The Charlie Charlie Challenge

The Charlie Charlie Challenge

All across social networks something is gaining rapid exposure. People are uploading videos sharing their experiences. Move over Ouija Board, there is a new game in town, one with a very mysterious background that is not fully explainable.

The game is the Charlie Charlie Challenge and your house may have already sent out an invitation for demons to move in. Over the last few weeks, social networks started buzzing with #CharlieCharlieChallenge.

It was like a wild fire that was out of control. Before you could blink there were hundreds, if not thousands, of videos uploaded to YouTube of people playing this game. The game is very basic and only requires two pencils and a piece of paper to play.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge is similar to the Ouija Board as the person asks questions and waits for a response. Generally, the questions are designed for yes and no; unlike the Ouija board. The person playing the game draws a horizontal line across the paper and lays a pencil parallel to the line.

Then another pencil is placed perpendicular to the first pencil and is balanced on top of it. The person asks a yes or no question and the pencil will swing left or right as it answers the questions but are you really summoning a demon?

We began by looking into the history of this game, however there was only one problem…there was not much of a history. Unlike most ghostly encounters; The Charlie Charlie Challenge seems to have originated from various paranormal games and is based on mashed up stories.

This is a very long drawn out look into uncovering the origin of the popular social media sensation that tries to pin point exactly where the Charlie Charlie Challenge came from. First we explored Mexico to see if we could dig up any haunted history that could shed light on this game.

Maria Elena Navez (BBC Mundo) reported “There's no demon called 'Charlie' in Mexico." This was a bit odd since the game appears to have a Mexican background. On June 6th, 2014 a video was posted on YouTube that was titled “Jugando Charly Charlie” that explained a game where two people form a rectangle with pencils and asks a spirit to interact with them.

This is quite different than the Charlie Charlie Challenge. However it was rather interesting that the names were very close. Maria explained that "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)."

This helps validate the possibility of linking the game with the Mexican history. Though this appears to raise more questions than answers. On July 1st, 2008 a story titled “The Pencil Demon” appeared on the internet.

This story was about two people who played “Jugando Charly Charlie” and made contact with a ghost named Charlie who died from child abuse. At first, their encounter was innocent, however it started to become very vigilant.

They experienced poltergeist activity and decided to stop fooling around with whatever it was they had contacted. The claims from this story are the same claims that people mention after playing the Charlie Charlie Challenge.

What still does not seem clear is how the game was developed since “Jugando Charly Charlie” is a completely different game than the new version everyone is talking about. Unfortunately there is very little information that pin points where the idea stemmed from to play the Challenge.

Social Media Research About the Charlie Charlie Challenge

Since the game seemed to be a hit on YouTube, I decided to track down the original location of the video. It appeared that a channel, that was created on May 25th 2015 titled “Charlie Charlie Challenge,” had uploaded a video with the oldest time stamp titled “Charlie Charlie Challenge Playing Pencil Game Best Compilation (RAW VIDEO)”.

The video appears to be a compilation of YouTube videos of other people playing the game. However, I am really unsure where they came from. Since YouTube was not very helpful I turned to twitter to track down when the original video post had appeared.

Again, like YouTube, it appeared that May 25th 2015 was the date when tweets appeared showing people playing the Charlie Charlie Challenge. Something did not seem to add up. There are all these posts of a new type of games that really does not have an origin.

With no real answers searching social networks I turned to critic columns…and it appeared everyone had something to say. Stories of viral social marketing to hell being brought to earth had begun to appear.

Both of which were pretty enjoyable to read but did it help validate anything?

The Viral Marketing Theory

Like anything that goes viral; people begin to question if there is some kind of marketing campaign behind the source.

This theory is the most solid evidence of the Charlie Charlie Challenge on the internet. A promotional trailer of a movie called “The Gallows” showed people asking if Charlie was there. Queue eerie music with people shown lying on the ground shaking.

It was a very short and demented trailer. According to sources a company called “Uproxx” had said that “the challenge was part of a viral marketing campaign”. This definitely appears to be the origins of the Charlie Charlie Challenge.

The film is set to release on July 10th 2015 and is doing a great job of promoting it. The only question that remained was how the pencils were moving on their own and was the Charlie Charlie Challenge safe?

Charlie Charlie Challenge Science

When we cannot seem to find answers, science seems to always be there to help us out. I looked into what science has to say about the force that was swinging the pencils.

To simplify the answer in one word it would be Gravity. Regardless how you position the pencils, gravity will win. It may seem freaky to see the pencils move on their own when no one is touching them however the pencils are placed in such a position that the slightest motion could move them.

Just by simply exhaling this could generate enough force to push the pencil. It appears that science helped us understand what might be the cause of the motion of the pencils, it still did not answer if the game is safe to play.

Does the Charlie Charlie Challenge Summon Demons?

If you do a quick search on the Internet it would appear that people seem to be experiencing ghostly encounters after playing this game. Reports of hearing laughter to scratches on the wall; people from across the world seem to be all saying the same thing, It is hard to fully know if they are experiencing activity or are buying into the hype of the Charlie Charlie Challenge.  

Jose Antonio Fortea (A Vatican-approved exorcist), has come out openly saying that the Charlie Charlie Challenge posses a real threat to people who open themselves up and interact with spirits from beyond the grave.

The game summons a spirit by the name of Charlie to come out and play. He said that “will result in other spirits beginning to enter into even more frequent communication." This could impact every household who decides to confront Charlie by opening up a channel with the afterlife.

The problem with opening yourself up to demonic activity is that it opens a window of possibilities which is not easily closed

Jose stated as a warning to anyone who has had played or is thinking about playing this game.

In conclusion, I feel that this is more of a gimmick that gives the paranormal world a bad name. People who are experiencing a legitimite  haunting are going to have a difficult time finding help with their ghostly encounter.

The spirit world is real and can pose great dangers if dark spirits attach themselves to you or reside in your home.

While this game may be merely a viral marketing campaign, it does encourage ghostly channels to open up in your home and people should be aware that by playing the Charlie Charlie Challenge could result in undesired activity that may end up changing your life forever.

Joe Tokish of

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