May 14, 2021

Menagerie Monstrum: Black Eyed Children

Image credit: HuffingtonPost.com

A gentle knocking jars you out of your sleep. After weeks on the road you were eager for a night in a proper inn with a bed under a real roof, so the interruption is decidedly unwelcome. Who could even be at the door at this time of night? You try to ignore it, maybe someone has the wrong room and will move along. But the knocking continues, louder and more persistent. You sigh and throw off the covers, ready to rain down hell on whoever is determined to interrupt your chance at a full night’s sleep. 

You open the door a crack, and your anger subsides a bit as you see two children, no more than ten years old, standing in the hall. 

“We’re lost,” one of them says. “Can you let us in?”

“Are you staying here in the inn?” you ask them. “Are your parents here? Do you know what room you need to go to?”

“Please, just let us in,” the other says. “We’re scared.” 

“What room do you need to find?” you ask again. You are starting to get the feeling that something is wrong, though you cannot put a finger on it. 

“We’re hungry,” the first kid says. “Do you have food for us? Let us in so we can eat.” 

As your eyes adjust to the dim light in the hall, you realize that their eyes are solid black, their skin unnaturally pale. You want to recoil, but also feel the urge to open the door wider. 

“We’re not dangerous or anything,” the other kid says. His voice is flat, monotone, but it still somehow carries the weight of a threat. “Just let us in.” 

Better make a decision quick because the black eyed children are at your door. 

Black eyed children are a modern myth, with the first sighting reported in 1996. The story goes that a man in a parked car was approached by two children asking for a ride, growing increasingly insistent as he refused. Requests turned to weird, not-so-reassuring statements, with the kids saying things like “we don’t have a gun” and “we can’t come in unless you tell us it’s okay.” The driver reported that at first glance the children appeared normal, but as they tried to persuade him to unlock the car, he realized their eyes were solid black, no visible pupils or irises. He also described an overwhelming sense of fear while simultaneously feeling compelled to do what the kids asked, catching himself reaching to unlock the doors for them. 

This first sighting spawned scores of similar stories, all describing encounters with children in outdated clothing with solid black eyes, always demanding to be let into a home or car. It seems that the black eyed children play by old school vampire rules, and cannot enter without being invited. However, they also seem to have the ability to exert some influence over their target, with multiple descriptions of encounters describing unconsciously beginning to follow the demanding children’s requests by unlocking doors or opening windows. 

Like many malicious and chaotic creatures from European lore, the details of what harm a black eyed child inflicts are murky. There aren’t any stories of direct attacks, but an incredible streak of bad luck tends to befall those who let the black eyed children into their home. Strange and sudden illness seem to follow in the wake of a visit from the black eyed children, with the death of pets also reported in a few cases. All encounters include a strong sense of dread and fear, and the feeling that something bad will inevitably happen. 

There’s no word on what attracts the attention of the black eyed children, so your best bet is to be wary of any children that may show up on your doorstep, or that you may see wandering the roadside at night. Pay attention to their eyes, and think twice before you consider inviting them inside.

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