Who is Charlie Charlie? He’s like Bloody Mary, but with pencils.

28 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Charlie Charlie Challenge: Should parents worry about their children playing supernatural games?.

If – like me – you’re old enough to remember playing “Bloody Mary” in the bathroom mirror at slumber parties, you’re probably old enough to be wondering who Charlie is. Here’s how CNET explains it: The challenge “involves two pencils placed in the shape of a cross on a sheet of paper with two ‘yes’ and two ‘no’ answers written on opposite corners of the diagonal.Type “Charlie Charlie Challenge” into YouTube and you will get hundreds of compilation videos showing thousands of people freaking out and screaming at the simple sight of a pencil moving of its our accord whilst balanced on top of another pencil.If you are one of those crotchety people who believe the kids these days are somehow less inspired than generations before, then I come bearing new evidence: Even their superstitions are lamer than ours! “Charlie Charlie,” a game/internet urban legend of sudden and inexplicable popularity, surged to the top of the global social media charts this weekend after kicking around on the Spanish-language internet for much of eternity.

Here’s a fun thing the kids are doing these days with school supplies: using pencils to call upon an alleged “Mexican demon” with the “Charlie Charlie Challenge,” the latest Internet fad. The most popular games – often played on Halloween – include holding séances and playing on a Ouija board to summon up the spirit world, playing hide-and-seek in the pitch black dark, ‘Bloody Mary’ (staring into a mirror, alone in the dark and saying “Bloody Mary” three times to summon up a ghoulish woman), and ‘Candy Man’ (again staring into a mirror and saying “Candy Man” five times to summon up the ghost of a black slave covered in blood and where thousands of bees emerge from his mouth). The challenge is nothing new, having existed for many years and with some suggesting – without evidence – that it comes from an old Mexican tradition. It’s become so popular that the hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge has been tweeted more than 1.8 million times — and the topic has recently spiked in search on Google. The latest game that is doing the rounds is the ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’ (also known as ‘Charlie Pencil’ and ‘The Pencil Game’) and viewed by some as a rudimentary Ouija board.

People — mostly teens — have been sharing clips of their attempts to summon Charlie the demon by asking “Charlie, Charlie are you here?” and waiting to see if their pencil moves toward the words “yes” or “no” scrawled on the paper. Videos show pencils around the world allegedly moving of their own accord, but is there something less sinister and more simple, even scientific, to this internet craze? Know Your Meme notes that a YouTube video titled “Jugando Charly Charlie,” which involves a slightly different pencil-related game, showed up in June 2014. Traditionally, this version with the crossed pencils was called the “Juego de la Lapicera” – a term that still turns up lots of creepy stuff on Google – and “Charlie Charlie” was a distinct game, played with colored pencils. Charlie may have crossed over into mainstream American culture after a Dominican TV station reported on a “Satanic” game played at local schools a few months ago.

In either case, both have always had demonic or supernatural connotations; one site calls Lapicera “the poor man’s Ouija board.” It’s always hard to say exactly why these things trend, but the latest bubble seems to have begun in late April in the Dominican province of Hato Mayor, when a local TV news station broadcast a very alarmist (and unintentionally funny) report about the “Satanic” game overtaking local schools. The Independent credits the supernatural-seeming occurrence to “gravity, and the awkward positioning of some pencils.” So, no, it’s not some demon. For instance, according to one news report, the sales of Ouija boards increased by 300% in December 2014 and are marketed for children and adolescents as they are sold in places like Toys R Us. The obvious questions to ask is why our children like to play these scary games in the first place, and is there is any harm that children can experience from playing such games?

Although there has been no academic research on the playing of supernatural games there has been a little research on why we like watching scary supernatural films. Psychological research has shown that when it comes to the supernatural the three main reasons we watch supernatural horror films are for tension (generated by the suspense, mystery, terror, etc.), relevance (that may relate to personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fear of death, etc.), and (somewhat paradoxically given the second reason) unrealism (i.e., being so far removed from our day-to-day existence). The reasons why school-aged children may want to watch or engage in supernatural practices are likely to be far more mundane such as teenage bravado to try and impress others around them or as a ‘rites of passage’ activity (i.e., engaging in an activity that is normally done by adults and makes the child feel more grown-up). I mean, you should definitely care if you’re seeking supernatural answers to your life questions. (Excepting questions about love, death and money, which – per certain versions of the legend – Charlie will not answer.) Even if that doesn’t exactly describe you, though, Charlie makes a killer case study in virality and how things move in and out of languages and cultures online.

You’ll notice, for instance, a lot of players and reporters talking about the game as if it were new, when it’s actually – and more interestingly, I think – an old game that has just recently crossed the language divide. Another psychoanalytic theory – although arguably dating back to Aristotle – is the notion of catharsis (i.e., that we watch and engage in frightening activities as a way of purging negative emotions and/or as a way to relieve pent-up frustrations). Write off their little games as silly, sure – but we never trended “Bloody Mary” or “Ouija board.” – Washington Post Has a comment offended you? In an open letter to students he said: “There is a dangerous game going around on social media which openly encourages impressionable young people to summon demons. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

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