The Black Eyed Kids phenomenon came to public attention in 1998 with a story given by journalist Brian Bethel on January 16th. Bethel was inside his car, which was at a standstill in a parking lot in Abilene, Texas. His trip out of the house was for the purpose of paying his bill for Internet services, so his attention was turned to writing out a cheque when two kids approached his car. The likely time of this event was around 9:45pm. Bethel remembered leaving his residence around 9:30pm to complete a 10 to 15 minute drive to where he could take care of his Internet bill.
On the evening in question, the film that was playing in a movie theatre nearby was “Mortal Kombat,” and Bethel drove past the theatre in order to park in the lot, stop and write out a cheque. As he was writing, a knock sounded on his driver side window. When he looked up, Bethel saw two children standing near his car and he deemed them to be around 10-14 years of age. Later, on his internet newsgroup post, he would write that the kids were in that “[...] semi-mystical stage of life children get into where you can’t
exactly tell their age.”
Bethel refers to the children as boys, furthermore as “Boy 1″ and “Boy 2″ and has said that Boy 1 acted as a “spokesman” for the duo. In hindsight, Bethel would claim that Boy 2 never spoke, “at least not with words” during the incident. The boys are described as:
“Boy No.1 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 [he] had curly, medium-length brown hair. He exuded an air of quiet confidence.
Boy No.2 had pale skin with a trace of freckles. His primary characteristic seemed to be looking around nervously. He was dressed in similar manner to his companion, but his pullover was a light green color. His hair was a sort of pale orange.”
Bethel believed the kids intended to ask him for some money, and just when he’d completed this thought, he noted, “then the air changed.”
He described an overwhelming sense of fear and unearthliness pressing down on him at this point of the experience. The smile that Boy No.1, the spokesman, offered brought chills to Bethel’s blood, and Bethel knew there was something not quite right about the boys and this situation. Even before he responded to the actual knock on the window, he felt his fight-or-flight responses rev up.
Bethel unrolled the window a little bit and asked, “Yes?”
When the spokesman smiled again, Bethel noticed that Boy No.1 had extremely white teeth. The boy asked, “Hey, mister, what’s up? We have a problem.” Bethel said the boy’s diction was quiet and calm but his voice sounded like that of a young man – not a child. While the boy spoke, Bethel remembers wanting so very much to just FLEE…but the spokesman continued to speak…
“You see, my friend and I want to see the films, but we forgot our money…We need to go to our house to get it. Want to help us out?”
In Bethel’s account, he suggests more typical ways that children and young teens use language and the actual way that “spokesman” talked was not typical, in Bethel’s opinion.
Instead, Boy No.1 spoke fluently, without any nervous pauses one might expect of a child who is asking a grown-up stranger for money. Bethel remembers only stuttering a reply like “Uh, well…” before noticing something like discomfort or nervousness from Boy No. 2′s body language. “C’mon mister…” Boy No. 1 urged, “Now, we just want to go to our house. And we’re just two little boys.”
Bethel remembers feeling that the spokesman’s manner was all wrong – so was the 2nd boy’s body language, but Bethel couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly was wrong about this whole scenario, so finally he asked the boys about what movie they were going to see.
“Mortal Kombat, of course,” replied the spokesman, while the Boy No.2 that Bethel now calls ‘the silent one,’ simply nodded in agreement. Bethel responded to this answer with a simple, “Oh…” while he glanced at the movie theatre marquee and at the clock in his car.
He quickly determined that Mortal Kombat was in its final showing for the evening and that it was about an hour into playing by this time. While Bethel’s reluctance to interact with the boys seemed to make the ‘silent one’ ever more nervous, the spokesman showed no nervousness at all. The spokesman continued to coax, “C’mon mister. Let us in. We can’t get in your car until you do, you know.” And with a more soothing voice, “Just let us in, and we’ll be gone before you know it. We’ll go to our mother’s house.”
At this point, Bethel locked eyes with the vacant-orb-eyed spokesman – while realizing in horror that his own hand had strayed to the door lock. Luckily the door was still locked, but Bethel’s hand had started the process of unlocking the door before he caught hold of himself. He probably jerked back his hand upon this realization, alerting the strange preteen duo that he felt that all was not right in this situation. This action also forced Bethel to look away from the kids and stutter something non-binding and unclear.
He turned his attention back to look at the children and, for the first time, noticed their eyes…coal black…no irises, no pupils, and as Bethel wrote, “Just two staring orbs reflecting the red and white light of the marquee.” Bethel’s facial expression must have conveyed something to the duo and the silent one suddenly dawned a look of horror, while the spokesman’s expression turned to blatant anger, “C’mon mister,” he insisted, “We won’t hurt you. You have to LET US IN. We don’t have a gun…”
These words were terrifying to Brian Bethel, and he tried to gain his bearings, reaching a hand toward the car gearshift in order to make a speedy exit…The spokesman said, with great urgency, “WE CAN’T COME IN UNLESS YOU TELL US IT’S OKAY. LET…US — IN!”
Finally, Bethel’s hand responded on the gearshift, knocked the car into reverse and Bethel’s car ripped out of the parking lot, “I noticed the boys in my peripheral vision, and I stole a quick glance back. They were gone. The sidewalk by the theatre was deserted.”
Bethel drove straight home, parked and ran inside, all in a complete panic. Bethel still wonders, “What did I see?” and “What would have happened if I had opened my car door?”
This is great story telling and other BEK accounts can be found at Hecklerspray, MysteriousUniverse and Fortean Times message board plus there’s a review of David Weatherly’s book called Black Eyed Children by Nick Redfern.
I’ve also come across a very interesting account of an 18 year old woman from Lisburn, Ireland.
From a research point of view, various archetypes pop up from time to time and exist in a short term time period then to fade and be replaced by another. We only have to think of the spooky appearance of the Men in Black to see that common traits such as appearing to lone members of the public, displaying eccentric/abnormal behaviour, hypnotic stares, wearing clothing that are not of their time or just do not seem right. These strange visitors also have the uncanny ability to convey that they are not of this world. They are here one minute, gone the next. They encourage us to question the nature of our reality. Furthermore, we’re unable to prove their existence and validate these alleged encounters.
Not comparing visual like for like, these strange creatures could be equated with the fairies and demonic black men in the witchcraft stories of the 16th and 17th centuries. There’s also the tales of Spring-heeled Jack, the Mothman, the Chupacabra and the New Jersey Devil.
Although such tales were normally extracted through torture, it gave the accused an opportunity to blame their socially unacceptable behaviour on external agencies that exerted a powerful force upon them. In fact, many people around the world traditionally believe that their lives are often controlled/manipulated by the supernatural world. That to restore order to the ensuing imbalance, people have to participate in rituals associated with that supernatural world, as if to appease these forces.
The Black Eyed Kids have been associated with demonic entities and/or malevolent ghosts in the same way that some UFO-related entities are labelled as being demonic in origin (the film Fourth Kind is a modern example in popular culture).
So what is the purpose of the Black Eyed Kids? Do they have a useful purpose? Urban myths exist to reflect social concerns. They are credible because the myth is told from a personal point of view, from the perspective of ‘it’s true because I know the guy it happened to.’It is not a once upon a time story, which directly relates to the make believe.
With Black Eyed Kids, the phenomenon is about young people who want to enter your car/home so that they can make a phone call etc., if you do this then something bad happens to you, they become omens of doom. In our world today, we are frightened for the safety of our children in a world we feel is becoming increasingly violent. We mistrust visiting strangers – don’t forget that ten plus years ago there were similar stories being banded about regarding phantom social workers and Satanic child abuse tales – none of these alleged events were true but the awareness of paedophile activity in this country was being raised at the time.
We are scared because, like terrorists, there are bad people out there who may want to hurt us and they are an invisible enemy (until caught). Urban myths clearly serve to remind us of the potential dangers around us, but more importantly the very things we fear.