Monday, December 13, 2010

Our second place winner for the most viewed posts of all time on Strange State goes to a little piece about Black Eyed Kids. With over 700 visits, it lags far behind the winner, but it actually has a commentor posting his thoughts on the subject! Yay! Thanks to the estimable RRRGroup (from UFOiconoclast(s) for his insights into this strange, quixotic tale....

As predicted, Black Eyed Kids show signs of heating up as the new paranormal meme. And, of course, Oklahoma wants to get in on the mix. Jason Offutt of the blog "From the Shadows" speculates whether there is any truth to the tales or if the whole thing is an Internet Legend.

According to Offutt, the phenomenon (involving spooky Children-of-the-Cornesque kids with solid black eyes) arose in 1998 when journalist Brian Bethel first wrote about an encounter. Recently, Offutt received an e-mail from a reader (henceforth referred to as "Bill") who recounted his own encounter with these creepy kids while driving through Afton, OK.

Afton is a negligible settlement on the Will Rogers turnpike some miles northeast of Tulsa. It lies within the Spooksville Triangle, an area of paranormal activity most often connected to the mysterious noctilucent phenomenon known as Spook Lights. Bill had stopped through to catch up with old friends. While there, he noticed the family's new dog and inquired about its origins. Bill's friends responded with a queer and cryptic "the weird kids left her when they left town."

The couple proceeded to tell Bill about their strange encounter with a group of kids who drove an old but noiseless van and had knocked on their door one day. The group asked if they could come in, but the couple didn't feel right. Something was off. They later described the youths as "junkies" because, they said, "their pupils were huge". In fact, according to the Bill's friend, they were solid black voids.

After turning the kids away, they left in their van and a short time later, the dog was seen wandering about. The family saw no more of the mysterious kids with their pleas of entry and their strange black eyes.

The unsual thing about these stories - aside from the eyes, of course - is the fact that nothing sinister or untoward happens. People just state that something didn't feel "right". If, as many suspect, this is simply another paranormal zeitgeist, born from that altogether paranoid collective consciousness, then why has it now settled into the guise of children, forever the bastions of innocence and faith? Have we as a society become so distrustful and paranoid that we can't even look toward the young without suspicion and fear? What does this say about the world we now live in, and what does it bode for our future?

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