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Monday, April 22, 2013

Black Eyed Children Finally Explained!

Last month, we received an email from a reader in Michigan, in response to our article debunking the "black eyed children" phenomenon, which links these so-called "paranormal" entities to recreational drug use.  The reader, whom we will call Onizuka in order to protect his identity, claims that not only is he familiar with BEKs- but that he was one.  "Onizuka" agreed to speak with JOTB via Yahoo instant messenger.  Ironically, this conversation took place on 4/20, a date which is embraced by those who are part of the drug culture.

JOTB:  Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.  In one of your previous emails, you stated that you were a "black eyed kid".  What did you mean by that?

Onizuka:  Last November I was driving late at night at turned on the radio and came across an episode of Coast to Coast AM and the topic of the show was black eyed children.  It convinced me to do some research on the topic, and that's how I found your article.  As someone who has been a recreational atropine user for years, I felt compelled to write in order to say that you are on the right track.

JOTB:  How involved are/were you in the drug culture?  You don't have to say anything that may incriminate yourself, but our readers would probably like to know how knowledgeable you are on the subject.

Onizuka:  LOL, are you asking me if I'm a dealer?

JOTB:  Well are you?

Onizuka:  Let's just say that I know my way around a chemistry lab, and let's just leave it at that.  But my day job is that of a tattoo artist and body piercer.

JOTB:  Alright.  So back to atropine... what does that have to do with "black eyed kids"?

Onizuka:  Well, in your article debunking BEKS, you theorize that these beings are just kids who are messed up on drugs, and you listed some drugs that cause mydriasis, which makes the pupils of the eyes appear really big.  Where I come from, the big recreational drug right now is something we call "cherry bombs".  Are you familiar with them?

JOTB:  Can't say I am.  Please enlighten us.

Onizuka:  It's a shot made out of Lomotil and Red Bull.  It's popular with youth because it produces hallucinations, and the user becomes very giddy and excited.  It's the most bizarre feeling, like, imagine taking LSD and shrooms and then washing it down with two pots of coffee.  That's what it's like.

JOTB:  Lomotil?  Isn't that an anti-diarrheal pill?

Onizuka: Yes, but it's also available in liquid form, and the liquid is cherry-flavored, thus the name "cherry bombs".  It's also popular with young people because it's not addictive, and it's very hard to overdose.  Lomotil is diphenoxylate and atropine, both are drugs that dilate the pupil. Diphenoxylate is very similar to Demerol.  And then you have the Red Bull, which has caffeine that further dilates the pupil.  That's where the "black eyes" come from.

JOTB:  But in stories about BEKs, it is said that the eyes are completely black, even the sclera.  Surely "cherry bombs" can't make the entire eye black, can they?

Onizuka:  True, but you'd be amazed at just how much the pupil expands.  Ever see those Japanese anime cartoons, where they all have big black bulging eyes?  It's been said that "cherry bombs" first originated in Japan, and then became popular in the late 90s and are still popular now.  That's why you don't hear of any BEK sightings before anime became popular.

JOTB:  Our theory is that most people who claim to have seen a BEK have only caught a fleeting glimpse, usually from an interior room that's illuminated.  When your lights are on inside, everything looks darker outside.  Do you think that's why the eyes look completely black?

Onizuka:  Makes sense to me.

JOTB:  Now, those who believe in black eyed children claim that some of the children are as young as five or six.  How do you explain that?

Onizuka:  Maybe there are some "real" BEKs out there somewhere, but I believe 99% of BEKs are, like you said, kids hopped up on atropine-Red Bull cocktails.  Also, you have to understand the type of people who use cherry bombs.  These aren't inner city kids or rednecks.  These are gamers and geeks and nerds who are obsessed with anime, cosplay, and comic books.  Have you ever seen kids with J-pop haircuts?  (J-Pop is a pop culture trend originating in Japan)  They look like they're all ten years old!

JOTB:  What about the claims that black eyed people often wear clothes that are described by some as "old-fashioned" or "home-made"?

Onizuka:  Again, that's all part of the anime and J-pop subculture.  These kids are into the "lolita" look, in which girls intentionally try to look like 10-year old schoolgirls.  (Of) these people who think BEKs are real, I bet 95% have no knowledge of anime, J-pop, harajuku, shibuya-kei, or visual kei.  Take visual kei, for instance.   It's a trend characterized by androgynous make-up, weird hair styles and flamboyant costumes.  I'd bet my left arm that, to an average person in a place like Missouri or Kentucky, an American kid following the harajuku trend would probably look like an alien from outer space.... especially if he's been taking cherry bombs.  It would be like trying to explain the dubstep genre to your grandma.  Unless you're part of the scene, you just don't get it.

Harajuku girls

J-pop style

JOTB:  In his book on BEKs, David Weatherly states that BEKs have skin that is pale and clammy.  Your thoughts?

Onizuka:  The most common side effect of Lomotil is erythema (flushed skin).  That just further proves my argument.  Also, pale skin is a big part of the visual kei and anime lifestyle.  Combine these two facts together, and there's your explanation.  It also explains the monotone speech patterns.

Example of visual kei eye makeup, not a BEK.

Visual kei inspired art

JOTB:  Why do you suppose BEKs always seem to want to be invited inside someone's home?

Onizuka:  You really want to know?  It's because they have to use the bathroom.  No kidding.  Doctors treat Lomotil overdose by administering charcoal and laxatives, since Lomotil is an anti-diarrheal.  When I did cherry bombs, I took Ex-Lax to come down.  All of us did.

JOTB:  Lomotil is prescription only.  How do kids obtain it?

Onizuka:  Simple.  They tell mom and dad that they can't stop sh***ing, mommy takes them to the family doctor, and the doctor writes out a prescription for Lomotil.  Believe me, out of all the Schedule V drugs, none are easier to get than Lomotil.

JOTB:  What about other forms of body modification?  Some BEK reports mention sharp teeth.

Onizuka:  Now you're dealing with my area of expertise, since I work in the body modification industry.  The big thing in Japan right now is called the "bagelhead trend", in which kids inject their foreheads with collagen.  Tooth modification is also big in Japan.  Here, let me send you a picture, hold on one sec.
(Junior sends the following picture via instant messenger)

JOTB:  Weird.  Believe it or not, we were one of the first American blogs to write about the Bagelhead trend in Japan, so we're pretty well-acquainted with it.  But the tooth thing, that's something I assumed would be limited to the "goth" genre.

Onizuka:  The goth element is a big part of the visual kei trend, actually.  We see a lot of it here in Detroit.  And I believe that lends further evidence to your theory that recreational drug use is behind the BEK phenomenon.  If you're an 18-year-old kid obsessed with anime, with a J-pop haircut and a lolita outfit and tooth modification, you're definitely the type of kid who likes to get f**ked up on cherry bombs.  Like I said earlier, we're not talking about a drug like crack, which is big in the inner city.  We're not talking about a drug like meth or bath salts, which are big with the hicks.  We're talking about a very small and specific group.  It's like the way that ecstasy is big with the raver and techno crowd... atropine is big with the harajuku and anime crowd.  And to the average suburban housewife in Akron or to the typical trucker from Oklahoma, a trend like this is beyond their comprehension.  What it all boils down to is ignorance, really.

Harajuku style

JOTB:  So your opinion is the BEKs are not demons or interdimensional beings? 

Onizuka:  That reminds me of something I stumbled across when I began to look into BEKs last year.  Do you know Stephen Wagner?

JOTB:  Of course.  He's a well-known paranormal researcher.  He writes about the paranormal for About.com.  What about him?

Onizuka:  He has a whole bunch of black eyed kid and black eyed people reports on About.com, submitted by readers.  There are 20 of them, and most are just downright ridiculous.  For instance, there are 4 separate sightings of these alleged BEKs... in Walmart!  Another person claims to have encountered a BEK in Starbucks.  Now, I'm no UFO researcher or demonologist, but why would a "demon" or "interdimensional being" need a frappuchino?  Maybe their spaceship crashed and they needed to run to Walmart for spare parts?  Seriously!

Could the "Lolita' style explain the old-fashioned clothing worn by BEKs?

JOTB:  Point well taken.  So, in closing, is it safe to say that you're a skeptic?

Onizuka:  Like I said before, it's possible there might be a real BEK out there somewhere, but I highly doubt they're shopping at the local Walmart.  I really do believe it's all a matter of ignorance, and I think you hit the nail right on the head when you debunked BEKs.  For some people, it's easier to believe that they saw a demon from a different dimension than a J-pop fan high on atropine.  It's like trying to explain any trend to someone who's "out of the loop".  Either you get it, or you don't. 

The sad part is that the "researchers" who claim to be studying BEKs are doing nothing more than collecting ghost stories from people who don't know Sailor Moon from Popeye the Sailor Man.  Where's the actual "research"?

JOTB:  We ask ourselves the same thing, all the time.  Thanks, JR, and if you come across any additional information, I hope you'll keep in touch.

Onizuka:  Thanks, I'll keep you posted.


  1. Hi, Really nice post. I have written something really interesting on black eyed kids on my blog. Check it out here: http://princepetropia.blogspot.com/2013/05/black-eyed-kids.html

  2. Some BEK's could be on drugs... and probably most are, but there are kids out there that just have black eyes. I did. When I was a child my eyes were black. I grew into them as I got older and the whites are very visible now, but once upon a time the whites of my eyes were barely visible. I am defn not evil or an alien or transdimensional being. lol I agree that this can defn be chocked up to ignorance.

    1. Me too
      But my story is more complex
      I've talked to the journal, they like saying wat is real and what is not.
      The pic where I can see your eyes remind me of the ones I see in the mirror.
      I don't know if your like me, but if you are I need to know.
      I don't want anything but the truth, thanks

  3. This idea that it's some mass J-pop/anime freak culture that's doing it is ludicrous

    Do you know how rare J-pop culture is here in America? It's NO WHERE NEAR as prevalent here as it is in Japan--if anything it's half assed and few and far between, ESPECIALLY in rural areas; the druggy anime/jpop fan explanation is completely retarded and needs to be scrubbed

    I actually know people who are into the culture and attend anime conventions and trust me, these shut-ins aren't druggies--they barely leave the house at all! Some may be, but to assume that it's some mass inside joke between social rejects is stupid

    Most reports are probably fakes, hell maybe all of them are - this explanation and the last one are terrible though, far from debunking

  4. We dress in frills because they're pretty not because we're doing drugs. I assure you Lolitas aren't Black-Eyed Kids.
    However you guys sound a lot like you should probably stop doing drugs because y'all sound crazy.

  5. I am laughing so hard! This article is such a joke! Like, where does this Onizuka get his information? The people he sees that are into J-fashion and all its subculters wear CIRCLE LENSES. They give the illusion of larger eyes. I'm wearing some right now actually and my eyes look freakin' huge. I'm not high on atropine ya big dope, I'm wearing contact lenses and makeup so my eyes appear bigger.

    Please do not slander Lolita. It's bad enough the majority of society automatically relates it to Nabokov's work just because of the name.

  6. Wow... I don't even know what to say. I am a big anime fan and I know a lot of people who are and let me tell you: none of us are doing drugs, especially not what you describe above. You keep mentioing Japan and Japanese sub-cultures, perhaps forgetting that a lot of people post stuff about BEKs are from the US or in other areas of the world where those fashion trends are very much a minority. Also, I'm pretty sure all those people in the pictures you posted are wearing contacts...

    I really dislike the stereotyping in this article, especially since this is just some guy's opinion. I see no proof to back any of it up.

  7. This is hilarious. If I'm understanding this, he's saying that all BEKs are a part of Japanese subcultures, and everyone a part of Japanese sub-cultures is hopped up on drugs? Sweetie, that's so wrong that it hurts.

    We wear circle lenses. They have huge diameters, and are often all-black. They give the illusion of giant eyes, one of the common features in Lolita and VK. As a Punk Lolita who also wears Visual Kei and has gone to many Loli and Kei meetings, I can assure you that not one person I've met in this subculture does these drugs. It's just contact lenses.

    He complains about lack of research, but he's just as ignorant as everyone else. Please stop slandering me and others like me just to try explaining something you don't want to believe.

  8. Our intent wasn't to imply that 100% of those involved in the Japanese subculture were drug users, but it's equally as wrong to conclude that 0% are non-users. With any group, there's bound to be a few drug users in the bunch.

    However, we still believe there is a connection between the BEK phenomenon and Japanese subculture in America. Wouldn't you agree that it is entirely plausible that, to someone who has never encountered kids involved in the subculture, the appearance of a kid wearing black circle lenses might be misinterpreted as something "demonic" or "supernatural"?

    If my 90-year-old Aunt Sally out in the middle of Iowa saw some kid with black eyes, I highly doubt her first reaction would be "Oh, it's just one of those Visual Kei kids". Chances are, she'd insist that she saw a demon.


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