No, we're not talking about a Black Eyed Peas concert slated for your city or town. We're talking about black-eyed people, as in men, women, and children whose eyes are seemingly entirely black, as in all pupil and no visible iris. I first read about them on the about.com paranormal site and was immediately and strangely fascinated by other readers' accounts of their encounters with these mysterious and apparently prolific beings who have allegedly been spotted in such disparate locations as the local Wal Mart and highway rest area bathrooms. In nearly all of the accounts, the sighting is accompanied by a sense of dread on the part of the "victim." "I felt as though I was going to die" is how many of them describe their reaction to the unexpected encounter. In the most unsettling accounts, the encounter is preceded by a strange, methodical knocking on the author's door or window, usually at some ungodly hour of the night.
Such was the case in an account submitted by Jenna L., a resident of a small city in Michigan, who was reading quietly in bed around 11 o'clock one autumn night in 2009 when`she heard a sudden slow knocking on her front door, got up and went to answer it. Upon opening the door, Jenna wrote, "I saw two young boys, about nine or ten, both dark-haired, dressed in jeans and hooded sweatshirts and sneakers. I was wondering what two boys that age were doing out by themselves at that hour of the night when I noticed their eyes. They were completely black. I felt this sudden sense of dread, as though I was in danger. The taller one simply looked at me and said, 'Please let us in.' I asked them why they wanted to come in. He said. 'We need to use the phone." When I asked who they needed to call, he replied, "Just let us in. Please. We won't hurt you.' It was a strange thing for a boy that age to say. And he spoke in such a quiet, calm, almost adult cadence of voice. I don't know what came over me, but I just said, 'Sorry. I can't let you in.' and shut the door. I made sure it was locked. But no sooner was I back in bed, then I heard the knocking again. I got up and went into the living room where I could see the front door from the window.
The two boys were standing in exactly the same spot, the taller one in front, the smaller one directly behind him with his head down. Then, almost on cue, they both turned their heads and looked in the direction of the window. I felt that sense of dread again, more acutely this time, and hurried back to my bedroom. They knocked for several more minutes, then they stopped and, I assumed, went away. But it really frightened me in a way that is difficult to explain. I felt as though my very life was in danger. If I had let them in, I honestly believe that I would have been harmed in some way, or might possibly even have died."
Jenna's account of her encounter with black-eyed kids is frightening enough, but the one that really made my skin crawl came from "Carl S", whose encounter took place in, of all places, a Wal-Mart. According to Carl, he and his wife were heading down the electronics aisle of the store when they noticed "a very thin, dark-haired woman dressed in a white T-shirt and shorts" coming toward them. As she got closer, Carl recalled, "she looked directly at us and that was when I realized that her eyes were totally black. No iris color at all, just black, and very large. As she passed us, I felt very strange and uncomfortable. A weird sense of dread that came over me. I'm not a guy who spooks easily. I'm 6'"2 and, at that time, a over 200 lbs. I've had martial arts training. But I was freaked out by this woman. So was my wife,. She told me later that she had the strange feeling that the woman wanted to hurt us. There was no reason for her to think that, but she did. We both turned and looked at her as she passed us, and she was looking back at us. The really freaky part was that, as we were coming out of the store about half an hour later, we saw the woman again. She was standing in the parking lot, next to the shopping cart corral, where our car was parked a few feet away. She didn't say anything as we passed her, just stared. We couldn't get out of there fast enough."
Of course, it goes without saying that at least a good portion of these accounts are probably pure fiction. But too many of them have a genuine ring of truth, their details too singular and nuanced to be dismissed as the creations of bored pranksters. In my all-time favorite account, which can be found here, the author had his encounter when he stopped for dinner at a roadside diner late one night. Captivated by the charms of his waitress, he made a point of trying to speak to her before he left the establishment. Following her into a back room (a pretty bold move, in any case), he discovered her standing in the middle of the floor, screaming, her arms at her sides. On seeing him, he claimed, she began to zip across the floor without moving her feet, still screaming. Understandably freaked out, he made a quick getaway, jumped into his car and drove off, only to catch a glimpse of her face in the rear view mirror, her mouth still opened wide in a scream. Of course, turning around to look, he saw nothing. Not surprisingly, he never went back for her number.
Accounts of black-eyed people continue to pour into paranormal websites from all over the world, and I continue to read them with a combination of fascination and inexplicable fear. It's the same way I feel about snakes. I'm terrified of them, but whenever I see one, I can't seem to look away. If nothing else, it's one more reason to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart. Fortunately, as far as I know, no one's ever spotted a black-eyed person at a Target.