If there was a Creepy Corner Senior Community, you KNOW we'd have to have Creepy Corner Bingo.
Dressed in my stringy-haired Yurei best, I'd turn the bingo cage and call out the special bingo squares on your Ouija Board-style bingo card. The squares would include:
DOLLS URBAN LEGENDS MIRRORS
POSSESSION HOME INVASION PUNKY BREWSTER
SPIRIT BOARD WEIRD KIDS GEF THE MONGOOSE
CARL TANZLER KNOCK, KNOCK CLOWNS
SADAKO INHUMAN "HUMANS" BLOODY MARY
As you can see, if you got the bingo down the center you'd have what I'll call the "Black Eyed Kids" Bingo.
To be clear, it's not this kind of bingo:
It's this kind of bingo:
By now I'm sure many of you have heard of the Black Eyed Kids, Black Eyed Children, or Black Eyed People. For a while now, they've been making the rounds on the interweb.
From Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog, to The Huffington Post, to that stalwart of weird news the Mirror, news outlets large and small all seem to have mentioned the Black Eyed Kids in one way or another.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I 100% believe the Black Eyed Kids are a legit phenomenon. As much as the interweb tries to convince me with numerous Reddit and "ParanormalConspiracyWebsite.com" accounts of people's encounters with Black Eyed Kids, it seems like the makings of a great urban legend.
For those of you with better things to do than spend your time reading "Hamhock62" or "SleepH8er99's" account of their dealings with the Black Eyed Kids, here's rundown of what typically happens in BEK encounters. Pay attention to your bingo cards, kids.
Almost all encounters seem to take place at night.
A person is typically up late and alone. Sometimes there's a dog that "knows better" involved. Whether in their home or in their car (the most common places), the encounter seems to always start with a rather innocuous request to gain entrance, or "knock, knock."
The person telling the tale will explain how they felt a sense of foreboding, before opening their front door or cracking their car window. The Dog That Knows Better invariably growls and hides. Yet, they almost always speak to the kids...as if compelled.
At first the kids will appear relatively innocuous. Ranging in age from around five to around 13, the kids travel in pairs or packs. Their faces obscured at first by hair, hoodies, or darkness, they start by asking politely to gain entrance to your home or car.
"My brother is scared, can we use your phone to call our mom?"
"Will you drive my little sister and me home?"
"We're scared, can we come in?"
Despite the innocent questions, and the fact that the questioners are mere children, the person giving the account begins to feel as if there is something wrong with the situation, that somehow they are in danger. (Weird kids y'all...weird kids)
When they tell the kids no, the kids start to get pushy. They implore, change up their tactics, demand that they MUST BE LET IN. (Home invasion, or at least attempted home invasion)
It is at this point, the intended BEK "victim" will realize that they are unconsciously opening their front door wider, or reaching to unlock their car door. Even if they stop themselves from doing so, they still feel as if they are under some sort of "Black Eyed Kid Spell."
If they haven't already seen the children's eyes, they do now. All accounts describe the eyes as being completely black. There is no sclera in the eyes. Sometimes they are described as just deep, dark sockets.
Looking into their entirely black eyes is chilling, hypnotic, terrifying in a primal sort of way.
Once the eyes are revealed, the kids get really aggressive, and that's when most people attempt to end the encounter. They close and lock their door, or they drive away.
Drivers report that the kids stare them down as they drive away, mysteriously disappearing from sight. Those who have the misfortune of having the kids come to their door, say that they either continue to stand at the door then leave or disappear, retreat down the street before disappearing, or stand at other doors or windows of the house knocking or JUST WAITING.
All "survivors" of the BEKs give stern warnings to NEVER under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let the kids into your car, house, place of employment, spaceship, wherever. They rue the day they laughed at others who warned them, and a few claim that they have friends who disappeared because of the BEKs.
One commenter on Reddit, nosleeptrash, said, "Every story I’ve read about them is from someone who already knew about them. Maybe, Just maybe knowledge of them existing is the only reason they visit..I’m afraid and I’m sorry."
I'm sorry too? You can bill me for your new deadbolt and peephole. (No you can't)
You've got to admit, this is all classic urban legend stuff: innocent children twisted in some eerie fashion, getting you where you feel safe in the dark of night, warnings that others might not heed until it's too late!
Where are Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell when you need them?
Even though the BEKs reek of hoax to me, because it is a legend born of the internet there is an element of "THIS IS REAL. I SWEAR. BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO ME OR SOMEONE I KNOW," that keeps "reality" nipping at the heels of this story.
Of course the "reality" on which the Black Eyed Kids are founded is a pretty good story in itself. In 1996, Brian Bethel of Abilene, Texas (the site of, among other horrors, my singing of selections from Miss Saigon for my high school theater competition) claimed he was approached by two boys while stopped at a light in his car.
The boys knocked at his window and:
The “spokesman,” as I’ve come to think of him, told me that he and his companion needed a ride. They wanted to see a movie, “Mortal Kombat,” but they had left their money at their mother’s house. Could I give them a ride?
Plausible enough. But all throughout this exchange, the irrational fear continued and grew. I had no reason to be frightened of these two boys, but I was. Terribly.
Bethel noticed that the movie had already started, and as he hesitated the "spokesman" kept pushing him, at one point saying claiming, "They didn’t have a gun or anything."
I noticed that my hand had strayed toward the lock on my door. I pulled it away, perhaps a bit too violently...
Both boys stared at me with coal-black eyes...
...I apologized to the kids. I made whatever excuses came to mind, all of them designed to get me the hell out of there. Fast.
...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 OK. Let us in!”
It's hard not to appreciate the earnestness of Bethel's story. He goes on to make no claims as to what exactly he saw, and that he doesn't expect to be believed.
Lee Brickley, author of UFOs, Werewolves & The Pig-Man covered the Black Eyed Kids when he investigated England's "strangest location," Cannock Chase.
Brickley admits that his report of the "Black Eyed Child" has gotten out of hand. While the account he reported, as told by his aunt, makes some connections to area child murders of the 1960s, Brickley makes no substantiated claims about the Black Eyed Child being supernatural.
Brickley said to Buzzfeed in October of 2014:
All I did was publish a report from a family member on my blog over a year ago, and the press have taken it upon themselves to lift the story and put me all over their front pages.
...I have never once said they have anything to do with the child murders on Cannock Chase, and yet they keep running this line.
Brickley goes on to say:
I too am very sceptical, and as I said in a video interview for the Birmingham Mail, my personal opinion is that people are hallucinating.
So there it is, the evolution of an urban legend. Start from a seed of "something strange happened," add in some press/attention seeking, and the tale gets taller and taller.
I admit stories like the Black Eyed Kids is a slippery slope. It's a sad day in our culture when my enjoyment of such spooky, if blatantly fictional stories is tainted by the fear that some goon is going to do harm to kids genuinely in need of help, all because of an Internet legend.
I genuinely hope that the Black Eyed Kids stays solely in the realm of "interweb stories to chill your bones," and nothing more sinister.
After all, the stories have all the makings of a bingo.
What do you think of the Black Eyed Kids? Do you think there's more reality to these stories than I give credit? Any BEK stories out there?