It’s late at night, you’re all alone in your home and it’s very dark outside. While you’re nestled in the warmth of your own home as you read a book to get yourself to sleep, you suddenly get startled by a sharp knock at the door. You stand up, head for the door, pull back the curtain of your window. Outside, you see a pair of trendily-dressed, olive-skinned teenagers. At first, you feel annoyed that some kids were disturbing you on a peaceful night, but you take a second look at them and realize that they are not the average, ordinary teenagers that live in your hometown. These two adolescents have something horribly wrong with them – their eyes. The creatures standing on your front porch have no white corneas, no colorful irises. All they have were just a pair of big, black and shark-like eyes, which sent chills down your spine as soon as you saw them.
At first, you may think that these bizarre teenagers are just dropping by to give you a scare before going on their way, but to your horror, they insist that you help them. And as they stare piercingly at you with their dull black eyes, they demand that you let them into your house. Despite a hypnotic temptation to give in to their demand and let them in, you actively resist in doing their bidding, and chose to keep them out of your home.
What just happened? What are those creatures that tried to convince you to let them into your home? And why did they have such terrifying blackened eyes?
WHAT ARE THE BLACK-EYED PEOPLE?
Modern mythology has always been riddled with unexplained phenomena, and among them are these legendary creatures known as the “Black-Eyed People.” They are also often referred to as “Black-Eyed Kids” or “Black-Eyed Beings,” but what they really are is a complete and total mystery.
Most encounters with the Black-Eyed People usually follow the same patterns. In most cases, a human-looking entity with pure black eyes – including the sclera or the white part of the eye – will approach a person at their home or their car, asking to be let in. They usually have a very dull or dry personality, as if they possess no personality at all – that is until they are told that they can’t come in. At this point, they get very agitated and those who encountered these creatures firsthand report a feeling of intense dread and fear when in the presence of these Black-Eyed Beings, even if they can’t exactly explain why.
The Black-Eyed People usually have very pale or sickly-looking skin and very dark hair. The clothes they wear vary but some describe them to be wearing all-black or very dark clothes. These creatures are more well-known as the “Black-Eyed Kids,” a term which is used very often to generalize this phenomenon from a high number of reported cases involving children with black eyes. In many cases, there will be one or two children between ages 6 and 16 and they are reportedly seen hitchhiking or panhandling, or are encountered on doorsteps of residential homes. They often wear no shoes, and they also look dirty and disheveled. Much like their older counterparts, these children are devoid of personality until they get aggravated when denied entry into your home or your car.
ORIGINS OF THE MYTH/LEGEND OF THE BLACK-EYED PEOPLE
The exact origin or primary source of the phenomenon of the Black-Eyed People is very difficult to pinpoint. The stories about these terrifying creatures slowly began to surface back in the mid- to late- 1990s through various internet message boards – the Facebook of that decade. However, one source of the phenomenon might have been the story of Brian Bethel in 1998.
According to Bethel, two boys approached him while he was sitting in his parked car, and they asked him for a ride home. He was tempted to let the boys into his vehicle but he claimed that he was also overwhelmed by a “fight-or-flight” response. And so, he resisted the urge to grant their request, which as a result, only agitated the boys and they grew even more insistent that they be let into the car. It was only then that Bethel noticed that the boys had “cloak black” eyes, and he felt momentarily paralyzed with fear. When Bethel collected himself, he promptly exited the scene.
When Bethel shared this personal experience in a ghost hunter forum, it unleashed the legend of the Black-Eyed People onto the online world. Since then, cases and personal experiences of other people have been reported from all across the globe, with only a few variances among different accounts.
PARANORMAL EXPLANATIONS FOR THE BLACK-EYED PEOPLE
Are the Black-Eyed People real? Or were the increased sightings and alleged encounters with these unusual creatures simply a paranoid overreaction to everyday events? The evidence is not clear either way, but paranormal and supernatural explanations have been presented in support of their existence.
Many encounters with the Black-Eyed Beings consist of youthful, and usually dapper young men who use hypnotic voices and mesmerizing black eyes to convince and coerce their “victims” into doing their bidding. They also display an evident inability to enter someone’s property without first being invited. And while, to date, attempted blood consumption has not figured into any reported encounters with these creatures, some believe that the attributes of the Black-Eyed People are very vampire-like.
There are also suggestions that Black-Eyed Beings might be the result of a strange synthesis of human and extraterrestrial DNA. This particular speculation originates from the vague reference of alleged female alien abductees having encountered half-human, half-alien babies that were supposedly created from these abductees’ extracted unfertilized eggs. Many of these women have claimed to have come into contact with humanoid babies, which they described to have olive-shaded skin and jet-black and almond-shaped eyes.
Some have considered these Black-Eyed Beings as merely the lost spirits of the departed children who are sorrowfully wandering the mortal world seeking help from the living. However, given that most eyewitnesses report feeling an almost overpowering rush of fear when they encountered these beings, some believe that it is more likely that these Black-Eyed creatures are dangerous predators in disguise. And so, while this theory is no more or less reasonable than the others we have just presented, those predisposed to believing in the existence of angels and demons are more inclined to consider the fact that the Black-Eyed People might be old-fashioned, shape-shifting critters from the bowels of hell.
SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS FOR THE BLACK-EYED PEOPLE
As exciting as paranormal explanations to the Black-Eyed People phenomenon may be, there has never been a shred of physical evidence to suggest that these creatures are physically present in any way or if they actually exist. So, if we cannot say that the Black-Eyed People are real due to this lack of evidence supporting their existence, what else could they possibly be?
Psychology and medical science present several interesting possibilities. In psychology, the first explanation is people’s overreaction on a particular event they had been mentally prepared for. This preparation is called “priming.” In priming, pre-suggestion has already been placed into the mind and only an activator stimulus that is appropriately vague under the right conditions sets off the connection between the knowledge in the brain and the senses. A false connection is then made between the two, leading people to a flawed conclusion that is not supported by actual evidence.
Priming is tied to pareidolia – the unification of sensory data into a familiar subject based on the perception of complex lines, patterns, gradations, sounds, or random colors. Our perceptions of the everyday world work the exact same way, and frame of reference and context mean everything when it comes to putting things in perspective. For example, if you visit an old house in the middle of the day and you hear stories about it being haunted, you probably won’t be scared at all. However, if you visit the same place in the middle of the night or during an intense thunderstorm, your perceptions of the situation will change drastically.
In short, priming, pareidolia, a frame of reference, and context all play important roles in how people perceive events, experiences, and even other people. All of these factors combine together to create a terrifying experience, even if we would ordinarily dismiss such scary ideas for their absurdity.
Medical causes combined with psychological factors and environmental parameters could also lead people to think that a particular experience is an encounter with the Black-Eyed People.
The dilation of the pupil in the human eye is called mydriasis, and the terms is used to refer to pupil dilation that is not the result of physiological causes, like drugs, illness or injury. There are several conditions that can cause a pupil to expand beyond what most people have typically observed. A blown pupil, for example, refers to a condition where the pupils are dilated beyond the normal limits due to a possible increase in intercranial pressure or brain hemorrhaging. Drugs, traumatic damage to the iris, third cranial nerve palsy, and pharmacological dilation among many others may also bring about a similar effect.
None of these medical causes could lead to a fully black-eyed entity, but if combined with the right atmospheric parameters and/or primed conditioning, it may influence the brain to make a connection between confusing and unknown sensory data and information held in long-term memory. And so, an encounter with a supposed Black-Eyed Being is created in our minds, where there really isn’t one.
The internet is an invaluable tool for the distribution of information, but it is also just as easily a medium abused by people in disseminating hearsay, rumors and outright lies. Every paranormal event is riddled with scores of pranks and copycat reports, and so it may very well be that the mystery behind the Black-Eyed People is nothing more than an urban legend that has taken on a life of its own ever since it was introduced to the rest of the world. While this phenomenon could be true even if it is also considered an urban legend, the evidence proving the existence of the Black-Eyed People remains elusive until now, and will probably never be found.