We’ve all heard them. A terrifying tale that happened to a friend of a friend or my second cousin’s sister’s brother’s niece. That’s right, urban legends. One my favorite Halloween topics.During some research for a project, I found that some of these tales have roots in reality. A modern example of this is the Black Eyed Kids.
During some research for a project, I found that some of these tales have roots in reality. A modern example of this is the Black Eyed Kids.
It’s thought to have started with a story as told by a reporter for the Abilene Reporter-News, Brian Bethel. In 1996 he was sitting in his car, using the light from the nearby movie theater marquise to write a check. A knock on his driver’s side door pulled his attention, and he saw two boys in hoodies. The boys claimed that they wanted to see a movie, but had left their money at home. They asked him for a ride. He was overwhelmed with an irrational fear of the young boys. He hesitated and the boys got a little pushy. He looked away to check the time and when he looked back their eyes had changed, or maybe he could see clearly. They stared back at him with “soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night.” Flight or fight kicked in, and he peeled out of there. As he pulled away one of the boys angrily shouted: We can’t come in unless you tell us it’s OK. Let us in!
After he shared his story on-line in 1998 stories of similar encounters flooded into paranormal podcasts and message boards. Hence, it’s status as an urban legend. But, digging a little deeper, David Weatherly writes in his book Black Eyed Children, that he discovered accounts predating television and the internet with similarities to Brian Bethel’s story. The sense of deep fear the children instill, the demanding persistence to be let in, and not noticing at first that their eyes are not normal are all common themes.
One of the stories I heard that really got my hair up was told by a fellow mom. I think this story resonated with me because I could so closely identify with her. We are both busy moms, and she lived in a semi-rural area like I do.
One evening on her way home, with her young son in the back seat, they made a pit stop at the local convince store/gas station. She parked in front of the store and ran in to get milk, leaving her boy in the car with his iPad. This is all pretty mundane everyday stuff in small towns.
When she returned to the car, she peeked in her rear-view mirror to check on her passenger. She was startled when she saw a boy sitting next to him. His head was covered by the hood of his jacket, and he bent to look at the iPad. She asked her son who his friend was.
“I dunno. He said he needed a ride, so I let him in,” was the reply.
Much to her horror, the strange boy lifted his face to her. His eyes shining damp black orbs against his pale skin. She screeched, jumped out of the car, grabbed her kid, and ran back inside the store. She tried to tell the clerk what was happening, and he assumed she was the victim of a car-jacking, so he called the sheriff. When the sheriff arrived, there was no sign of the strange boy.
She was too shaken up to drive her car. Her husband came and switched cars with her. On his way home in her car, he was involved in a car accident. Thankfully, despite his bumps and bruises, he was fine. The woman remains convinced that the Black Eyed Kid was somehow tied to the accident; either he caused it or appeared as a warning.
As far as I know, no one has ever come up with physical proof of these beings. No iPhone photos or video, for example. But stories have been shared from all over the world by people from every walk of life. Some from very credible individuals. There hasn’t been any proof of a hoax either.
So, what are they? Vampires? Aliens? Demons? Imagination? Hallucination?
What do they want? Your soul? Your body? Your blood?
No one knows.
In my novel Dread, I explore what would happen if these beings invaded a perfectly normal neighborhood and tormented perfectly normal people, just like you. What would happen if they let the BEKs in? Can they figure out what they are and what they want before it is too late?
All I can tell you for sure is that once you encounter the Black Eyed Kids, your perfectly normal life will cease to exist.
Fourteen-year-old Nate Camden, who dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL, has just moved into Dark Pine Hills, a subdivision that has sat neglected and unfinished for some time. His father’s company has taken on the task of recrafting the area into a high-end development, a big opportunity the family can’t pass up. Nate does his best to settle in, and he quickly makes friends, even securing a starting spot on the football team. But it doesn’t take Nate long to suspect things are not as positive as they seem, just under the surface darkness lurks. It’s not just the discovery of neighbors’ family issues, or the protesters that claim the area is a paranormal vortex and should not be developed, or even the rumors that the surrounding forest is haunted. It is something much worse. Kids have come knocking, wanting to come in. The only problem is that judging by their soulless black eyes, they may not be human. Forced to believe the unbelievable, Nate will have to face his worst fears to protect the ones he loves.