Teenagers get into the spirit of 'Charlie Charlie Challenge'

It is not clear how the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' took the Internet world by storm, but a YouTube video on June 6, 2014, shows two teens playing the game. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB
It is not clear how the 'Charlie Charlie Challenge' took the Internet world by storm, but a YouTube video on June 6, 2014, shows two teens playing the game. -- PHOTO: YOUTUBE SCREENGRAB

Charlie, apparently a demonic Mexican spirit, has been haunting the Internet world of late. Teens have been taking the "Charlie Charlie Challenge", which involves "connecting" with the dead spirit.

Videos on Twitter show the participants placing two pencils balanced on each other, in the shape of a cross on top of a piece of paper with the words "yes" and "no". They can be heard saying "Charlie Charlie, are you here?"

The game involves asking yes or no questions, to which the pencil will swing accordingly. In some of the videos, the pencil indeed swings to yes, making it look like the players have connected with some form of supernatural force.

There are also videos which mock the game, where someone blows the pencil towards one side, or deliberately turns the pencil.

The hashtag #charliecharliechallenge was trending as the third on the Twitter list on Wednesday. It is not clear how the challenge took the Internet world by storm, but a YouTube video on June 6, 2014, shows two teens playing the game. Their version is slightly different, but involves pencils as well.

In their version, they held three pencils each, and created a rectangle. To begin the game, they chanted: "Charlie, Charlie, can we play?"

In an explanation of the version they played on Reddit, a user explained that the pencil going inward or up denotes a "yes", and an outward or down movement means "no". If one side goes one way and the other side goes a different way, it means "maybe" or the question cannot be answered at this time. To end the game, both players must chant: "Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?" They must drop the pencils to the ground to break contact with Charlie.

While the story out there is that Charlie is a Mexican spirit, BBC reported that there is no demon called "Charlie" in Mexico, and that even if there was, he would be called "Carlitos", the Spanish version of Charlie.

While several tweets encouraged people to be more religious instead of trying to summon spirits, the most common and perplexing question seemed to be: "Why do you have pencils to play this game, but not for class?"

jalmsab@sph.com.sg