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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black-Eyed Kids: Monster or Meme?

You’re home alone, it’s late at night. As you’re watching TV you hear a knock at the door. Puzzled, you think to yourself, “Who could that be at this hour?” Confused you make your way to the front door. Turning on the light, you see two children. One looks older than the other, perhaps a teenager, but what strikes you as odd is their dress. Never mind the fact that they’re perhaps out much later than children should be, their dress looks slightly old-fashioned. The last thing that you notice about the children that almost sends you running away in terror is their pitch-black eyes, soulless and dark like a shark or other predator. The children began demanding to be let in, they need to use the phone, or perhaps want a drink of water. Or they want to collect you?
Please sir, won't you let me in?
If the above story, or a slight variation of it, sounds familiar to you then that means you’ve been on the Internet at some point in the last decade. The above is a fictionalized amalgamation of the basic “Black-Eyed Kids” meme that you’ve probably seen pop up on a number of various paranormal sites or even Reddit. Yesterday as I was working (read surfing reddit from my phone) I came across a very recent version of this worn out tale. The story comes from Redditor kyuss534. I’m not going to go into the whole account, but I will link it here. Suffice it to say, my little fictionalized account above isn’t too far from what kyuss534 related.
And I think that’s what my problem with this whole “Black-Eyed Kids” meme, every account of them that I’ve seen is identical. Maybe a little too identical? I dunno, perhaps I’m being a bit cynical about the whole thing, but it reeks to me of an Internet urban legend. Not entirely unlike the “Slender man” meme. The key difference is that we can trace back the origin of Slender man directly to an Internet contest. A few year’s back the gang over at Something Awful held a competition to see if they could create, from nothing, a new paranormal entity. The winning entry was Slender man. If you want to know more about Slender man, I suggest checking out this entry of Know Your Meme.
No, trust me. I'm good with kids!
In my mind, at least at the moment, there is no reality to the Slender man aspect (tulpas and thought forms not-withstanding I suppose). And I guess that’s where I’m at with the Black-Eyed Kids stories as well. Prior to Brian Bethel posting his own account of interacting with the Black-Eyed Kids to a newsgropu in 1998, the Black-Eyed Kids were seemingly non-existent. I’m sure you can find stories that claim to have occurred before 1998, but I doubt you’d find evidence of any stories being recounted before Bethel started the trend.
Frequent readers of this blog, the few of you left after my almost year hiatus, will likely be aware that I don’t tend to state things in definite terms too often. Preferring rather to keep the possibility open for more information in the future. So too it is with my opinion of the Black-Eyed Kids. For the moment I’m leaning towards them being an Internet urban legend, and they do make for great “campfire” ghost stories, but I doubt very much they have any basis in reality. As always I leave the door open for future information that will prove me wrong and I would love to know your thoughts and opinions on the topic. Or, for that matter, if you have a personal account of your own interaction with a Black-Eyed Kid please let me know in the comments or drop me an email.
Until next time (which may actually be this year!), this is your friendly neighborhood Fortean Philosopher saying, “Good night and for the love of god don’t let the children in!”


purrlgurrl said...

I've often wondered if this "black-eyed children" myth didn't arise out of someone's viewing of one of the film versions of John Wyndham's "Village of the Damned", in which after what can only be described as a Fortean event, all the women in a village give birth to odd and dangerous children with unusual and arresting eyes. We also have in our cultural inheritance the highly popular in the 1960s paintings by the Keene's of children with oversized eyes and pupils. I saw a photo of one of these paintings posted online and purported it to be of a "black-eyed child". Unlike Slenderman, who was fabricated out of thin air, the "black-eyed children" legend seems to draw on some real cultural references.

Tony Morrill said...

Hey there purrlgurrl, thanks so much for your response. You're probably not too far off from the truth about where the idea of the Black-Eyed Kids come from. There's a whole weird undercurrent of "creepy kids" movies, so maybe some people just have a built in fear of them? Perhaps some of the reports of Black-Eyed Kids are from people that have seen just one too many movies.

Scott Macdonald said...

The problem with it all all legend is there are too many people seeing them and talking about what they say -- like "Its food time". Either there are alot of liers out there or this is a real pheonomen. I can tell you that 100% ghosts exist. However - cannot account for other paranormal stuff.

Anonymous said...

As long as people base this subject on a invention of the internet or television, you can disbelieve all you want. Yes, I have read about these black eyed kids; but, not until I heard of a friends experiance of a adult who's eyes went black when he got angry. What ever the condition this guy had it since he was a child. People have this weird idea that everyone is a liar when they hit a subject they are too close minded to fathom.

Anonymous said...

Black eyes are demonic possession.

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