The Black Eyed Child: The Dark Story Behind The Sinister Legend That Roams Cannock Chase
Updated: Mar 29
When you peel away the hiking trails, picnic spots, and beautiful woodland, there is a dark and sinister history to the area that has paved the way for the legend of the Black Eyed Child of Cannock Chase.
Cannock Chase is known for its idyllic scenery and beautiful walking trails through miles of woodland, however, this beauty hides a dark and sinister past. During the 1960s, a beast prowled the area seeking out young female victims.
In 1965, Margaret Reynolds, a six-year-old girl, vanished whilst walking to school. The local area pulled together and a search party consisting of over 2,000 people searched for her.
They didn't find her. That very same year, another young girl, five-year-old Diane Tift, left her home to go and visit her grandmother, unfortunately, she never arrived.
Terrance, her brother, was the last person to see her alive.
12th January 1966, the dead body of a girl was found in a ditch in Cannock Chase, the police quickly arrived at the scene. After they removed the body from the ditch, they made the horrifying discovery, another body of another dead girl was laying on top.
These two lifeless girls had been stacked on top of each other. Margaret Reynolds and Diane Tift were no longer described as missing girls, they were dead.
It was August of 1967, a man approached a seven-year-old girl, Christine Darby. The man had pulled alongside Christine and persuaded the young child to get into his car. Another child witnessed what had happened and spoke of how they watched Christine enter the stranger's car. Christine was never seen alive again. Several days after Christine Darby's disappearance, her body was found, the unknown killer had sexually assaulted and strangled her, before dumping her body approximately a mile away from the other two murdered girls.
Shortly after this, a local witnessed a man in a green and white Corsair attempt to abduct another girl, the horrified witness shouted at the driver of the car before he fled, luckily the man took down the car's license plate.
The car belonged to a man named Raymond Morris, who was a local factory worker. He was said to be a creepy man who had allegedly been seen taking photos of schoolgirls in 1966. At the time the police didn't have enough evidence to actually arrest Morris for anything.
Authorities did manage to arrest Morris in 1969 and send him to trial for the killing of Christine Darby.
An officer that worked on the investigation said of Morris: "He had cold, calculating eyes and showed no remorse."
The police believe that Morris was guilty of the murder of the two other girls, however, there was only enough evidence to charge him for the killing of Christine Darby.
On the 18th February 1969, a jury took only two hours to convict Morris of murder, he was sentenced to life in prison shortly afterward.
Morris served forty-five years in prison before he died on the 11th of March 2014.
The death of Morris, unfortunately, did not bring an end to this story, for many years people have claimed to have come into contact with ghostly children who appear to have no eyes, some people believe these to be the ghosts of the murdered children, this is where the legend of the Black Eyed Child of Cannock Chase was born.
Over the years following the sickening murder of the girls, people have claimed to see a ghostly girl walking the trails of Cannock Chase.
Those who have claimed to witness these ghostly sightings have all said that she has no eyes, but two dark orbs where her eyes would normally be.
Many locals in the Cannock area believe that Christine Darby spends her eternity wandering around the trails as she cannot see, as Raymond Morris put a blindfold on her before killing her.
Paranormal activity is a common thing in Cannock Chase and the surrounding areas, over the years it has been the home to many reported sightings and strange phenomena.
Could it be possible that the spirits of these deceased girls are still walking the trails?
In 2014 another credible witness came forward after she claimed she had come into close contact with the Black Eyed Child.
A woman claimed that she heard what sounded like screams, before seeing a sightless ghostly spectre around the Birches Valley area of Cannock Chase.
The witness said: “We instantly started running towards the noise,” she said. “We couldn’t find the child anywhere and so stopped to catch our breath."
"That’s when I turned around and saw a girl standing behind me, no more than 10 years old, with her hands over her eyes."
"It was as if she was waiting for a birthday cake."
"I asked if she was OK and if she had been the one screaming. She put her arms down by her side and opened her eyes."
"That’s when I saw they were completely black, no iris, no white, nothing."
"I jumped back and grabbed my daughter. When I looked again, the child was gone. It was so strange."
Thousands of people visit Cannock Chase every year, many marvel at its beauty but also report a strange and eerie feeling about the area that is said to be difficult to describe.