The demon-summoning Charlie Charlie challenge began on Spanish social media sites but has now gone viral in the United States. The new craze has participants using pencils to summon a demon of Mexican descent. The Charlie Charlie game is a modernized version of Juego de la Lapicera, a Spanish paper-and-pencil game. The revamped Juego de la Lapicera, interpreted game of the pens, is being played by teenagers using school supplies to produce answers to questions they ask.
The challenge features players who place a pencil across another one on a piece of paper forming the shape of a cross. Participants must write the words “yes” and “no” on the paper prior to the start of the game. After asking the question, “Charlie, Charlie are you here?” the top pencil is then said to move, using the ideomotor phenomenon, in order to indicate the spirit’s presence in the room. Like playing with the popular Ouija board, players are said to move the pencils without conscious control.
The top pencil is balanced on a central pivot point allowing it to easily move due to players breathing or slight gusts of wind. After asking Charlie to play, the pencil should start moving. If it points to yes, the demon is ready and willing to answer your questions, but if leans toward no, players must try again or return later. Some players have said the only way to end the ritual is by asking “Charlie” if they can stop. If the demon says yes, the players must say, “Goodbye.” This is the only way to close the demon portal, according to some. Experts who refute the theory have stated a demon named Charlie does not exist in traditional Mexican lore.
Many have reported strange occurrences when participating in the Charlie Charlie challenge. Critics believe this is due to the brain’s adaptation of psychological suggestion. This can lead people to expect a particular response, which can result in behaviors and thoughts that will help bring the anticipated outcome to fruition. Christopher French, University of London’s head of anomalistic psychology, explained it as follows:
Human agent detection leads people to see patterns in random events and perceive an intelligence behind them. Divination games involving magical thinking often receive answers which are vague and ambiguous, but our inherent ability to find meaning — even when it is not there— ensures that we will perceive significance in those responses and be convinced that an intelligence of some kind lay behind them.
As with most urban legends, Charlie’s identity has varying responses. Some say he is a demonic Mexican man with red and black eyes, others have stated Charlie is the spirit of a child who committed suicide. David Emery, an urban legend expert, said some of the versions of the Charlie, Charlie challenge mirror La Llorona; a popular ghost story in Hispanic America. However, the pencil game now being played is not a Mexican tradition, according to Emery.
Teens around the globe are participating in the Charlie Charlie challenge in hopes of summoning demonic spirits. The older generation compares the craze to their Ouija board and Bloody Mary experiences. Recalling days of their youth when “Bloody Mary” would be repeated three times in anticipation of an image appearing in a mirror while in a darkened bathroom.
Apparently, this generation is seeking the same thrill as they join around the globe playing the Charlie Charlie challenge. In Spain, teenagers have played Juego de la Lapicera for generations during sleepovers and in school playgrounds. Reportedly, in Colombia four teenage girls were sent to a hospital where they were diagnosed with mass hysteria. The demon-summoning Charlie Charlie challenge has recently gone viral on social media after crossing the language divide into the United States.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
UPI: Demon-summoning ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’ takes Twitter by storm
PIX11: Latest Twitter trend ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’ has teens trying to summon Mexican demon
The Independent: Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it’s just gravity — not a Mexican demon being summoned
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