The children looked out of place in the night. Craig Besand walked down the street toward his flat in Norwich, England, when two figures approached him.
“They appeared to be young boys,” Besand said. “One was about 13 years old, the other one was about nine.”
At the time Besand, a Missourian, was studying abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.
“I(’d been) at a friend’s house having a few drinks until the late hours,” he said. “My friend asked me if I was all right to walk back to my flat and if I wanted I could crash on his couch. I told him I would be all right, I just wanted to get home and go to bed. It was after 1 in the morning.”
Between Besand’s flat and his friend’s flat was a cemetery – that’s where he saw the children.
“My friend lives up the street from a very old cemetery on Dereham Road,” Besand said. “I walk past this cemetery every time I go to his house.”
He’d made it a few blocks when he saw two figures approach him.
“They were both wearing hoodies, sneakers; typical kid stuff,” Besand said. “The older one said that they were trying to find the graveyard and that they were lost.”
Then the boy asked Besand, “could you please take us there?”
The age of the children and the late night struck Besand as strange.
“I figured it was odd that young kids were hanging out in graveyards at this time of night,” he said. “But kids are into whatever so I agreed to take them there. They asked me very politely and the cemetery was on my way home anyway.”
As Besand escorted the boys toward the cemetery, he looked at them closer. The oldest boy’s hair was jet black, “his skin was porcelain white and veiny.” Then Besand saw the eyes.
“They both had eyes that were as dark as coal, no sign of white,” Besand said. “The eyes were the most distinct features, it was like they had no souls or nothing inside of them.”
He asked these Black-Eyed Children where they lived. They named a nearby street.
“I thought that was strange because this cemetery is huge and almost everyone in town knows where it is,” he said.
When they reached the cemetery gates the older one asked Besand to come in with them.
“I told them no, I was going home,” he said. “He asked me again to go in with them. I still told him no.”
The younger Black-Eyed Child, Besand noticed, appeared nervous.
“(He had) this look of anxiety about him,” Besand said. “Then the older one stopped asking me. He started to make a demand for me to go into the graveyard with them.”
Then the older child’s demeanor changed.
“The frustration on this kid’s face was trying to be hidden behind one of the most evil grins that I ever saw,” Besand said. “My heart was pounding in my throat at this time as the older one said, ‘we wouldn’t harm you,’ with that grin on his face.”
The grin, Besand found, was hypnotic.
“Oddly enough, I was becoming more drawn to him and I was thinking that I should go in with them,” he said. “Then the silent younger kid said something that scared the hell out of me.”
The younger one said, “We shouldn’t be doing this.”
“Immediately after he spoke I snapped out of my trance,” Besand said. “My flight-or-fight instinct kicked in and I ran as fast as I could. I looked back to see if they were running after me, but they had vanished. I ran all the way home.”
About a week later, Besand wandered into a magic shop whose owner, he discovered, was Wiccan.
“I bought some incense and then got into a conversation about me being an American, traveling, and then about haunted places in town,” he said. “So I told her my story of the Black-Eyed Children. She told me that I wasn’t imagining anything.”
Besand asked her what they were.
“She told me that no one knows,” he said. “The people who found that out aren’t here to tell about it. She said they could have been anything from demons to fairies.”
He asked her why they would want him to go willingly with them to the cemetery.
“She said that they could just want something from you or they could have taken me to their realm,” he said. “She also told me that I did the right thing by running away, and that I’m never going to find out what they were so I’m better off just going on with my life and not thinking too much about it. I tell other people about it and they either get creeped out or they have a good laugh at my expense.”
Copyright 2009 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.