"The Black Eyed Children" Book Review
Written by David Weatherly
2012, 226 pages, Non-Fiction
Released on March 1st, 2012
When it comes to horror movies and novels, creepy children often manage to turn the fright factor up a few notches. There's an instinct inside all of us that dictates children should be nurtured and protected, but when that impulse is shattered, we're left scared and confused. How can we fear a small kid? While the discomfort and dread we might feel from a work of fiction involving sinister kids is a great, strange sensation (yes, we horror lovers are weird like that), the same feeling is brutally augmented when evil children are contemplated outside the world of fiction. The realm of the real is precisely the space occupied by paranormal investigator David Weatherly's book, The Black Eyed Children.
The book kicks off with a collection of witness reports of encounters with black eyed kids. While these are truly creepy, they become a tad repetitive. That's when the tome takes a turn and the research Weatherly put into his project really starts to shine. Each new chapter deconstructs a theory. From aliens, hungry ghosts, succubi, teenagers playing an elaborate prank, and demons, the author takes an unflinching and unbiased look at every possibility out there. More than trying to prove the existence of the BEKs, what Weatherly does is try to explain the reasons why this phenomenon could be happening. While doing so, he constantly intertwines interviews and accounts of encounters and highlights the elements of each in a way that either supports or contradicts the theory being discussed.
The best thing about The Black Eyed Children is that, throughout the book, there is a great deal of historical research, explorations of customs and practices of a wide variety of cultures, and a really disturbing atmosphere. The result is a book that dances between informative entertainment and pure spooky goodness. For example, the chapters studying the evil eye and the one looking into the diseases that affect the eyes are almost academic in their richness. On the other hand, the chapter dedicated to disturbing encounters and the one exploring the theory of the hungry ghosts are packed with the kind of stories that send a shiver down your spine.
My only problem with The Black Eyed Children stems from being a journalist and probably won't be an issue for most readers. I'm talking about the lack of clear sources and the fact that no full names are given for most of the stories. That being said, there aren't many people out there who'd be willing to go on record talking about their encounter with a supernatural being. Thinking about that helped me overcome my little dilemma.
The Black Eyed Children is an interesting, revealing, and well researched tome about a supernatural phenomena that was long overdue for a book. As any nonfiction text that can give you the same sensations you'd get from a great piece of horror fiction, this is required reading for fans of dark, unnatural things.