A few months ago Britain was awash with reports of ghostly children with "coal-black pits for eye sockets" returning after a thirty year absence, but what is the real story behind these adolescent ghouls?
The story first surfaced in the tabloid newspaper, The Daily Star at the tale end of September in a chilling tale that was told to the press by a paranormal expert names Lee Brickley.
Brickley claims that a female witness encountered the black-eyed specter for the first time in 30 years in the same remote region of Staffordshire where the phenomena first began. Her eyewitness report reads:
I turned round and saw a girl stood behind me, no more than 10 years old, with her hands over her eyes... I asked if she was OK and if she had been the one screaming. She put her arms down by her side and opened her eyes.
That’s when I saw they were completely black, no iris, no white, nothing.
I jumped back and grabbed my daughter. When I looked again, the child was gone. It was so strange
After this initial sighting, a wealth of ghost hunters flooded to the site looking for evidence of the black-eyed children, and not all of them left empty handed.
Christine Hamlett, one of Britain's top psychics, was so captivated by the supernatural goings on that she traveled to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire to hunt for the ghost in the vast heathland.
Here, by using the 'pan and water' method (photographing reflections in water to allow the spirits to show themselves), she claimed to have snapped an image of the black-eyed girl,
Hammett also spoke out to the press to explain how the ghosts were trying to reach out to her for "help" and that people shouldn't feel threatened by the spirits children.
Although the black-eyes are undeniably creepy, Hammett claimed that:
The eyes are for effect. These children have a story and they want it told.
These modern sighting are interesting in their own right, but what about the first glimpses of these phantom children that happened 30-years-ago?
In Brickley's book, that tracks the supernatural happening around Cannock Chase, he claims that the first sighting was by an 18-year-old girl who was approached by a "little girl shouting ‘help mommy help'" who ran off into the nearby trees.
At first the young witness thought the child was flesh and blood and reported the sighting to the police, but no missing child was found. It was only years later that the girl who saw the child learned about a grisly spout of child killings in the area that occurred in the '60s.
Needless to say, this totally spooked her and Brickley wrote in his book UFOs, Werewolves & the Pig-Man that:
Although there have been many other sightings of this nature in the area, and I certainly don’t completely rule out the theory that they are indeed the ‘ghosts’ of children murdered by Morris, to me it seems that, as these children often appear to be completely solid and never really show any unusual qualities, their origin could lay squarely in the realms of the occult.
It should be noted that Brickley is not beyond skepticism about the stories that we have seen in the press over the past few months though. He told Buzzfeed that:
I too am very skeptical, and as I said in a video interview for the Birmingham Mail, my personal opinion is that people are hallucinating. I draw that conclusion because the people I have interviewed seem very genuine. They appear to ‘think’ they are telling the truth.
The legend of black-eyed child ghosts is not just native to the area of Cannock Chase, or even Britain, though. It seems like the myths behind these children with tar black pits for eyes originated on the internet as opposed to in the pages of ancient folklore.
For example there is a Creepypasta dealing with the topic of black-eyed ghosts that presents a phenomenon remarkably similar to the one at Cannock Chase that was written back in 2013...
Skeptics might say that this fictional account inspired the ghost sightings in Britain, but could the reach of one niche website really have extended so far?
Whether they are real spirits or an urban legend, there is no denying that these mysterious black-eyed ghosts have a bewitching effect on our subconsciouses.