I’m sure that over the last couple of weeks you have heard about the latest craze teenagers are getting involved, called the ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’. For those that haven’t, it involves placing two pencils on a piece of paper in the shape of the cross with the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Participants then repeat the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with a ‘Mexican demon’ known as Charlie. If Charlie is there the pencils will move to indicate his answer.
It’s claimed that the game has a Mexican origin but I can’t find any evidence of that on the internet.
What is actually moving the pencils is Gravity, and the awkward position the pencils are placed in. They probably wouldn’t sit still even if you wanted them to.
It’s perhaps scarier than a Ouija board because it doesn’t have the same explanations. With those boards, players have to keep hold of a glass while it moves around the table — so it’s not difficult to imagine that people might be pushing it around without knowing it.
With the Charlie Charlie game, however, nobody is actually touching the pencils. But they are still likely being pushed — the pencils have to be so finely balanced on top of each other that even the slightest movement from a breath or slightly tilted surface will push it around. Therefore, the actual game itself holds no danger.
What IS dangerous about this ‘game’ though (and the same goes for Ouija) is the psychological effect it can have on some people, and especially teenagers. If you are a little naive or don’t have much experience of life in general, it’s easy to imagine that some sort of supernatural being is moving the pencils. This can then leave you in a state of heightened perception and fear, imagining that every creak of the floorboard or light bulb flicker is Charlie coming to get you. It may sound silly, written in black and white, but I have had to deal with many people who are convinced they are ‘possessed’ when in fact; they just have a very vivid imagination. It’s no game to them and it can leave someone very psychologically scarred, taking a long time to get over their experience.
My view on the game is then, is the same as my view of Ouija - if you are of a nervous disposition, don’t do it. If you are a teenager, probably best not to do it. Is it a Demon? No, it’s simple gravity.
© Sue Treanor 2015