Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Unbearable Lightness of Charlie Charlie

Having been inundated with news stories the last couple of days, I turned to my teenage daughter and asked, "Do you know what Charlie Charlie is?"

"Of course."  I detected the slightest eye roll.

"Have you tried it?"

At this point, she gave me one of those loaded looks that speaks so eloquently without any words at all. "As if!" it seemed to say, "Why would I waste my time on something like that? Why do you ask such stupid questions?" 

Aloud, she simply said, "It's just gravity."

Charlie Charlie is described by The Washington Post as "a game/Internet urban legend of sudden and inexplicable popularity." The story continues that Charlie Charlie traces its routes back to Spain and Latin America; that it's the merger of two older games: “Juego de la Lapicera” and "Charly Charly;" and that its current surge may be traced back to a teenager in Georgia who created the first hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge (what an impressive accomplishment for said young woman's college résumé, n'est-ce pas?). 

The story also pointed out the activity's overall lameness.

To participate in Charlie Charlie, you draw a cross on a piece of paper. Write "Yes" in two of the boxes created by the cross, "No" in the other two. Then you stack pencils on the two lines of the cross. In your most mysterious, seance voice, you chant "Charlie Charlie, are you there?" or the more Shining-inspired "Charlie Charlie, come out to play." You ask an important question (like "Does so-and-so really like me?") and if the pencil moves ... well ... 


Screaming appears to be an important part of the Charlie Charlie experience.

Yep, lame would be a wholly viable assessment. 

The Catholic Church is not quite so dismissive though. A priest and exorcist (approved by the Vatican, no less) gravely warns that "Some spirits who are at the root of that practice will harass some of those who play the game." The spirit "will stay around for a while," although players "won't be possessed," technically. Nevertheless, the game "will result in other spirits beginning to enter into even more frequent communication. And so then the person really can suffer much worse consequences from the demons." 


Regardless of religious beliefs, Charlie Charlie has officially "trended" — with nearly 2 million tweets and recent coverage by most major news media. 

To me, however, it's simply a digital age throwback to every sleepover party I went to in junior high and high school. We didn't know from Charlie Charlie, per se. But, we levitated each other ("stiff as a board, light as a feather"), evoked "Bloody Mary" in the mirror and played with Ouija boards. In case you're wondering, all of the above worked. 


What is the mystical connection between living teenagers and the dead (or, should I say, undead)? The common thinking amongst paranormal professionals is that most poltergeist activity centers around a teen or preteen girl. Are things that go bump in the night attracted to all the histrionics and hormonal upheaval? Do changing bodies somehow channel vaporous beings?

Or are teenagers just the least disruptive way for ghosts and ghouls to come back to Earth ...

After all, what could possibly be scarier than a teenager?

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my book  Lovin' the Alien at

No comments:

Post a Comment