They are described as pale-skinned, robotic, and exude a sense of menace and dread. But it's just a child - a child with jet black, soulless eyes. As with other paranormal themed entities, believing is seeing.
The Birmingham Mail (U.K.) posted a story related by a local paranormal investigator, Lee Brickley from Stafforshire back in 2013. He received an email report of a sighting of the Cannock Chase black eyed child.
A leading paranormal investigator has scoured a Staffordshire beauty spot following chilling sightings of a spectre known locally as The Black Eyed Child.
Lee Brickley launched an in-depth investigation of Cannock Chase after reports that the ghoulish apparition has returned to the sprawling heathland.
The child was last spotted 30 years ago, sparking worldwide interest – and is today a cult internet sensation.
Latest descriptions of the girl, who has coal-black pits for eye sockets, are identical to those chronicled in the early 1980s.
This piece, accompanied by a grotesque and horrible picture of a scary child (however, not with black eyes), is getting thousands of shares and being covered by media outlets all over the world. (I’m not clear WHY they dredged up a 2013 blog post and wrote this story as if this is a recent sighting).
Whenever such reports appear in tabloids or on mystery-mongering forums and websites, Internet search engines spike as people are fascinating by the tale and search to know more.
The 2013 report is said to parallel other reports from the past in this area: the witness is alarmed by the sound of a screaming child. When they search for the source, they are suddenly faced with a child (in this recent reported case, a little girl approximately 10 years old), who reveals jet black eyes without irises or sclera. Stories of black-eyed children have been reported widely but writer Brickley says that daytime sightings are rather unique to Cannock Chase.
Reports of black-eyed kids (BEK) are frightening at face value but have characteristics that peg them as textbook urban legends. There does not seem to be documentation of such events but they are passed on as "friend of a friend" stories with irrational, supernatural elements. The wikipedia page for black-eyed kids is being considered for deletion because it is not sourced. Yet, it's easy to find dozens of tales online.
The witness will suddenly (strangely, not immediately) notice the all black-eyes which is said to indicate soullessness or evil. The witnesses relate a detailed story regarding the exchange with the entities that typically ends with the witness managing to thwart the persistent kids at which time they suddenly disappear.
There are several possible alternative explanations to these stories other than "paranormal". The core problem is that the stories are not confirmed - there is little reason to accept them as fact. We can not tell if the tales have any merit and there is little in terms of "facts" to pursue. Anecdotes are the worst type of evidence to rely upon due to faulty perception, mistakes, or people just making stuff up for fun.
Such tales can become associated with a place, in this case, Cannock Chase. Locals or visitors to the area are primed with the lore they have heard from others. This can result in exaggerated or embellished reports of events as some who want to have the experience get creative with their observations. The classic example of such a place is Loch Ness, where EVERYONE wants to catch a glimpse of the monster and every wave or ripple is "Nessie!".
One non-paranormal explanation offered for BEKs is an encounter with kids under the influence of drugs. This could account for dilated pupils and strange behavior, but the evidence for this is weak and unsupported.
We must always leave open the consideration that hoaxes are taking place. We know such hoaxes occur and we can't dismiss a calculated hoax, no matter how complicated it may seem. (There are full-eye contact lenses that create the look.) We have to weigh the odds of someone playing a fun prank, possibly to get exposure for the town, with the possibility of an encounter with a supernatural entity - vampire, angel, alien, demon, whatever the latest idea is about black-eyed kids.
But in the end, the black eyed kids resembles typical spooky folklore stories in the same realm as phantom black dogs, apparitions, and mysterious monsters. They aren't supernatural, there may never even have been an actual encounter. That does not stop people from continuing to see and fear them and pass on the latest tale of terror. Thanks, Internet!