David Krabs pulled his car onto the main park road in Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, leaving two haunting, black-eyed children standing in the parking lot, watching him leave.

Author’s note: This is the third in a short series on encounters with black-eyed people and the second detailing 26-year-old David Krabs’ encounters in Michigan. Krabs encountered two black-eyed children at a state park ranger station and fled deeper into the woods.

David Krabs pulled his car onto the main park road in Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, leaving two haunting, black-eyed children standing in the parking lot, watching him leave.

Instead of abandoning his plan of camping in the backcountry and driving three hours home, David pointed his car toward the campsites.

“To be honest I can’t tell you why,” he said. “I was just so much in shock that I wasn’t really thinking. I just talked away my better judgment. I won’t be doing that again.”

He pulled his car into an empty lot, unpacked his gear, and started the 45-minute walk to the White Pine backcountry campground. Down the beach and a half-mile into the forest, David reached the campgrounds – it was empty.

“Usually this would be a happy thing to me, but this time I wished for all my might for a little company,” he said. “I pick a site hidden fairly well from the trail, feeling that I didn’t need anyone walking along to spot my tent.”

David set up his tent and cooked supper, all the time wondering if something was creeping toward him in the dark. After enough tugs on a flask of whisky, he fell to sleep.

“I woke to a dead fire, and the early dusk light coming in,” David said. “I have to say I was slightly surprised to be alive.”

Dawn brought renewed confidence. David ate breakfast, hiked back to his car, and made a decision he would regret. He stayed another night. At about 3 p.m., he drove to Traverse City for dinner, about 45 minutes away.

“I went to this steakhouse around 4:30, figuring a quick dinner, a 45-minute drive and an hour walk would get me to my camp at just about dusk,” he said. “But I didn’t get out of the restaurant until dusk.”

As the growing darkness overtook him, and rain began to fall, David cursed himself for not heading home.

“I was pretty damn scared again,” he said. “I think that if nearly all of my gear wasn’t still at the campsite then I would have just drove home.”

When he pulled his car into the lot near the campgrounds and turned it off, the darkness was complete. He pulled his coat close to him, turned on his lamp and started to hike in the rain.

“What had me worried was a creeping sensation of paranoia,” he said. “As I walked the sensation of paranoia and dread grew. I stopped every 10 feet or so to look around, but I saw nothing. It was hard to hear anything over the lapping waves of the lake and the howling wind of the storm, but I swear I heard voices in the tall grass.”

Then, near his campsite, his paranoia became unbearable.

“My world fell apart,” David said. “Having one of my strongest moments of feeling watched, I turned around and there they were.”

The black-eyed boy who spoke to David the day before stood about five feet from him, the other a step further back.

“Each of the boys stood motionless. Staring. Just staring,” David said. “I felt like I was dying.”

The lead boy stepped toward David, the beam from David’s lamp reflecting in its hideous black eyes.

“Help us,” the boy said.

Fear gripped David; he couldn’t move. Then the quiet one began to circle behind him.

“I’m not helping you,” David spat.

“We’re lost,” the first boy said, his voice emotionless, hollow. “We can’t find our campsite.”

“Is this a game?” David asked.

“Take us with you. Please. We’ll die out here. We’re afraid.”

The quiet boy now stood just a few feet from David; the other one blocked his escape.

“Then things got even weirder,” David said. “I said, ‘OK, you can come with me.’ I don’t even remember thinking the words. They just came out.”

The talking boy smiled and reached to take David’s hand.

“It was like a physical punch to the stomach,” David said. “I recoiled at the sight of this little monster trying to take my hand.”

Then David ran.

“I didn’t look behind me. I didn’t know if they’re following me or not, and I didn’t want to know,” he said. “All I know is that I needed to run faster.”

At one point, David crawled into the woods, extinguished his light, and hid in the underbrush.

“I watch the trail waiting to see the kids following,” he said. “I waited for a couple hours at least. No kids.”

The cold and rain finally drove him to his camp where he slipped into his tent, changed into dry clothing, and waited for death.

“Under the best of circumstances this is a night where a person’s mind can get away from them,” he said. “For me, it was utter terror.”

David eventually fell to sleep, but a voice roused him.

“Help us,” the voice said.

David could do nothing but scream.

“Please let us in,” the boy said.

“No,” David screamed. “No, no, no.”

“It’s so cold. Please let us in, mister.”

David started crying, chanting “no, no, no,” over the pleas of the black-eyed boys.

“I waited for death,” David said. “I knew it was coming.”

At some point, he fell asleep and woke to a clear sky. Outside the tent the campsite was empty except for the body of a duck. Its heart had been ripped from its chest. David packed his gear, hurried to his car and drove home.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe hiking again,” David said.

“I, thankfully, haven’t seen any more black-eyed kids. I don’t want to think about whether they are demons, or monsters, aliens, or hybrids. My advice if you ever do encounter a BEK, don’t listen to it to speak. Don’t be polite. Just run. Run and don’t look back.”