate and discourse continues, researchers avidly await photographic or video evidence that will prove once and for all what the Black Eyed Kids actually are. So if you do encounter these bizarre ‘entities’ do the community a favour and grab a camera, and ask them to say ‘cheese!’
Be sure to check out GhostTheory.com for a recent article about BEKs.