Oude Rode Ogen or Old Red Eyes, otherwise known as The Beast of Flanders, is a Dutch bogeyman, ghost or monster whose tales and sightings began after a true series of events.
The legend of Oude Rode Ogen began in the Flanders region of Belgium in the late 17th century after reports of children who went missing and were believed to be victims of a cannibalistic shape shifter. Witnesses claimed to have seen a large naked black man running away after trying to steal a young girl from her bed. He was shot at and seen to change into a large black dog. A homeless black man was soon found living near Nekkerspoel and without trial was lynched and skinned alive. The skin is said to be buried in the basement of St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen.
From the early 18th century until present, a ghostly dark figure with fiery red eyes has been seen in Mechelen and surrounding areas. It is said that he seeks his skin to become whole again as the demonic figure he once was. During the 20th century the ghostly being became known as The Nikker (De Nekker or The Necker), as part of a story told to children who stayed up past their bedtime that they’d be eaten alive if they didn’t go to sleep.
Oude Rode Ogen was said to have been a 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) black man who changed into a large black dog with fiery red eyes. In more recent times he has taken the form of a dark shadow figure with red eyes whose late evening appearance is usually followed by a menacing dog’s growl. Sightings of De Nekker were believed to have left people deaf, mute and blind according to the book Beast of Flanders by Vincent Menten.
The Beast of Flanders by Vincent Menten