31 Shinbi's Apartment Ghosts!
DAY TWENTY FOUR: BLACK EYED CHILDREN & MUD GHOST
Written by Jonathan Wojcik
SEASON 03, EPISODE 03: a local child says there's something wrong with his rich neighbors; that he's seen them staggering around in their homes like zombies.
The culprit turns out to be the Black Eyed Children, four undead ghouls caked with and perpetually leaking dark mud. They've been stalking the same few neighbors, invading their homes and possessing them with cursed mud, eventually filling their bodies with so much muck that they collapse.
The one thing every victim has in common? Living nearly alone in a huge, expensive house.
The Black Eyed Children were originally four homeless siblings, who wandered town asking for food or shelter. On one particularly cold and rainy night, everyone they asked only slammed their door in their faces; especially the owners of the biggest, most lavish homes. With nowhere else to go, they finally found an old, rotten, abandoned house in the woods...
...Not knowing that the house was haunted by an evil spirit, the Mud Ghost or Mud Man, who terrorized locals even centuries in the past. The spirit took over the children's bodies, and once they had become a combined entity, it acted on their emotions and sought to punish everyone who had left them out in the cold.
We currently don't know any origin for the mud spirit itself, or even a clear motivation for why it took those particular children as hosts. It's actually Slenderman who expels the entity from the children's bodies, saves the rest of the kids from the Mudman's attack, and fries the creature with one flash of his camera, the same battle I shared as a clip in my very first article on this series!
I haven't yet seen an episode in which Hari summons the children for a battle, and the mud ghost itself, while included as its own creature in the app games, doesn't get a summoning orb in the anime at all. It would seem, then, that the summon Hari receives here only represents the children with the mud spirit possessing them, which feels even weirder to me than how this usually works. It's like the summons represent a snapshot of the spirits as they were shortly before they were "cured."
"Black Eyed Children" are actually considered one of the oldest of all creepypasta or internet-age urban legends, first discussed in a 1996 internet mailing list. Allegedly, they do indeed go door to door begging, or in some cases hitch-hiking, but their solid black eyes and eerie manner of speech indicate something other than a real, human child.
It's an interesting spin to have the children possessed by a spirit of mud, which doesn't seem inspired by anything in particular, but this series does have a habit of mashing up two or more kinds of entities just for fun, and I'm all for it.
As for the Mud Ghost, its design is a simple, classic heap of dripping ooze with arms, so there's not much to discuss there, but I do love that its mouth is a perfectly round, slightly protruding hole, almost like the mouth of a cartoon octopus. Giving it a score of its own is also kind of interesting, because it's responsible for every aspect of the Black Eyed Children, which logically gives it a higher score for its abilities, but it has to get a lower score for story and horror, since its possessed victims are the ones really going through the tragedy.