Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Woman Had Black Eyes

Leanne Smith couldn’t explain her panic.

Smith carpooled to work in Deale, Md., in 1999 when one night her driver stopped at a small grocery store, leaving Smith in the pickup alone.

“We parked at the edge of the parking lot with the store entrance and lot behind us,” Smith said. “We had worked late and it was well after dusk.”

Smith relaxed as she sat in the truck, watching cars going through the intersection, waiting for the driver to come back.

“I make note of my emotions because in this peaceful, relaxed state, I was hit with an unbelievably strong sense of fear or danger,” she said. “There was no rational explanation for this intense fear and I was able to be objective. It was really strange to me, feeling this fear all of a sudden.”

Realizing she was slipping into a panic attack, Smith tried to figure out what might have triggered this immediate overwhelming terror.

“The fear or sense of danger didn’t increase or become more intense,” Smith said. “The (initial) intensity was extraordinary.”

Then she noticed a possible trigger for her fear; a group of about 10 young men who were “roughhousing” in the parking lot behind her. Smith leaned closer to the passenger side mirror to watch them.

“A couple of them sounded drunk and it sounded as though it was possible a fight might be brewing,” she said. “I went to move the rear-view mirror to get a better view and saw something out of the corner of my eye.”

From the passenger seat, Smith slowly looked to her left, and found the cause for her terror.

“I looked over at the driver’s window and there, facing me, was a woman looking in at me,” she said. “Not just glancing in, she had her shoulders square to the driver’s door of the pickup, standing about a foot and a half away from the window, which was closed.”

The appearance of the woman rammed the intense fear deeper into Smith.

“My heart shot to my throat and I couldn’t move,” she said. “I just looked at her and she at me.”

Although the harsh shadows cast by the yellow streetlamps obscured part of the woman’s face, Smith could see her eyes. The eyes looked “empty.” Smith said the streetlamps that reflected off everything in the parking lot didn’t reflect in her eyes.

“They appeared dead,” Smith said. “Black voids. Nothing there. She seemed to have a look on her face as if she knew the fear that gripped me and enjoyed it.”

The woman’s gaze held Smith fast.

“I don’t know how long she stood there,” Smith said. “It didn’t seem to be very long, but at the same time, the intense fear made it seem like minutes.”

The woman suddenly turned and got into the passenger seat of a 1972 Plymouth Duster parked beside the pickup where Smith sat.

“The driver, who I couldn’t see, backed the car out of the lot and left,” Smith said. “Immediately, all fear and sense of danger was gone. Very strange to me how sudden it was with it being so intense a few moments before.”

Although Smith has seen this distinctive car a number of times since, she’s never again encountered the sinister woman with the black, dead eyes.

“I filed it away as a question mark and haven’t really thought much about it until I recently read a thread with a reference to ‘black-eyed kids,’” Smith said. “I looked at different blogs referring to these ‘black-eyed kids,’ and came across an anecdote with a description of a woman with black eyes and the unbelievable sense of danger the author experienced and it reminded me of my experience.”

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 jasonoffutt@hotmail.com. 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.


Martin J. Clemens said...

Jason, it would be an advantage to the study of this phenomenon, if you would refrain from inserting your own literary spin on the story. We cannot take the story as legitimate, because you have removed much of the real witnesses testimony.

As easily readable as the story is, it must be taken as fiction based on supposedly true events.

I would ask this particular witness, why, if she has encountered the same vehicle again on more than one occassion, she has not enquired about the identity of the woman in question.

Kelly Azuma said...

Martin J Clemens...why would she? Obviously she was scared stiff, and didn't want to encounter such a thing again.

Martin J. Clemens said...

That certainly doesn't seem obvious to me. Jason's retelling of her account suggests exactly the opposite.

She was frightened only during the encounter, with the fear immediately subsiding once the woman left the area. Which would suggest that she was completely capable of making such inquiries.

alcalde said...

"As easily readable as the story is, it must be taken as fiction based on supposedly true events."

Isn't that the only way it should be taken?

Martin J. Clemens said...

Coming from Jason, maybe so; but as a report of an event from a witness...no, not at all.

Jason Offutt said...

I appreciate the comment, "As easily readable as the story is." I would like to stress, however, that I am not only a storyteller, I am a journalist. What I do at "From The Shadows" is tell people's stories -- their TRUE stories. If it reads like fiction, that's because I'm writing what Truman Capote dubbed "creative non-fiction." These stories I write are of real events that happened to real people. I hope you enjoy them as much as you're creeped-out by them. Thanks for reading.

richard said...

I don't think it is possible for humans to feel 'intense fear' and remain 'objective' at the same time as this lady states. One or the other - not both simultaneously.

Anonymous said...

so what does this mean? are these stories factual, embellished or fiction?
i too would like the "stories" presented as written by the witnesses.
and i can't understand why the witness would not have made any attempt to find out who is driving this easy to identify car to get some answers.

Anonymous said...

i had an experience of intense fear/panic state while crossing the sunshine bridge in tampa bay (a place where many paranormal events have been experienced), and i can tell richard that while it is hard to fight extreme panic and fear, the only way you can (esp while driving at car at speed over a narrow and disorienting bridge) is to try to be as objective and rational as possible. its the only way to fight it.

Jason Offutt said...

For the anonymous who wrote "are these stories factual, embellished or fiction?"
These stories are not embellished and they are not fiction. These are true stories. I can't state it any more clearly than that.

Anthony Alexander said...

I really enjoy these stories and I thank you for the "Literary Spin".
This reminds me of the the Parable of the Wheat and Tares from the book of Matthew.There are those among us that look alike but inside are children of the Devil.I think it is very possible.

Anonymous said...

Sounds pretty mundane: A woman gets the creeps and then realizes she's being watched -- it happens all the time. And if the lighting was poor enough to obscure part of the face (what, the mouth?), how could one even be sure of the eye color, much less some praeternatural "emptiness"?

A (possibly dark-eyed) woman stared at someone in a parking lot. The horror.

Martin J. Clemens said...

I can appreciate you labelling of this work as creative non-fiction, but I don't agree with it.

Creative non-fiction, while a "cute" term, is just a fancy way of saying loosely based on true events.

If you are as you claim to be, a journalist, then you should be striving to get the witnesses story across in an impartial and transparent way.

Changing even one word of her testimony can and does completely change the tone of her report.

Now, since you seem to be (at least to my capable perspective) the only semi-credible source for "black-eyed" phenomenon, the fact that you take creative license with the reports, forces researchers to conclude that the entire idea of black-eyed kids (or people in general) is entirely made up.

Jason Offutt said...


This is my last comment on the subject of how I write these stories. "Creative nonfiction" is just another term for narrative writing, which is another term for "Dow Jonesing" named so because of its use in the Wall Street Journal. This method of news writing is used in newspapers across the globe. I'm sorry it doesn't appeal to you, but, again, every story I write in "From the Shadows" is a true and accurate account of something that really happened.

I appreciate your thoughts.


Mr Butterscotch said...

Hi Jason,

I do enjoy reading the blog and I think it's cool that you take the time to reply. RE whether the stories posted here are a "true and accurate account" of something that really happened - well they could be but I think it's the 'something' that remains in dispute. As anonymous said, "if the lighting was poor enough to obscure part of the face (what, the mouth?), how could one even be sure of the eye color, much less some praeternatural "emptiness"?".

It's very easy misperceive something and that's especially true in the dark. Nonetheless, an interesting story.

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theetinygoat said...

I actually grew up a very few miles outside of Deale. Its not exactly a bustling metropolis, so I would think a real live weird person would be noticed by several people (if my high school experience is any indication....).

great, now whenever I go to visit my parents I'm going to be paranoid.

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Ghostgirl said...

I was linked here by theetinygoat, and also grew up near Deale, and know exactly what parking lot the woman described as well as the grocery store.

That place has had it's fair share of strangeness. There used to be a lady you'd see frequently in the grocery store with her baby wrapped up in a blanket. Odd part being, it wasn't actually a baby, it was a tiny pig. Then there's a family in the area with "the Jesus car" - a powder blue station wagon with a large formidable sign reading JESUS on top in red letters. It is most often seen at the drive through liquor store.

They also filmed the horror movie "Laid to Rest" in Deale, MD!

Ok, I'm done now. :D

Kelly said...

Mrs Butterscotch - she could have seen it in her minds eye, as in her third eye, even if the face was partially covered. Sometimes when we can't see all of something, our sixth sense takes over for us.

Click Clack said...

These People need to stop badgering Jason, he is simply retelling the story. The experience "They Had Black Eyes" is one of mine. So I can attest, yes it's true, he is doing narrative writing, it is your duty as the reader to judge whether it is true or not.

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