Episode 51: The Black-eyed Kids:

Hi everyone. If you were to ask someone what the term ‘Black-eyed Kids’ refers to, there is a good chance that the person you are asking has at the very least heard of the term, even if they may not know what it actually refers to. So, for those listeners who don’t really know about them, I’ll give a description of what a Black-eyed Kid is. These kids – and most reports have them as children or very young teens, from around six to sixteen years of age. All are reported as generally having very pale skin or a death-like paleness. They may be wearing normal clothing, or their clothing may be extremely old-fashioned and dated, or inadequate for the weather conditions. For example, thin summer clothing in the middle of winter. They have fully jet-black eyes without any sclera (or whites), iris, or pupils.

These children most generally appear at night, but not always. They often knock at doors or windows asking to be let in, or car windows in parking lots. Or even approaching people out walking, or as in the case of my friend’s son’s experience, whilst out doing a river walk in the middle of the day, in a fairly isolated area. They ask to be taken somewhere, or to borrow the phone or call some adult.  Or even, to use the toilet. Their voices can be monotonous, or they can have very high- pitched giggle. And with every encounter they have, without exception, the witnesses, even strong armed forces members who have had encounters with them, all are overwhelmed by feelings of irrational, unexplainable fear and often feelings of danger. This is generally before they even see the children’s eyes.

So, with that brief description of these children, are you ready to take a walk with me into this part of the shadowlands and see what awaits us there? Let’s begin.

Where do these children come from, and what are they? There are many, many theories about these mysterious Black-eyed Kids. Theories such as them being inter-dimensional beings, extraterrestrial beings from UFO’s, vampires (I tend to feel this theory is because they have to ask to be let in and cannot seem to enter without permission), or demonic beings. Other theories say that they are merely an urban legend, a totally fictitious story that has taken on a life of it’s own, as some urban legends do. But, no one really knows.

Another theory has its basis in science. That it could be an over reaction on the part of the witness who had been primed to see such a being. Kolb & Whishawy, 2008 say that Priming is where a pre-suggestion is already in the person’s mind and it only needs a very vague activator stimulus in the right circumstances to be able to set off a connection between the person’s knowledge already in their brain and their senses making a false connection between the two. This leads to a flawed conclusion that isn’t supported by evidence.  This happens quite often when listening to evp’s for example, electronic voice phenomena. (Voss, Federmeier & Paller, 2012). Suggest that priming is very tied to pareidolia, which is the unification of sensory data into a familiar subject based on the perception of complex lines, patterns, gradations, sounds or random colours. So priming, pareidolia, a frame of reference such as movies, books and context, all of these things combined play really important roles in how we personally see events, experiences, and even other people and could go a long way to explaining some experiences perhaps….

There is an ancient Iroquois Indian legend in the USA,  according to this legend, these kids could be a being called an “Otkon” In their belief system they talk about a good and a bad energy. The name for the positive energy was called Orenda, the negative energy Otkon. Otkon is actually a broad term for negative energy, beings, forces, and things that live in the world around us as well as trying to penetrate this world from the underworld, the skies, or other dimensions of reality. The Otkon was considered by the Iroquois nation as an evil energy that could possess and destroy people, objects and animals. They felt that this energy could take on the form of a human and mate with a human woman, resulting in the birth of a child with pure black eyes and very chalky coloured skin. These Black-eyed Kids, generally never lived more than a day or two after birth as they were usually killed by tribal elders and burned to prevent resurrection.

It was said that children who found themselves lost or alone in the woods became an easy target for possession by an Otkon, that when they found their way back to the tribe that they came back ‘empty’, with black eyes replacing their normal ones. They were said to behave in peculiar manners, pacing around, repeating themselves frequently and generally causing havoc amongst the tribespeople, as their goal was to destroy the tribe and replace the members with Otkon – sounds like a familiar horror story whose name escapes me at the the moment about kids with shining eyes. They were also said to be mean and ferocious once possessed by the Otkon, often having a taste for human flesh. So with this native legend, you can see that stories of Black-eyed kids have been around for a very, very long time. Far before modern history when they came into general public knowledge.

Oh yes, I remember the name of that movie now, it was from nineteen-sixty and was called ‘Village of the Damned” For those interested Rotten Tomatoes gives that movie a four and a half star rating, out of five.

Having a wee bit of background on the Black-eyed Kids, how did they come into mainstream knowledge these days?

One of the first people to mention and to document having had an encounter with black-eyed kids in actual life, was Brian Bethal. He published a transcript of what happened on his blog.

Brian’s Encounter

At around nine-thirty pm, on the sixteenth of January, nineteen-ninety-eight Brian left his home in Abilene, Texas to pay an internet bill. On the way he stopped at the dollar movie theatre, that was next to his internet provider’s office, using the glow of the theatre lights to write out his check. As he was busy doing this he was startled by a persistent knocking on his car window. Looking up he saw two small boys, that he estimated were between ten and fourteen years old. He described the boys in this manner:

“Boy number one was slightly taller than his companion, wearing a pull-over, hooded shirt with a sort of gray checked pattern and jeans. I couldn’t see his shoes. His skin was olive-coloured and had curly, medium-length brown hair. He exuded an air of quiet confidence. Boy number two had pale skin with a trace of freckles. His primary characteristic seemed to be looking around nervously. He was dressed in a similar manner to his companion, but his pull-over was a light green colour. His hair was a sort of pale orange. They didn’t appear to be related, at least directly.”

Brian says

“I was immediately gripped by an incomprehensible, soul-wracking fear. I had no idea why.” And he knew something was up.

After opening the window only a small crack, the first lad began to tell him that they wanted to see a movie showing in the theatre, but had forgotten their money. He then asked Brian for a lift to their home to get the money that they needed. Brian was extremely nervous and hesitant and the first boy continued to try and persuade him saying things like, “C’mon, mister…. We just want to go to our house,” and “We’re just two little boys. C’mon mister, let us in. We can’t get into your car until you do, you know…. Just let us in and we’ll be gone before you know it. We’ll go to our Mother’s house.”

Brian continues….

“All the while, the spokesman utterring assurances: It wouldn’t take long… They were just two little kids… They didn’t have a gun or anything. The last part was a bit unnerving. In the short time I had broken the gaze of the spokesman, something had changed, and my mind exploded in a vortex of all-consuming terror. Both boys stared at me with coal-black eyes. Soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night. I full-on freaked out inside while trying to appear completely sane and calm. I made whatever excuses came to mind, all of them designed to get me the hell out of there. I wrapped my hand around the gearshift, threw the car into reverse, and began to roll up the window, apologizing all the while. My fear must have been evident. The boy in the back wore a look of confusion. The spokesman banged sharply on the window as I rolled it up. His words, full of anger, echo in my mind even today: “We can’t come in unless you tell us it’s okay. Let us in!”

I drove out of the parking lot in blind fear, and I’m surprised I didn’t sideswipe a car or two along the way. I stole a quick look in my rear view mirror before peeling out into the night. The boys were gone. Even if they had run, I don’t believe there was any place they could have hidden from view that quickly.”

Brian following sharing this experience publically also heard all about a friend’s experience that same year shared via a message board, which I will share later in the episode.

After Brian shared his experience, paranormal investigation groups received many reports similar to his experience. But, of course, there was no physical evidence of such encounters, nor actually were there any reports of any hoaxers exposed for trying to capitalise on these experiences, by portraying themselves as such. So the stories of encounters with these kids spread, with many common elements, like, it’s generally – but not always, night when these encounters take place. The person approached by these kids is always going about their normal activities, or at home for the evening. They all, without except felt extreme fear and anxiety, way beyond what would normally be expected. And most of them all drove away, shut their doors, or otherwise got out of the situation ‘just in time.’

In two-thousand and thirteen, the snopes.com website reported that they felt there was an aspect of viral marketing going on. “Black-eyed children fever hit the Internet in February, 2013, when a two-minute video episode of ‘Weekly Strange’ featuring a look at these strange, putative beings was posted to the entertainment section of the MSN web site. Not surprisingly, the appearance of the black-eyed children video on MSN coincided with the release of ‘Black-Eyed Kids,’ an urban legend-based horror film.”  But, as we have already discussed, the appearance of the black-eyed kids was noted way in advance of any ‘viral’ marketing campaign. Certainly, I feel that Hollywood and the entertainment industry have taken the theme of the black-eyed kids and run with it…. But did they create it? No. I personally don’t believe this to be the case and here is why:

The Kuniwhaniwha Encounter

Around twenty-five years ago, give or take a few years. I used to live in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand in a University town called Hamilton, in the Waikato district. One day, one of my good friends and for privacy issues I am not using their real names, Mark came to see me, because, he knew I had an interest in these subjects. He wanted to share an experience that had occurred to his strapping eighteen-year-old son, Peter, a few days previously. Now Mark’s son, Peter, was a football player. Big, strapping lad, who also helped his dad building houses. So he was a strong, robust, fit, healthy – regular teenager. Not much shook him up. But Mark said Peter was absolutely terrified and he had never, ever seen his son like this in his life. This got my attention. Here, to the best of my recollection is what happened and I recall it, because it was so unusual. Unusual in his son’s behaviour – which I had personally never observed, and neither had his dad. And unusual, because of where it happened.

Peter had gone with some mates to a remote swimming hole at a place called Kuniwhaniwha, near Mt Priongia. This was a fairly isolated area, but quite popular with the locals, with a number of walking tracks around the area. Whilst his mates were swimming at the water hole, he decided to go for a walk along the track beside the river. This was a normal summer day, in the middle of the day. Warm, pleasant, clear skies. Nothing untoward. So Peter was walking along, just enjoying the day and the natural beauty that surrounded him, sounds of the narrow river running alongside of him as he walked. He, at this stage had been walking by himself for maybe about twenty minutes. When all of a sudden, he became aware of a kid on the other side of the river. At that point the river was only maybe 8 feet wide, much narrower in other parts. This part of the river was not wide at all and it was not a deep river, except for the swimming hole, and it was always cool, being fed from the Mount.

So there he was, just enjoying his day, his solitude and his walk. When out of the corner of his eye he spotted a kid. Peter described him as being young, perhaps 8-10 years old. This made him stop, because, it was fairly isolated where he was, and there had been no other cars parked, or that had arrived at the parking areas, which could be seen from the swimming hole, while the boys had been at the swimming hole. So he was briefly a little confused about how this kid got here in the middle of no-where, with no family around that he could see. He was concerned that the boy was separated or lost from his family, so he wanted to help him. But, even more than that, he was becoming very aware of growing feeling of unease and fear. Now, you have to understand, that at this time in New Zealand our country was far safer than it is these days, and not only that, we have no dangerous animals on land that could create fear – no snakes, cougars, or other predators that could harm humans. As this feeling of fear and anxiety grew he turned to face the boy. To ask him if he was lost? Did he need any help? By this stage with the boy keeping pace with him walking on his side of the river, they had reached a part of the river where it was very narrow.

Now that he was actually facing the lad, he was able to observe his very pale skin. He was very anaemic looking was how Peter described his pallor. At this point the kid had been looking down, but as he asked him if he was ok, the kid looked up and to his horror Peter said his eyes were completely black. He said there was no colour at all in his eyes. Then the fear hit him like a physical punch in the stomach and all thoughts of concern for the kid disappeared and he was aware of feeling in immediate danger and of overwhelming terror. He was also aware of how far he was away from all his mates and he turned and began running to return to the relative safety of all his friends. All the while keeping an eye on the kid on the other side of the river. As he began to run he noticed that the kid was pacing him, so he sped up as fast as he could run but the kid was keeping pace with him.

At this point in time he became genuinely scared for his safety, as he was a very fit kid, a sportsman. Light on his feet and a fast runner. But, this kid was pacing him. He says he was so scared he was actually crying as he ran. What teenage male in that era would ever admit that, unless they were beyond scared? He eventually came to a point in the river where there was a bend and a thicket of trees and bushes on both sides when he came around the bend and the trees cleared he could no longer see the kid, but also he could now hear his mates splashing about in the water not two hundred yards away. However, he didn’t stop running until he reached his mates who when they became aware of his presence, immediately became concerned about his obvious distress.

Mark said, that his son was white and still shaking when he arrived home a trip of about forty minutes. He explained to him what had happened and was very, very upset. And even several years after the experience if I were to ask him about it, he said he immediately felt that fear again. So it was a pretty traumatising experience for him. To this day, he still feels the fear if the subject is ever brought up.

But Peter is not the only one to have encountered black-eyed kids in an isolated area. David was hiking and camping when he had his encounter:

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Encounter

“I’m a 26 years old, male. I work at a small private college in Michigan. I’m a normal, average guy. I like hockey, HBO shows, kayaking, and hiking/camping. I have a girlfriend, love my dad and sister, and have a pet dog called Bear. While I keep an open mind, I don’t believe in ghosts, aliens, big-foot, and am not even too sure about God. The way I see it, if I haven’t encountered it first hand or seen documented, verifiable proof, then I keep a healthy amount of skepticism. There is one thing I do believe in now that I never did before, hell I didn’t even know about it before – black freaking eye kids.

As I said earlier, love(ed) to hike and camp. For reasons too introspective to get into fully here I just loved the solitude, peace, and serenity the outdoors provided me. My life is not overly stressful, chaotic, or dramatic, but every once in a while a man needs to get away from it all. Being alone in the wilderness gave me the opportunity to clear my head, be introspective, consider the facts of life. I loved the beauty of the natural world, and I try to appreciate the small and big things, from the smallest clover to the biggest mountain. Beauty is all around us. In a way, I think it’s my belief in beauty that has helped me cope as well as I have with what I’m about to share. In late August of 2010 I set out for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore located along Lake Michigan. I had schedule five days off of work, and I planned on making the most of it. Sleeping Bear is one of my favourite parks in lower Michigan. I know it to be a great place for some solitude, and having usually been abandoned by sun worshipers by mid August I knew I’d have most of the park to myself. So, I wasn’t surprised when I arrived the fist day, found my usually parking spot, a sand parking lot just yards from the lake, and didn’t see another person.

As I sat on the hood of my car, overlooking the beach and the lake, I remember breathing deeply and saying aloud “thank God for solitude.” I ate lunch, walked down the beach and put my bare feet into the water. Cold. Very cold. It didn’t matter to me though, because I didn’t come to swim. I came to hike, and to camp. I came to, as was my tradition, sit by a warm fire on a cool night, sipping on my flask of whiskey, enjoying the sounds of the forest. However, this peaceful tradition didn’t happen. The proper procedure when camping at a state or national park, if you’ve never been, is to check in at a ranger station. There you pay your fees, obtain your backcountry pass, if you’re going to be camping in the back country as I always do, and give the rangers your information: license plate number, make and model of your car, etc. After my quick stop off at the beach to eat my lunch, I headed to the nearby, a fifteen or so minute drive, and get my affairs in order.

The Platte River Ranger Station is manned until mid October, I think, so it was open and I didn’t have to travel to the main station a half hours drive north. I park in the station’s parking lot, and walk into the office. The ranger and I spoke for a little and he asks me for my license plate number. I knew he was going to ask, but I still forgot to write it down before I went in, so I walk back out toward my car, and I see two kids sitting at a bench just in front of where I’m parked. They weren’t there when I parked, and I didn’t notice them when I walked in to the station, but at this point in time I’m still on cloud nine. I’m happy to be on vacation, so I take no real notice. I walk back to my car, jot down the license plate number and walk back to office. I take care of business in the office and step out and walk to the connecting bathroom. The backcountry area I’m staying at, White Pine, has a pit-toilet, think port-a-john but just with a deep hole in the ground, but I’d like to use a real bathroom while I can. I go into the restroom and go into the empty stall.

As I’m taking care of my business, I hear the bathroom door open. I hear whispered voices. It’s a small bathroom, but I can’t make-out what the voices are saying. I can tell they’re kid’s voices though, and I figure it’s the kids I saw near my car earlier. No biggie, right? I finish up, and open the stall door. Sure enough, there are the two kids standing outside the stall. I remember saying, “it’s all yours.” As I walked to the sink. The kids just stood there. When you think about it now, the situation seems a little spooky, but at the time, and if you were in the situation yourself I’d bet that you wouldn’t be the slightest bit worried and neither was I. I washed my hands, and glanced in the mirror, only to notice the kids are looking right at me. This is the first time, but certainly not the last time, on this trip that my spine tingles with fear. The god damn kids have completely black eyes. No whites to their eyes at all. Like I said, this is a pretty small bathroom and they were not more than three feet away. At first I can’t do or say anything. I am literally frozen with fear. The water runs over my hands, but I can’t feel it. I’m so deep inside my head at this moment that all I can hear are my thoughts, which were something like “Ahhhhhh!.” All joking aside, I was petrified.

It was only when one of the kids, a brown haired boy that I would guess was around twelve took a step toward me that my fight or flight instincts took over control from my fear. I turned off the water, why I bothered I don’t know habit I guess, and moved a step back from the kids and toward the door. Seemingly sensing my fear, the boy didn’t take another step toward me. Instead he stopped, on retrospect I can guess he was trying to keep from frightening me too much – didn’t work kid!

“Can you help us?” That’s what the boy said when one of us finally spoke. For a moment I did want to help.

I consider myself a pretty nice guy. I’d go out of my way to help pregnant women carry groceries to their car. I’d rescue cats from trees if the situation arose, and for a while I thought that is why I wanted to help those creepy kids. I thought, my sheer decency was what made me, despite my better judgment, and despite my fear want to help them. Only since I began researching the BEK’s do I realize that I didn’t want to help those kids, but whatever, magical, mystical voo-doo, power they have made me want to help them. I can’t tell you with any certainty how long I stood motionless thinking about helping those kids, but it seemed like an eternity. Finally, like a physical shaking of my brain I said “No, Not right now. I gotta go.” And then I left the bathroom.

I remember in that two seconds my back was turned on those kids to me leaving the bathroom I felt certain I was going to die. I thought as soon as my back was turned they were going to tear me to shreds. It was with knee buckling relief that I left the bathroom and walked out into the midday sun. I walked the fifteen or so feet to my car, on noodle like legs, too afraid to look behind me. I fumbled for my keys and unlocked my door, sat down, closed the door and locked it. Only then, in the safety of my locked car, did I feel safe enough to look back toward the bathroom. Damned if the little bastards weren’t standing just outside the bathroom staring at me with the big, black soul sucking eyes.

I want to take moment to explain a little bit more about myself. I’m not a big man, but I’m not small either. I’m six foot, with shoes on I always say, and am around 185 pounds. What I’m saying is I can take a couple twelve year olds in a fight (I assume, having never actually fought any twelve year olds since I was twelve myself). In my hiking, I’ve encountered odd people before. I’ve turned a bend in a trail only to startle a huge grizzly bear. I’ve been lost, once, and ran out of water, once, and I even had a tree fall in the middle of my campsite during a gale swept night in Tennessee –as I was drifting off to sleep! However, not a single event in my life scared me nearly as much as those kids.

So, there I am, in my car, staring at those kids, and them staring at me. I can’t take my stare away from them, and they start for my car. Startled to my senses, I turn the key, throw it in reverse, and get the hell out of there. I drive off, not daring to look in the rear-view mirror. I know that if I do look back that I’ll see those black eyes looking back at me. I turn onto the main road and head the short drive north to my camp site. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, why the hell are you still camping? To be honest I can’t tell you why. I was just so much in shock that I wasn’t really thinking. It wasn’t until I was parked in the sand lot, at the head of the White Pine trail that my brain started functioning again. The drive home would only take three hours. I could make it home in time for dinner, but for some reason I talked myself out of it. Sitting in my car, in the sun, on the beach has a way of taking away all bad feelings.

I just talked away my better judgment. I won’t be doing that again. It’s around three o’clock, and I know that the sun will start to set in around three or four hours, so I know I should head toward my camping spot. It’s not a very long walk from the parking lot to the White Pine backcountry campground, but it will take around 45 minutes, leaving me just a couple hours to set up camp, gather fire wood, cook dinner and eat before nightfall. Fuck it, I remember saying to myself. I get my backpack out of my backseat and take off down the trail.

Now, there are two ways to access the White Pine campground from where I was parked. I could either head through the woods, or I could walk along the beach. The wooded trail is quicker, and shorter, and the beach trail is harder on the legs and lungs (walking with a fifty-pound pack in the sand is no picnic). However, considering what I just went through I decided to go along the beach. It was the more open, brighter, kinder trail. To reach the campsite from the beach trail, you have to turn away from the lake and go about ½ a mile into the woods. Reaching my campsite, I find it, unfortunately, completely empty. The campground has seven sites, I think, and not a one of them was taken. Usually this would be a happy thing to me, but this time I wished for all my might for a little company. I pick a site hidden fairly well from the trail, feeling that I didn’t need anyone walking along to spot my tent.

I unpack and set up my ultra-light one-person tent, put down my sleeping pad, and unroll my zero degree rated mummy-bag. Taking my walking stick, a sawed off hockey stick, and a folding knife with me, I head into the forest to gather fire wood. I pile up a good sized pile, three times larger than I think I’ll need, and proceed to light a fire. I cook my food, and eat, all the while watching the sun set through the trees. What is normally a beautiful, warming sight to me, now only brings dread. I do not want to be out here I suddenly realize. I finish eating quickly and decide to gather even more firewood. I do not want to run out in the middle of the night. As the darkness descends upon the woods and my campsite, I get the fire going, and riffle through my pack looking for my flask. This was a situation that called for a little liquid courage. I hit it hard. In the woods the sun sets at first slower then you think and then near the end it just kind of falls out of the sky, and is gone in a blink. So it did that night.

Sitting next to the fire, I decide to move my tent closer to me, so I click on my flash light, and move my tent until it is right behind the small bench next to the fire ring. I like having the tent behind me, protecting my back as I saw it. I’m glad I decided to gather more firewood because I’m burning through it quickly keeping the fire as high as I am. Even though it is early Autumn and the temperature was probably in the 40’s I was hot sitting so close to such a big fire.

Part of getting away from it all for me, is to leave my phone in the car. In civilization I don’t use a watch. I just look at my cell. However, this night I wish I had my cell on me, not to call someone there is no service, but to check the time. I wanted it to be late. I wanted the night to fly by, and give me the security of morning. I finished the whiskey, and wished that I had brought the bottle with me from the car. The spirits had done their job though, and I was a bit calmer. Also, praise be to god, I was feeling sleepy too. Though the rules say, don’t go to bed with your fire burning, I sure as hell was not going to sleep with the fire out. I got in my tent, leaving the flap open, with just the bug flap closed, so I could see the fire, and tried to sleep.

I don’t know how long I lay there before slept found me, but I did eventually drift off. Thankfully, I can’t remember having any dreams. I woke to a dead fire, and the early dusk light coming in. I have to say I was slightly surprised to be alive. As dawn turned in to day I felt more and more foolish for the fear I felt yesterday. Being a usually calm, cool, and collected guy I couldn’t explain the intense dread and fear I felt when I saw those kids, but I did my best to ignore it, and I explained away their eyes pretty easily. I told myself the kids were camping at the Platte River campground, same location as the ranger station I registered at. They had some coloured contact lenses and were playing a joke. Simple. Possible, even probably considering the alternative. I ate breakfast and then made a, upon hindsight, horrible decision. I decided to stay another night. After breakfast, I gathered firewood, so that I wouldn’t have to gather any when I got back for the evening. My pile of wood at a towering height, I hiked back to my car, along the wooded trail (I was feeling awfully, stupidly brave that morning).

I arrived at my car, and decided to go to the Dune Climb. The Dune Climb is a trail that begins at a towering dune and ends 1 ½ miles away at Lake Michigan. This hike was uneventful, but beautiful providing me even more determination not to let myself be scared off by some stupid kids with contact lenses. I got back to my car from the round trip hike right around 1:00. I got out my small camp stove and cooked some soup. Finished with lunch, I decided that next I would take the scenic drive, I forget the name of the road, that is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s a winding drive with several scenic and educational pull offs. It’s relaxing and beautiful. I finished with that around 3:00, and I decided I would head to Traverse City, just a forty-five-minute drive away, and do a little shopping and grab an early dinner at a nice steak house. This is not something I normally do while camping but after the previous night’s events, I decided to treat myself.

I went to this steak house just outside of Traverse around 4:30, figuring a quick dinner, an 45 minute drive and an hour walk would get me to my camp at just about dusk. But that’s not what happened. The restaurant was packed! I got a table fairly quickly but the service was very slow. In the end I didn’t get out of the restaurant until dusk. Cursing myself it began to rain as I drove back to the trail head parking lot. By the time I was at the lot and parked it was full blown night time. Sitting in the parking lot, listening to the wind, and the rain I was pretty damn scared again. I think that if nearly all of my gear wasn’t still at the campsite then I would have just drove home and said screw it. However, I couldn’t abandon several hundred dollars’ worth of camping equipment because I was scared. I’m not a pussy.

I gear up: flashlight, pocket knife, water bottle, headlamp, and walking stick. Again I had two options, through the woods or along the beach. The storm clouds blocked out most of the star and moon light so I would have been kidding myself to think that the beach would have been better lit, but it was still more open, and provided me with a better feeling, so I took the beach path. The path is only a mile and a half long along the beach and then another ½ mile into the woods to the campsite. I figured, if I hustled, I could be at my campsite in just over half an hour.

I turn on my headlamp and move off down the beach. The wind is hitting pretty hard, and it’s pretty damn cold, but I’m prepared. My coat has a nice rain shell and I’m not getting too wet. Hiking in the dark is not smart in the best of circumstances. In this area there are cougars and bear, both rare, but the real danger is getting lost, or stumbling over something and injuring yourself. However, I wasn’t too worried about any of that. The animals are so rare in that area it’d take very bad luck to get bothered by them, and the beach was clear of most debris that I might trip on. What had me worried was a creeping sensation of paranoia.

As I walked the sensation of paranoia and dread grew. I stopped every ten feet or so to look around, lighting the tall grass, next to the beach and before the woods, with my headlamp. I opened my jaw and listened, you can hear better with your mouth slightly open, but I saw nothing and heard nothing. I’d walk another ten feet and just know that someone was watching me. It was hard to hear anything over the lapping waves of the lake and the howling wind of the storm, but I swear I heard voices in the tall grass. I’d been walking probably 1/2 an hour and I knew I would be meeting off with the trail leading into the woods, and to my campsite any second now, but then my world fell apart. Having one of my strongest moments of feeling watched I turned around, facing the direction I came, and there they were.

The boy who spoke to me earlier couldn’t have been more than five feet away, and the other boy, the quiet boy, was standing slightly behind him. Each of the boys stood motionless. Staring. Just staring. At this moment, I’m not sure I have the ability to put my terror into words. The best way I can describe it is to say I felt like I was dying. I felt like I was in the hospital and the doctor just told me I had moments to live. The talkative boy moved toward me. The only light on the beach came from my headlamp. Neither kid had any sort of flashlight. My led beam flashed across their faces, reflecting grotesquely in their large dark eyes. The waves crashed, and the wind blew.

“Help us.”

I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe. The boy moved closer. The quiet boy stepped to the side, almost like he was slowly circling behind me, and that broke the spell. “I’m not fucking helping you,” I said.
“We’re lost. We can’t find our campsite.”
“Is this a game,” I asked, even though I knew it wasn’t.
“Take us with you. Please. We’ll die out here. We’re afraid…. ”

I call bull-shit on that one. They’re scared, I thought to myself? I’m scared. You’re the one with the creepy eyes, the vacant hollow voices. You’re the ones with the fish-eye stare. The quiet boy moved a little more. He was now standing beside me, just a couple feet away. The talkative boy was still in front of me, blocking the way I had come, blocking the path back to my car. Then things got even weirder.

“Okay, you can come with me,” I said.

I don’t even remember thinking the words. They just came out. The talkative boy smiled and he reached to take my hand. The fight or flight response hit me so hard it was like a physical punch to the stomach. I recoiled at the sight of this little monster trying to take my hand. Before I even realize it, I’m running down the beach. I’m sprinting away from the little bastards, and my car as fast as I can. I don’t’ look behind me. I don’t know if they’re following me or not, and I don’t want to know. All I know is that I need to run faster. I’m in decent shape, but given any normal circumstance I would never have been able to run so quickly for so long on a beach.

My head lamp bouncing up and down, I see the off-shoot-trail leading from the beach into the woods. Without much thought, if any, I take the trail and head into the woods. My senses finally returning to me, I jump off the trail and move a little ways into the woods. I turn off my head lamp, and lie down among some tall grass. I watch the trail, waiting to see the kids following. I waited, in the rain, and cold for god knows how long. A couple hours at least. No kids. The cold was slowly creeping in. I wasn’t sure if I was shivering because of the adrenaline, the fear, or the cold, but I do know I was starting to freeze. I had to leave my concealment and make way to shelter. I had two options. The tent and sleeping bag, or the car. The car meant safety. It meant home. However, it also meant that I would have to walk a mile and a half, in the dark with god knows who or what waiting for me. The tent meant warmth, and shelter from the elements. It meant exposure to the kids. If the kids knew where I was hiking, and when, then they’d know where I was camping. Right?

It was an impossible decision. It was a choice of the lesser of two evils. I chose the tent. I just couldn’t force myself to go back along the wooded trail, and I sure as hell wasn’t going back along the beach. I crossed my fingers and prayed that the little bastards didn’t know where my tent was. I got up, found the trail, and sprinted the ½ mile to the campground. As I ran a thought occurred. Maybe someone will have hiked in during the way. Maybe I’ll have company. There was no life at the campground. When I arrived at the campground, I made a wide circle of it, looking both for other campers and for the little devils. I saw nothing and no one.

I made my way, as quietly as possible, to my tent. I unzipped the fly, and crawled in. I thought briefly about a fire, but decided that would be more of a signal to the kids then deterrence. My clothes were sopping wet and I was still very cold. I had to take them off. My pack is leaning against a tree about fifteen feet from my tent. Inside are clean, dry clothes, sealed tightly in a wet bag. However, now that I’m inside the tent I’m sure as hell not going back out. The tent gave me some sense of security even though it wasn’t in any way secure. Now naked, I crawl inside my mummy bag. I’d like to say how much I hate that it’s called a mummy bag. After a few moments I warm up, but the shivering takes another third of an hour or so to subside. As I’m lying there, I’m wishing so much that I had that bottle of whiskey in my car.

The rain plays against the leaves of the trees, and the wind creaks the branches. Under the best of circumstances this is a night where a person’s mind can get away from them. For me, it was utter terror. My imagination made every creak, every howl of the wind into something sinister. As the hours passed, and my adrenaline faded I felt immensely tired. I wanted so badly just to fall asleep. In sleep I wouldn’t know I was being eviscerated. I’d either wake up or I wouldn’t. I thought it was a nightmare at first. When I heard the voice, say – something, I thought I was dreaming. But then sleep cleared from my head and I realized I was awake. It was still night, and the storm was still biting.

“Help us,” an unmistakable voice said.

I couldn’t help it. It was a gut reaction. I screamed. I lay naked, my mummy bag zipped up to my chin. I was completely helpless. I felt like a newborn baby, my fate completely held in the hands of others.

“Please let us in.”
“No,” I screeched, and then again, “no!”
“It’s so cold. Please let us in, Mr.”

I stopped replying and could only sob. Like a heartbroken teenage girl. Like a woman who just learned her sister died. I sobbed. I was so uncontrollably scared that I think it helped me not pay attention to the kids demands. At least not fully.

“Let us in.”

I tugged the pull string on the hood of my mummy bag until I was completely enveloped. I just kept repeating, not daring to listen to the kids, the word “no.” No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I waited for death. I knew it was coming. Any second and I’d be ripped to shreds. The kid kept saying something, but I wasn’t listening. I wouldn’t listen. I knew how overwhelming their hypnotic power was. I did everything I could not to listen. I kept chanting my mantra. Kept howling my “no’s.” I don’t know when I fell asleep, but the next thing I know I startle awake. The sun is shining, and I’m alive. I don’t know how, but I’m alive. I look around my small tent and I don’t see anything amiss on the inside. It takes me several minutes to gather the courage necessary to unzip the tent fly, but finally I do. I peak my head out, but see no one. Naked, I run to my pack, and grab my clothes in the dry-bag. I toss some clothes on and race back to the tent. I tear it down in a matter of moments. I pack my sleeping back, and pad and tent onto my pack, and take off down the trail. I decide one more time to take the beach trail. In the sun, and warmth of the morning it’s an entirely different trail. The only moment I’m given pause is when I come across a duck with what seems to be its heart torn out. I took a photo with a disposable camera in my pack, and move on.

I arrive at my car and find it unmolested. I get in and drive home. It’s been almost two entire months since this happened, but I still remember it all like it was yesterday. I haven’t gone camping since, and I don’t’ know if I’ll ever feel safe hiking again. Maybe I’ll go camping again sometime in the future, but I’m bringing a friend. No more going it alone. I, thankfully, haven’t seen any more, black eye kids. I don’t want to posit on what they are. I don’t want to think about whether they are demons, or monsters, aliens, or hybrids. I was interested at first. I did some research because I wanted to know if I was crazy. I don’t care what you think they are. I don’t care why they are. I just wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one who has had this experience. I’m not, and I’m thankful for that.

My advice if you ever do encounter a BEK, don’t listen to it to speak. Don’t be polite in case they’re just weird kids. Don’t question their validity. Don’t worry about looking silly, or that others will think you’re crazy. Just run. Run and don’t look back.

Here are some other encounters that have happened during the day. Lee, from my Walking the Shadowlands FaceBook group, had this brief experience with what she believed may have been black-eyed kids.

Lee

 “I’m not sure if it was black-eyed kids though, or something else. I was doing some work on a farm and on the tree-line I saw two children playing. I was miles from anywhere, so I yelled out hey! What are you doing? The children turned around, but something was wrong with their eyes. The children ran into the bush and something told me don’t follow. They had an extremely horrible feeling about them. So I didn’t follow and carried on with my day.

Marcus, also from my FaceBook group shares this experience.

“I had an experience when I was eight or nine back in Zimbabwe, before I moved to New Zealand. My parents were at work and I was home alone. Two children were knocking at the door. I opened the door, but luckily I forgot to undo the chain. When I looked at their eyes I felt dread and gut-wrenching fear. They looked like they were five or six years old. Their eyes were so black, completely black. I quickly slammed the door and locked it, but they started banging the door and tried looking through the windows. I hid under the blankets until my parents got home. I’ll never forget it. Still gives me chills to this day.

This is an account from a marine who uses the handle Reaper 3-1:

Camp Lejeune Encounter

I’m a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I live in the infantry barracks off of River Road. I recently had a rather strange encounter with a pair of black-eyed kids. I live on the third floor of the barracks that have open walkways on the outside and the rooms on the inside. This happened on a weekend back in November 2009. It was a weekend, so almost every Marine was out, either home, drinking or sleeping; only a handful were left in the barracks awake. I’d stayed in that weekend because I was broke and had no money to go out.

I was watching a movie when I heard a knock at my door. Figuring it was my roommate who’d lost his key again, I went and opened it. Instead of a drunken roommate, I found two little kids standing on the walkway – only these kids freaked the hell out of me. I don’t know what it was about them, but as a Marine we’re always told to listen to that little voice in your head because it just might save your life from an IED (improvised explosive device). Right then that voice was screaming at me to shut the door and lock it.

There was also the fact that these kids had absolutely pitch-black eyes. I mean no white or any other color to them whatsoever—just black. But I pushed those things aside and asked them what they were doing there so late. They responded by saying that it was really cold out and they wanted to come in and read. I was confused as hell because I’ve never met a kid that wants to read. Also, there was no mention of any parents or anything else you’d expect a lost couple of kids to say.

I couldn’t take my eyes off 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 goddam eyes. I took a quick look up and down the walkway to see if any other Marines were out, but there was nobody in sight. 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.​

I heard soft constant knocking for the next five minutes before I heard my window rattle and then nothing. I went down to the officer on duty the next morning and asked him about it and he said he hadn’t heard of or seen any kids in the area at all, and dismissed it saying that I’d probably had too much to drink last night. Only I hadn’t been drinking at all or anything like that. I don’t know what or who those kids were, but I doubt any of the families here would let their kids wander around at night on a military base.

Here we’ve had some stories of black-eyed kids outside. Not being invited in, to actually anywhere. But what happens if you actually let these kids into your home? In January 2016, a report appeared on the Internet, said to have come from an unnamed woman who had not only encountered black-eyed children, but made the mistake of allowing them into her home. According to the report, it was a decision that she believed would have lasting implications. This is her story as sent into the Week in Weird website.

I let them inside

Let me start by saying that I know how hard this all will be to believe, but now that things have taken a turn for the worse I started looking for stories similar to mine and found Week in Weird. I feel like I should share this story with someone.  I made the mistake of letting the Black Eyed Kids inside and now I’m worried that I might die because of it. I hope this will be a warning to everyone who is ever in the position to make the same mistake that I did. I live just outside of [a rural town in] Vermont. It’s a tight knit community where everyone knows one another and people don’t lock their doors at night. There has never been any need to.

A little over a year ago I woke up because I heard a loud banging on my front door. At the time my husband I lived in a small home on a dirt road just off the rural route into town. It was the middle of a snowstorm and the nearby hills get very slippery in the snow so I thought that someone might have been in an accident and broken down. It’s happened before.

When I looked out the window I could see that out motion spotlight was on. I could see that there were footprints in the snow that had come from our road and into our driveway but there was no car anywhere. The snow was still covering the road and no one had driven on it for at least a couple hours. Our front door was obscured from the window but I could see that someone was standing there. I wasn’t sure what to think so I woke my husband up just to feel safer. While I was telling him what was going on the banging on the door started again and my husband went to answer it while I stood in the hallway.

When he opened the door there were two children standing in the snow looking toward the ground. They were a boy and a girl and could not have been more than 8 years old. They were dressed strangely and had odd haircuts. The girl’s hair was very long and straight and the boy had a dated haircut that looked almost like a bowl cut. They weren’t dressed for winter and my first thought was that they must have been Mennonite children but as far as I know there was never a large community of Mennonites near us.

Thinking back on it I know that my normal reaction to seeing children in a snowstorm would have been to rush them inside and bundle them up with some blankets and hot cocoa, but that’s not how this felt. The children were very unnerving. They would not make eye contact and when my husband asked them if everything was ok they asked if they could come in. My husband looked at me like “what do I do?” and I asked the kids where their parents were.

“They’ll be here soon,” is all they said.

It was around 2 o’clock in the morning at this point so the only reasonable thought in my head was that there must have been an accident or these kids got lost. As much as my instincts told me not to bring them inside I did it anyway. I went into the kitchen to make them some hot cocoa while my husband took them into the living room. While I was fixing the kettle I could hear my husband talking to the kids. He was asking them if they were ok, where the came from, how far they walked, if their parents’ car was broken down, things like that. But they always answered “our parents will be here soon”. They spoke in a sing-songy voice. They weren’t afraid to be in a stranger’s home at all.

I started to notice that our cats (we had four) were all hiding except Pigeon who was in the kitchen with me. Normally our cats are very curious and friendly and we have to be careful that they don’t run out the door when we leave. This time none of them even tried to see who was here which I thought was very strange.

When I walked back into the living room the kids were sitting on the couch as still as can be but my husband was holding his head in his hands. I asked him what wrong and he just said that he felt very dizzy all of a sudden but that he was fine. I turned back to the children to give them their cocoa, but when they looked at me I gasped. It took everything inside of me not to drop the mugs and run away. When they looked at me their eyes were completely black. They had no whites just giant black pupils.

When they saw that I was scared they stood up and asked if they could use the bathroom. I tried to be as composed as I could be and showed them down the hall. They went into the bathroom together and I hurried back to my husband to ask him if he had seen their eyes. He had seen them too and said that it looked like his brothers badly bruised eyes after a car accident. We were in the middle of talking about whose children they could be when my husbands nose started to bleed. He’d never had nosebleeds as long as I had known him. I just knew inside myself that this had something to do with the kids in the bathroom and I started crying while I ran to get [my husband] some tissues.

That’s when the power went out. I heard my husband yell my name from the living room and as I started to walk back through the hallway I stopped dead in my tracks. The two children were standing at the end of the hallway. They weren’t moving and I have never been so scared in my whole life. They just stood there in the dark. After what felt like forever the boy said “our parents are here” and they walked to the door, opened it, and walked out leaving it wide open. My husband jumped up to go close it and almost fell over. We looked out the window and saw two men standing by a black car idling at the end of our driveway. The men looked like they were wearing black colored suits and were very tall, at least 6 feet. When my husband waved at them they just stared at us, got into the car, and drove off.

Our power came on about a half an hour later but nothing was the same after that. Over the next few months three of our cats went missing. We can only assume that they ran away somewhere and never came back but the worst thing was coming home to find Pigeon in a puddle of blood on the living room floor. He looked like he had been vomiting blood. The vet told us that he had some kind of hemorrhage. After my husband’s nosebleeds became a regular occurrence we went to see the doctor. He didn’t know what to make of it other than “dry nasal passages” but my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer. When the doctor asked us if he used tanning beds we both thought he was joking, but apparently this kind of melanoma is linked to over-use of indoor tanning. The doctors think he will recover but don’t understand how it got so bad so quickly. My husband has never worked an outdoor job and spends relatively little time in the sun.

Since we let the Black Eyed Kids inside our home I’ve also suffered from regular dizzy spells and nosebleeds on a regular basis. I’ve had other issues which I won’t mention here but trust me when I say that I am suddenly in the worst condition of my life and no one can do anything about it. I know that all of this is because I let the Black Eyed Children into my home. We’ve told everyone we could about the strange kids that showed up that night but no one else saw them and some laugh at how scared we were of the “Mennonite kids” but we know what we saw. I wish my husband had never opened the door.

Finally, John Northwood’s experience as shared on a message board with journalist Brian Bethel in 1998, shared on pararational.com:

John’s Encounter

I was in downtown Portland (Oregon) after a seminar series on software development.  I’d grabbed a bite of dinner about 10pm, and when I left it was about 11(ish). I’d gotten in my car, locked and belted up and just started the engine when someone tapped on my window. I was in an above-ground garage on the third floor, so I wasn’t too freaked (good lighting, still some people around). It was one of the guys from the conference, so I rolled down my window and asked him what was up. He wanted a ride around the block a few times, as he was freaked about who was standing outside his car.

I figured (so sue me) that it was some of Portland’s homeless, or some punker kids.  So, being a good Samaritan, I let him in and we took off. We drove by his car, and there were three kids around it, two boys and a girl. The girl was . . . weird.  Just freaky.  Y’know, clothes and hair and makeup — Goth-O-Matic. The two kids were . . . I dunno . . . just scary as shit. She was probably fourteen or fifteen, the oldest boy was probably fourteen(ish) and the youngest between ten and twelve.
She looked bored and was smoking a cigarette, the two boys were just leaning against the car. They looked way too intense for kids. Anyway, I started itching behind my eyes, like I needed to really look at them, so, like an ass, I slowed down. BIG mistake. The two boys sauntered over and the girl stayed against the car. The eldest was on Doug’s side (the guy from the seminar) and the youngest was on mine. I made sure the doors were locked (I love electronic locks) and asked why they were standing around his car.

The young one said “It’s scary out there all alone, and we just wanted a ride home.” The eldest one said “You promised you’d help us out” and Doug said “I don’t even know you.” By this time, I was really on edge — I felt caught between throwing up and jazzing — adrenaline does that to me. All of a sudden Doug said he was getting out of the car, and I told him not to.  As soon as he reached for the handle, the two kids . . . I don’t know how to say this right . . . they looked a lot older. Their faces were somewhat drawn, and their eyes were solid black.  Edge to edge — no pupil, no iris — nothing.  Just a liquid black pool.
I just about wet myself, slapped the car into reverse and burned rubber backing about sixty feet away. 

They started running after the car, so I spun around one of the support struts and we took off.  I kid you not — I was convinced that if they got a hold of the car, I was going to die — and not in anything approaching a pleasant fashion. Anyway, the oldest one was at the bottom of the garage when we came out, and almost made it to my side door. We’d gone down from the third floor doing thirty-ish, maybe thirty-five around the ramp.  He’d beaten us down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, and when I turned to look — nothing.  He was gone.

Doug just about passed out. All of a sudden, the feeling of menace left. We went back about ten minutes later, nobody was around his car. He got out, got in his car, and drove home. He’d said that he had met the young one earlier in the evening, and had said he’d take him home, had even given him a short ride in his car to the seminar and told him to wait.  Apparently, though, the older brother scared him, so he felt that all bets were off. I was behind him about forty-five feet when the feeling of *menace* hit again.  At that moment, Doug misjudged going across an intersection on a yellow light and his car was hit by a truck.  He was killed instantly. I gave a police report, and the whole time, felt really freaked out and very exposed. I got back to my car, got in, locked the door, and waited.

I saw the kids again, from about two blocks away. I’m not making it up. I’m not thinking they were “vampires” or something like that, but they weren’t as pale, they weren’t as skinny, and they felt a damn sight more menacing.  I left, quickly. My only concern now, though, is that this upcoming Wednesday I’m going back to the area for another seminar, and I won’t be leaving until 9:30. I’m freaked out people.

Black-eyed kids, what are they? Are they genuine? Are they merely an urban legend? Are all of these accounts I have shared with you true? The only one I can definitely vouch for is Peter’s one, however, one has to ask themselves for these other experiences I have shared, what would these people who have shared their experiences have to gain?

As I mentioned early in the episodes there are many theories as to what they are, others are, that they have a medical condition causing the changes in their eyes. But how does that account for the aura of fear they create in all of those, animals included who experience them? There has never been a shred of physical evidence to even begin to suggest that black-eyed kids are physically present in anyway if they actually do exist. But, on the other hand to my knowledge, there has never been any person caught creating this as a hoax to scare unknown people. My question to you all is, what do you think? Hang on…. Is that someone knocking on the door?? Would you brave enough to answer it?

Our bumper music today is called Private reflection by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under creative commons, for more information check out this episode’s page on the podcast website at www.walkingtheshadowlands.com

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