Before you Play the Charlie Charlie Challenge Read This

Before you Play the Charlie Charlie Challenge Read This

First discovered in 2008, Charlie Charlie now the Popular online trend challenge which has taken over the internet.

“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.

Charlie Charlie (also spelled Charly Charly) has a long history as a schoolyard game in the Spanish-speaking world.

Charlie Charlie challenge is a modern incarnation of the Spanish paper-and-pencil game called Juego de la Lapicera (Pencil Game). Like a Magic 8-Ball, the game is played by teenagers using held or balanced pencils to produce answers to questions they ask.

Before you Play the Charlie Charlie Challenge Read This
Before you Play the Charlie Charlie Challenge Read This

Teenage girls have played Juego de la Lapicera for generations in Spain and Hispanic America, asking which boys in their class like them.

The game was popularized in the English-speaking world in 2015, partly through the hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge.

 

Who is Charlie Charlie, anyway?

Per various corners of the Spanish-speaking Internet: a child who committed suicide, the victim of a fatal car accident, or a pagan Mexican deity who now convenes with the Christian devil. The Mexican deity bit, at least, is demonstrably untrue.

Is Charlie Charlie Dangerous

Given that no one’s setting themselves on fire, inhaling a caustic substance or deforming their lips, Charlie Charlie looks … pretty harmless.

That said, according to popular legend, Charlie haunts players who fail to say goodbye before they close out of the game. And there are, predictably, a whole lot of people who don’t love the kids-summoning-demons thing.

Why should I care? (Should I even care?!)

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.

This is also, pretty notably, yet another example of the power of the teenage Internet. Write off their little games as silly, sure — but we never trended “Bloody Mary” or “Ouija board.”

How to play Charlie Charlie?

You balance one pencil across the other on a piece of paper before chanting “Charlie, Charlie can we play?”

If Charlie – a supposed ancient evil spirit – arrives then the top pencil spins on the other.

You then ask a question and the pencil will usually move into a section of the paper, which is divided into yes or no, to give an answer.

The original Central American version involves six pencils placed into the shape of a rectangle with the two ends either rolling away – meaning Charlie is not there – or inward, meaning Charlie is there.

When the players want to finish they must chant: “Charlie, Charlie can we stop?” and then drop a pencil on the floor to break contact.

Simple! You could, if you wanted, even do it at your desk.

Step 1: Open your Vine and get the camera rolling. (If you don’t have Vine, you ARE too old for this.)
Step 2: Draw an X on a piece of paper.
Step 3: Label two of the resulting quadrants “no,” and the other two “yes.”
Step 4: Place two overlapping pencils on each axis of your grid, crossing them in the middle.
Step 5: Say “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” and ask a question. (i.e., “is one of my friends going to die soon,” “will I go to prom next May.” )
Step 6: Scream, probably.

WATCH VIDEO:

 

Charlie Charlie Game Examples

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