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1996 (ca.): Brian Bethel’s Odd Encounter

On August 28, 1997, a man named Brian Bethel posted a story to a Google Groups board that was soliciting spooky stories... and a spooky story he had indeed.

        One night in Abilene, Texas, Bethel left his apartment around 9:30pm to go drop a payment for his internet service with Camalott Communications in a dropbox at an old location of theirs on North 1st Street in a downtown shopping center. The center was next to a $1.50 movie theater which, on this particular night, was showing the movie "Mortal Kombat." Bethel passed the theater, and parked in an empty space at the center where he could use the light from the theater's marquee to help him write his check... then someone knocked on his driver's side window.

        A little surprised, Bethel turned to find two boys, aged somewhere between 10-14, he guessed. One boy was taller than the other, and was wearing a pull-over hooded shirt with a gray checked pattern; he had olive colored skin and curly medium-length brown hair. The second boy had pale skin "with a trace of freckles," and pale orange hair; he was wearing a hooded shirt that was light green in color, and he looked around nervously as the other boy talked to Bethel. Bethel's first impression was that they were not related to each other... and that they were going to ask him for money.

Bethel's Encounter

        Then Bethel's feelings on the whole matter shifted to an unreasonable fear for no apparent reason. The tall boy smiled, which Bethel stated "chilled my blood." As Bethel explained it: "I could feel fight-or-flight responses kicking in. Something, I knew instinctually, was not right, but I didn’t know what it could possibly be."

        Bethel rolled the window down slightly, enough to talk to the boys. The tall boy smiled wider, showing very, very white teeth. The boys wanted to see the movie, but had forgotten their money; they needed a ride home to get the money, and wanted Bethel to give them a ride... and while the voice was that of a young boy, something in how the words were being said felt wrong. The tall boy was too confident; not acting like a child asking a stranger a favor. He was acting as if Bethel was required to let them in the car, and the question was a mere formality.

        Bethel hesitated to answer the request; then he noticed the second boy eyeing him nervously with "a mixture of confusion and guilt on his face." Both boys seemed a bit surprised that Bethel had not agreed immediately. The tall boy spoke again, assuring Bethel that they just wanted to go to their house, and that they were just two little boys. Bethel was sure something was wrong, so stalled for time by asking what movie they were going to see. The tall boy said they wanted to see Mortal Kombat, of course.

       Bethel looked back at the theater and realized that the last showing of the movie for the night had started an hour previously... so the boys could not possibly see the movie that night. The silent boy was looking increasingly nervous. The tall boy started talking soothingly, assuring Bethel that they couldn't get in his car unless he let them; and that they would just go to their mother's house and then the boys would be gone "before you know it."

        Bethel realized his hand was on the door's lock and that he had started to open it; he jerked his hand away violently, then looked back up at the tall boy to try and explain his action. In the moment he had pulled his hand away from the lock, Bethel had broken eye contact with the tall boy for the first time in the conversation; now when he looked back he saw what he had failed to notice to this point. The eyes of both boys were just coal black orbs with no irises or pupils.

Bethel's Encounter

        The silent boy now had a horrified look on his face; Bethel guessed that the look on his own face had given away his discovery. The tall boy was now clearly angry, but continued to ask Bethel to let them in the car: "we won't hurt you. You have to LET US IN. We don't have a gun..."

        That was enough for Bethel. The car was still running, as he had never turned the engine off when he initially parked. As Bethel reached for the gear shift, the tall boy started to yell in anger, with a touch of panic, that Bethel had to let them in the car; they could not enter unless Bethel told them they could. He slammed the car in reverse and tore backwards out of the parking lot... and the boys were gone, and the sidewalk near the theater was deserted.

A Strange Sequel

        Sometime after his strange encounter with the two black eyed children, Bethel called a friend of his named Chad who he had gone on ghost hunts with previously. Chad had two female friends with him, both of whom claimed to have psychic abilities. During the call, Bethel started to describe his encounter above to Chad, when one of the women stopped him early on in the narrative to ask if the children had black eyes. Intrigued, Bethel admited that they did then asked why she asked.

        The woman, a week earlier, had a dream about children wanting to be let into her house... and, though it took a little while for her to realize it, the children had black eyes. She kept her house locked up tight; she intuitively felt that if they were let into her house, they would kill her. In finishing this story, the woman then told Bethel that, had he let them into his car, they would have killed him too.

Some Thoughts

        First off, the movie Mortal Kombat was released in 1995; and in a 2013 article Bethel wrote for the Abilene Reporter-News, he himself narrows the date for the encounter down to sometime in the spring or summer of 1996, but is unable to be more precise. So his report in the Google Groups came around a year after the event likely would have happened. The text of the report Bethel posted makes it very clear he'd told the story many times before, and that he assumed that most of his readers for the post would be people who had already heard the story previously.

        According to Bethel writing in 2013, he had initially shared the story of the encounter just to a few friends through email... and from there it had been leaked out to the internet. So his posting in the Google Groups may have been more along the lines of making sure that a story being told about him was at least told right by him. Another thing to note, if seaching for more version of this account, is that Bethel has dubbed the tall boy as the "Spokesman," and many people have picked up that title from him.

        The internet popularity of Bethel's account seems to have also led to a series of false "Black Eyed Kid" reports in a questionable British paper called the Daily Star through 2014, which I'll have to make a list of someday. Ug.

Illustrations on this page are by Garth Haslam [larger versions here]