Brian Bethel had the first reported encounter with Black-Eyed Children in Abeline, Texas. His story happened in January of 1996 around 9:30 at night. He stopped and parked in a movie theater parking lot to write some checks when two boys with their hoods up approached the car and knocked on the window. Thinking they needed help, Bethel rolled down the window just enough to ask them what they needed. They were no more than 12 or 14 years old, both in hoodies and jeans. The taller one had olive skin and medium-length dark hair. The other was a ginger with freckles and had a nervous air. They asked if he could drive them back to their house to get money to see a movie. They told him they were just two boys who wanted to see the Mortal Kombat movie and needed a ride. No big deal.
Bethel knew that this theater had already begun its last showing of the day and that by the time they got back, the movie would be over. He was also unnerved by the boys and was inclined to say no but caught himself about to unlock the doors to let the boys in. Then he looked at the two boys and realized their eyes were solid black. Realizing the gig was up, the one boy began to bang on the side of the car and window, infuriated. He yelled, “We won’t hurt you. You have to LET US IN. We don’t have a gun.”
The taller of the two boys began to pull at the door handle, and Bethel decided he was done and put his car in reverse and sped out of that parking lot as fast as he could. At the time of the incident, Bethel only shared the story via email to some friends, but it would seem one of those friends ended up leaking the story on the internet. Later, Bethel would come forward and tell his story publicly. By then, the idea of Black-Eyed Children (or Black-Eyed Kids – BEKs) had grown, and others came forward with their own stories. The urban legend had been born. That is if it was indeed a legend…
As the story of the BEK grew, reports that these children had been seen since the 1980s began to surface. With the stories, a pattern started to emerge which helped define BEKs.
BEKs are typically between 6 and 16 years old. They always have solid black eyes with no defined pupil, iris, or sclera. Their eyes are a startling and unnerving aspect of their appearance, thus the name. Unnerving due to the lack of defined gaze… just blank abyss-like pools. Their skin, by contrast, is very pale. Many report feeling a sense of unease or terror when these children are near. They tend to act in ways that don’t feel like how normal children act, with some saying they move and speak mechanically.
The BEK will always ask for something. Typically, this is to be in closed quarters with you. In the case of Bethel, they wanted to be in the car with him. Other stories report them knocking on the door and asking to get let into your house for various reasons. At first, you let your guard down because it seems like a helpless child, but many report the feeling of unease becoming so strong they deny the child’s request. In this regard, the BEK is like a vampire; they need your invitation.
It’s unclear what happens when you let a BEK into your space. Most people are so creeped out by the children they turn them away. However, some say that those who let in the children experience terrifying nightmares for the rest of their life or develop extreme agoraphobia.
In 2012, a movie featured the Black-Eyed Children, and the story took on new life on the internet. In particular, it spread to the U.K., and reports of BEKs began taking off there. One report states that they were first seen in the U.K. in the 80s, near where three girls were murdered in the 60s. With this, theories about BEKs were also beginning to circulate. Due to them asking for entry to your home, many felt they were a type of vampire. Others claimed they could be extra-terrestrial or demons. One comic about BEKs posited that they were once normal children who became BEKs after they killed their entire families.
You can find many stories of the BEKs posted on sites such as Reddit. User BigTaco123 wrote that when they were 12, they were waiting in the truck for their mother to be done in the hairdresser when they noticed a kid walking up and down the sidewalk that reminded them of someone they went to school with. They knocked on the windshield to get the kid’s attention, but when the kid walked over they realized that it was not a friend, and what’s worse, the kid had solid black eyes. The BEK told them they must let them into the truck, but they locked the doors and hid in the floorboard. Later, when their mom got to the truck, the kid was gone, but their mother said a strange kid came into the hairdresser and demanded she gives them the keys to the truck. Thankfully, she didn’t.
There are also other stories of BEKs showing up late on Halloween as if they are trick-or-treaters. They are always later than normal, and when the homeowner opens the door, they say they are lost and need to use the home phone to call their parents. It’s almost always two children, and the story follows the normal pattern. Pale skin, black eyes, unease, and unexplainable fear, felt by the person answering the door. The door is always closed and locked on the children.
Many chalk the phenomenon up as your standard urban legend; however, Bethel stands by his story and says he had an encounter with two otherworldly children. But, just to be safe, if two strange children with pale skin and mechanical voices ask you to let them into your house. Don’t wait to see what their eyes look like. Just close the door. Let the neighbors handle it.
- Monstrum | Don’t Let Them In! The Urban Legends of Black-Eyed Children | Season 3 | Episode 8 | PBS
- Folklore Friday- Part 3: Black-Eyed Children – The Central Times (chhsnews.com)
- Black-Eyed Children | Snopes.com
- 16 Terrifying Encounters With ‘The Black Eyed Kids’ | Thought Catalog
- Black-eyed Children – Urban Legends Around the World (psu.edu)