“FOR the first time, I noticed their eyes. They were coal black. No pupil. No iris.”
Those words come from an American journalist named Brian Bethel. On January 16, 1998, Bethel posted on an online messageboard, describing his apparent encounter with a pair of creepy children who had solid black eyes.
Since then, dozens of people have claimed sightings of similar children, but Bethel’s case remains the most famous. Earlier this year he recounted the experience in an article for Reporter News.
It happened on a warm night in 1996. Bethel needed to pay his internet bill, so he was writing a cheque in his car.
“There was a knock on my driver’s side window,” Bethel says. “Two young boys, somewhere between nine to 12 years old and dressed in hooded pullovers, stood outside.
“I cracked the window a bit, anticipating a spiel for money, but I was immediately gripped by an incomprehensible, soul-wracking fear. I had no idea why.”
One of the boys asked Bethel for a ride. They wanted to see a movie, but had left their money at their mother’s house.
While Bethel mulled it over, the boy tried to reassure him.
“It wouldn’t take long. They were just two little kids. They didn’t have a gun or anything.”
The reporter looked away for a moment. When Bethel’s gaze returned to the children, his mind “exploded in a vortex of all-consuming terror”.
“Both boys stared at me with coal-black eyes. The sort of eyes one sees these days on aliens or bargain-basement vampires on late night television. Soulless orbs like two great swathes of starless night.”
As Bethel rolled up his window, one of the boys banged on the glass, saying “we can’t come in unless you tell us it’s OK. Let us in!”
Then the journalist drove away.
Bethel isn’t the only person with a creepy tale involving black eyed children. The internet is full of similar stories.
Reddit user sarabeth11 says she was sitting alone in her family room when there was a light knock at the front door. Two young children were outside – a girl who looked about 11 and a boy who was roughly nine.
“The girl very politely spoke up, ‘Ma’am, can we please come inside and use your phone to call our mom?’ As she spoke something in the pit of my stomach was telling me something was wrong,” Sara says.
After a short exchange, the girl moved towards the door.
“She stepped into the light coming from inside the house and I got my first real good look at her. Solid, jet black eyes – that’s all I could see. That motherly instinct was gone and replaced by terror I don’t think I’ve ever felt in my life,” Sara says.
“I could feel every hair on my arms and back of my neck standing at attention. I closed the door to where just my face was able to stick out.
“The little girl stopped and again pleaded, ‘Please Ma’am we’re really scared and alone out here. We HAVE to come inside. Please help us!’ Then, like on cue, both kids began to whimper and cry.”
Another reddit user, aptly named nosleep2012, also claims to have encountered black eyed children on her doorstep.
“She had a voice that was mature, confident, strong, and accentless,” she says. “She held her head tilted downward, and I couldn’t see her eyes. She said ‘We have to use your phone.’ I stood frozen in fear.
“Slowly and silently, I backed away from the door, Lucy (my dog) still cowering at my ankles … she became commanding, almost hostile.
“We’re not going to hurt you. If we wanted to do that, we would have broken in. I’ll ask again. May we come in and use your phone?” the girl said.
“Lucy snarled at the door, and I inched backward, though something inside me seemed to be slowly pulling me back toward the door. It wasn’t a physical pulling so much as a subconscious need to go back and let them in.”
The reddit user says she didn’t go back to sleep that night and hasn’t slept right since.
Of course, the internet is full of people claiming to have seen ghosts, aliens and, even more implausibly, Elvis Presley alive and breathing.
Nobody has explained what these supposed black eyed children are, or why they knock on people’s doors at night.
But on the off chance that these creepy kids are real, we’re betting you don’t want to meet one.