Hoaxes & Rumors

The Real Mystery Force Behind the Charlie Charlie Challenge? Gravity.

The Real Mystery Force Behind the Charlie Charlie Challenge? Gravity.

A “scary” game referred to as the Charlie Charlie Challenge took social media by storm in May 2015.

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Charlie Charlie Challenge

Popularlized in part by the hashtag #charliecharliechallenge on Twitter, this game involves the balancing of two pencils in the form of a plus. The words “Yes” and “No” are written in the four squares formed by the pencils, and the players then ask “Charlie Charlie are you there?” (some sources state it is “Charlie Charlie, can we play?”) in Ouija Board-style. The players then wait to see if the pencils move toward the yes or no answers.

Social media has lit up with users posting videos of themselves taking part in the challenge – some apparently taking the challenge seriously, while others poke fun at it.

Mexican Demon

Although many readers refer to “Charlie” as a demon which originated in Mexico, the BBC reported that no such legend exists. Maria Elena Navez of BBC Mundo pointed out that “Mexican demons are usually American inventions.”

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It isn’t clear why the Charlie Charlie Challenge has been attributed to Mexico. Some suggest that it could be a way to make the game sound more mysterious, evoking images of Aztec or Mayan civilizations. It could also be because a year-old video in Spanish called “Playing Charlie Charlie” also involves a similar pencil trick.

Fark points out that a pencil game to summon a ghost named Charlie can be traced back to 2008.

Why it suddenly began trending online at this time is unclear.


The trick to the Charlie Charlie Challenge may not be a demon from Mexico, but it is from a mysterious force: gravity. Two pencils placed in the manner required will likely eventually move due to their shapes and their positioning. As the Independent notes, “even the slightest movement from a breath or slightly tilted surface will push it around.” In other words, pencils placed in such an unnatural position will almost certainly move.

It is this same principle that psychic James Hydrick used before being exposed as a fraud.

Placing pencils in this position – even without the words yes and no, and without summoning Charlie – will still move around.

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