Eye colour is an inherited trait that results from the interaction of approximately 8 genes.
The color of human eyes, skin and hair is primarily controlled by the amount and type of a pigment called melanin. Specialized cells known as melanocytes produce the melanin, storing it in intracellular compartments known as melanosomes. The overall number of melanocytes is roughly equivalent for all people, however the level of melanin inside each melanosome and the number of melanosomes inside a melanocyte varies. The total amount of melanin is what determines the range of hair, eye and skin colors….
These melansomes are located in the iris, and the amount of melanin determines colour.
The range in eye color, from blue to hazel to brown depends on
the level of melanin pigment stored in the melanosome “packets” in the melanocytes of the iris. Blue eyes contain minimal amounts of pigment within a small number of melanosomes. Irises from green–hazel eyes show moderate pigment levels and melanosome number, while brown eyes are the result of high melanin levels stored across many melanosomes.
The alleles associated with blue eyes occurred only within the last 6,000 – 10,000 years in those of European descent. In fact, colours other than brown are rare in the rest of the world.
One colour that is absent from the normal pigment range is black. A close examination of someone with normal eyes who appears to have black eyes, indicates a very dark brown pigmentation. Actual black eyes only appear in a congenital condition known as ‘aniridia‘.
Aniridia is a congenital, hereditary, bilateral, extreme form of iris hypoplasia that may be associated with other ocular defects.It describes an extreme form of iris hypoplasia in which the iris appears absent on superficial clinical examination. However, gonioscopy shows the presence of the iris root. Aniridia is not just an isolated defect in iris development but is a panocular disorder with macular and optic nerve hypoplasia, cataract, and corneal changes that are other anomalies that lead to decreased vision and nystagmus. Visual acuity is generally low but is unrelated to the degree of iris hypoplasia. Glaucoma is a secondary problem causing additional visual loss over time.
The lack of iris is merely the external manifestation of the disorder. In many cases, it is associated with serious vision problems. A few of the more common co-morbid conditions (those that occur in 30-80% of people with aniridia) are:
- Ectopia lentis (displacement or malposition of the crystalline lens of the eye)
- Optic nerve hypoplasia (lack of development of the optic nerve)
Treatments are usually symptomatic based and require lifetime monitoring.
Another manifestation of black eyes that is common is in horror movies. It is such a common allusion that as soon as a character exhibits completely black eyes, we need no other confirmation that the individual is possessed by some demon or other source of evil. As with so many other myths, there are those who believe in their presence. (maybe).
Brian Bethel and Jon Northwood have both written about their experiences meeting with Black Eyed kids or BEKs (they needed an acronym right?). Their accounts are stored in the archives of the internet. Another tale comes from Leanne Davies of Maryland.
Davies carpooled to work in Deale, Maryland, in 1999 when one night her driver stopped at a small grocery store, leaving Davies in the pickup alone. “We parked at the edge of the parking lot with the store entrance and lot behind us,” Davies said. “We had worked late and it was well after dusk.”
Davies relaxed as she sat in the truck, watching cars going through the intersection, waiting for the driver to come back.
“I make note of my emotions because in this peaceful, relaxed state, I was hit with an unbelievably strong sense of fear or danger,” she said. “There was no rational explanation for this intense fear and I was able to be objective. It was really strange to me, feeling this fear all of a sudden.”
Realizing she was slipping into a panic attack, Davies tried to figure out what might have triggered this immediate overwhelming terror.
“The fear or sense of danger didn’t increase or become more intense,” Davies said. “The (initial) intensity was extraordinary.”
Then she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. From the passenger seat, Davies slowly looked to her left, and found the cause for her terror.
“I looked over at the driver’s window and there, facing me, was a woman looking in at me,” she said. “Not just glancing in, she had her shoulders square to the driver’s door of the pickup, standing about a foot and a half away from the window, which was closed.”
The appearance of the woman rammed the intense fear deeper into Davies. “My heart shot to my throat and I couldn’t move,” she said. “I just looked at her and she at me.”
Although the harsh shadows cast by the yellow streetlamps obscured part of the woman’s face, Davies could see her eyes. The eyes looked “empty.” Davies said the streetlamps that reflected off everything in the parking lot didn’t reflect in her eyes.
“They appeared dead,” Davies said. “Black voids. Nothing there. She seemed to have a look on her face as if she knew the fear that gripped me and enjoyed it.” The woman’s gaze held Davies fast. “I don’t know how long she stood there,” Davies said. “It didn’t seem to be very long, but at the same time, the intense fear made it seem like minutes.”
The woman suddenly turned and got into the passenger seat of an early-1970s Plymouth Duster parked beside the pickup where Davies sat.
“The driver, who I couldn’t see, backed the car out of the lot and left,” Davies said. “Immediately, all fear and sense of danger was gone. Very strange to me how sudden it was with it being so intense a few moments before.”
Lest you think these creatures only evolved with the internet age, think again.
What are these entities that approach calmly, quietly, and strike fear into those who encounter them? Authors such as David Icke and Guy Malone have speculated these black-eyed beings to be everything from extraterrestrials to demons – and they have been here for millennia, living alongside us, working alongside us, breeding with us – and most of us don’t realize it.
The article gets strange from there, with claims of descendants of fallen angels and children with black eyes and electro-magnetic powers. More tales of BEKs can be found here.
All of the articles I read claim Bethel’s 1998 tale as the origin, children with unusual eyes
date back at least as far as John Wyndham 1957 novel “The Midwich Cuckoos“, made into the movie “Village of the Damned” in 1962. In the novel, the children’s eyes were golden, however, in the movie (in B&W) their eyes just glowed, although they were sometimes portrayed as black.
The cinematic and literary history of BEKs goes back much further than 1998, and likely further than 1960. Do people actually believe in BEKs in the same way they believe in UFOs and ghosts? I don’t know. Belief in demonic possession is common, and continues to kill innocent people.