We live in a world where just about anything can go viral these days. If you want proof of such an outlandish claim, the new “Charlie Charlie Challenge” that is making the rounds on social media is it.
If you’ve never heard of it before, it goes a little something like this:
Draw a cross on a piece of paper, writing yes in two of the resulting portions and no in the other two. Lay a single, sharpened pencil down in the center, and then balance another pencil on top of it going the other way — so it forms a cross. Then, simply ask the invisible spirit named Charlie a question.
“Charlie, Charlie can we play?”
Watch the madness ensue, and be sure to scream wildly when the pencil moves. Also, film the encounter for prosperity.
Here, are some examples. These are NSFW.
Where Does This Come From?
If you want an in-depth analysis on what’s actually happening — read: gravity — then see this feature on the Charlie Charlie Challenge. I’m not going to be so elaborate, there’s no reason to.
This is the original video that started it all, and you’ll notice they’re playing a different version of the game.
Supposedly, when you play the game you’re communing with a Mexican Demon named Charlie. It’s akin to using an Ouija board, only the process is much simpler and involves #2 pencils instead of a unique wooden slab.
The BBC looked into the “Mexican Demon” urban legend and found that no such demon exists south of the border.
“There’s no demon called ‘Charlie’ in Mexico,” says Maria Elena Navez of BBC Mundo. “Mexican legends often come from ancient Aztec and Maya history, or from the many beliefs that began circulating during the Spanish conquest. In Mexican mythology you can find gods with names like ‘Tlaltecuhtli’ or ‘Tezcatlipoca’ in the Nahuatl language. But if this legend began after the Spanish conquest, I’m sure it would’ve been called ‘Carlitos’ (Charlie in Spanish).”
“Mexican demons are usually American inventions,” she says.
People are posting videos and images via social media of their experiences with the game, and several news outlets have covered its popularity. It’s the perfect recipe for viral content.
Is It Really a Demon?
I’m never one to shirk the supernatural, so you’re free to believe as you wish. If you want a more worldly explanation, however then you need not look any further than the story of Sir Isaac Newton and the fallen apple. In other words, it’s nothing more than the forces of gravity at work.
Although, the assured pencil movement is definitely creepy. Not as creepy as this picture though.