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Here’s Why People Are Freaking Out Over the Charlie Charlie Challenge

2 minute read

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 game is simple: draw a grid on a piece of paper with “yes” and “no” in the boxes, balance one pencil on top of another in the shape of a cross, and ask something along the lines of “Charlie, Charlie are you here?” or “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” Then watch as the pencil moves and proceed to scream, etc. For viral fun, film yourself doing this and share the result.

As is typical of memes, Charlie Charlie’s origins are murky. Mic traced the history of the game’s incarnations around the Internet back to 2008. 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. According to the BBC, Twitter user @_kluh was an early adopter of the hashtag.

So why do the pencils move? The Independent credits the supernatural-seeming occurrence to “gravity, and the awkward positioning of some pencils.” So, no, it’s not some demon.

Here are some examples:

And here’s a Paula Deen edition:

And the Beyoncé edition:

And the Zayn edition:

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