From the Case Files of George and Thea Drake
The Case Files of George and Thea Drake are short accounts, conversations, histories, and sometimes full stories based on paranormal investigation cases Thea Drake conducted with her husband George before his death preceding the events of The Witch's Throne, Book One of the Thea Drake Mysteries. Some elements of these stories appear in flashbacks throughout the series.
I wasn’t drunk yet, I swear,” said the man, leaning against his hunter green F-150 truck. His name was Justin Skito of Duluth, and he’d agreed to meet George and I at the Ayerco gas station on Highway 61 near Little Malais.
We met Justin at the Ayerco, because it was the site at which his encounter with some strange kids had happened two years earlier.
“So, I’d stopped for beer before going on up to the cabin.”
Justin explained that a friend had invited a group to a cabin on the shore of Lake Superior near the town of Little Malais. The friend’s parents had rented the cabin for the month of August but had been called back to Chicago a week early. They allowed their son to use the cabin for the remainder of the month.
“So it was around ten at night, I guess, ‘cause I closed at work at nine and then left from there around nine-thirty, stopped here for gas and beer, and that’s when it happened.”
He crossed his arms, scowled, looked across the highway at the thick forest on the horizon. “I got back in my truck—this truck here,” he wrapped his knuckles on the door, a metallic hollow sound, “window was rolled up. I was counting my change ‘cause I thought the kid in there might’ve shorted me, and then some kid knocks on the window, scares the shit out of me.”
“What did he look like?” George asked.
“There was two of them. I was parked over there,” he said, pointing to the opposite side of the parking lot facing the highway, “in the dark, away from the store lights. Two kids, both with black hair. They were both wearing flannel shirts, one was red, the other blue. They looked a lot alike. After, I thought about them maybe being twins. Both about the same size, same age probably.”
“And they asked you for a ride?”
“Yeah, I rolled down my window and the kid says, ‘Could you give us a ride into town? We got lost on the trail and the guy in there won’t let us use the phone.”
“So I ask them, ‘What town? I’m headed north,’ and the kid’s like, ‘North is fine.’”
Justin stops his story and clears his throat. He exhales with force and looks around him, as if someone might be eavesdropping, then continues.
“So I say, ‘Sure, all right,’ and the kid says…this is where it gets weird. The kids says, ‘All right, what?’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ So he says, ‘You have to say it. You have to say the words.’”
“Was it just the one kid talking the whole time?” George asked.
“Yeah, the other one stood a little behind him. He never said a word. I got creeped out then. So I say, ‘What do you mean? Say what words?’ ‘You may enter my truck,’ the kid says. And then…” Justin pushed away from the truck and paced back and forth. George had to step back to give him room. “Then I saw his eyes. I didn’t notice them before. I guess I wasn’t really looking at him, didn’t notice how dark they were. But all of the sudden, I see how they’re just black. No irises, not even like eyeballs, man, like they were black holes. I looked back at the other kid, and he had them, too. Solid black eyes, like two pits of evil.”
“And then, I got this overwhelming sense of…not even fear. Terror. That’s exactly the word for it. Utter and complete terror. I have never felt that before or since. And I know, I’ve heard of people talking about intuition and getting these bad feelings, and man, that’s exactly what happened to me, and that’s what saved my life that night.”
“What do you mean?” George asked. “How did it save your life?”
“’Cause I left. I just drove away from them. And then I heard later about these kids and what they really were. I knew that’s what I’d seen that night. Knew it all along, just didn’t have a name for it.”
Justin told his story to his friends at the cabin that night, and, at their suggestion, he posted his story on a forum for paranormal encounters called Truly Terrifying Encounters.
“After I posted, my life changed. A week later, this woman finds me. Not by email, not a phone call, I mean, she comes to my house. She physically finds me. And she tells me she’s seen one, too. A BEK, she calls it. A black-eyed kid.”
BEK, I wrote in my journal. Black-eyed kids.
Over the next few months, said Justin, he began to see stories pop up all over the country, not just online but in newspapers and television news reports.
By the time we interviewed him in the winter of 1999, Justin, ran a thriving website called TrueParanormal.com and was the author of three books about his research on BEKs and other paranormal encounters in the Minnesota area.
We didn’t prove him wrong for almost fourteen years, and even then, it was by accident.
We were at a book signing for The Demon Cabin. A young man with black hair and deep brown, almost black, eyes told George that he was a huge fan and that he’d never believed in any paranormal stories, not since what happened to him as a kid.
George took the bait. “What happened to you as a kid?”
“I was a famous demon. The BEK of Little Malais.”
He showed George a sixth-grade school picture of himself and then borrowed George’s laptop to open a website called ParnormalLegends.com to a page about the BEK of Little Malais, and there he was, the same picture edited to include a grainy background and solid black eyes.
“My family rented a cabin on the lake every summer. The place was in the middle of nowhere, no kids around, and every summer, I was bored to death. But one summer I made a friend, and we came up with this idea to amuse ourselves. We’d watched Dracula one night, and I got this idea to pretend to be vampires. We’d knock on people’s doors and ask to use the phone, but when they said okay, we’d push it, like be as creepy as possible. We’d say, ‘You have to invite us in,’ and shit like that until they got scared enough, or annoyed enough, to slam the door on us. We tried it with cars, too. Asking for rides, but then staring at the person and saying, ‘You have to invite us. Say the words.’
“Then, like, a couple years ago, I read a story online from this lady who saw what she called a BEK on Highway 61 in Minnesota, and so I doctor up this picture of me and post it, and oh my God, the forums blow up, man. Like, hundreds of people start saying they’ve seen this kid. We hit a lot of houses, but there’s no way we got to that many people.”
“Can I keep this picture?” asked George, holding up the school photo. “I’ve got to show this to someone.”
George tried. He went up to Minnesota and went to Justin’s house. But an old woman answered.
"Oh honey, he's passed," she said when we asked her about Justin. "Three years ago. His mother sold us this place right after."
"Passed? What happened?"
"He was hiking in the forest around that same area, and he fell and broke an ankle. And he only had a little water with him.
“He didn’t have a phone?”
The old woman shook her head. “I don’t know for sure, but I guess not.”