Exorcist Slams Teens For Invoking Mexican Demon With #CharlieCharlieChallenge; Turns Out It Was An Ad Campaign For A Horror Film


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Remember those carefree school days when, if you wanted to know the answer to a basic yes/no question, you’d simply get out a piece of paper, some pencils, and then casually summon a Mexican demon named Charlie to cross the boundary between life and death?

If not, then I guess you weren’t a teenager in the last week. It would seem that an eraser with ‘yes’ written on one side and ‘no’ on the other doesn’t cut it anymore, with The Youth Of Today instead turning to the supernatural to find out the answers to their most pressing questions. As a result, over the past week, Twitter has been flooded with over two million tweets and videos all about the #CharlieCharlieChallenge.

This trend has sparked outrage in the church, with a Vatican-approved Exorcist warning of the potential dangers. But as with all viral trends promising supernatural interference, all is not as it seems.

What even is ‘Charlie Charlie’ Anyway?

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge is simple. Draw a cross, and write “yes” in two of the quadrants and “no” in the others. Then, get two pencils, cross them over one another, and then get your question on — remembering to preface it with “Charlie Charlie”.

Teenagers dabbling in the occult for shits and giggles is nothing new. In the grand scheme of a category that includes ‘games’ like Bloody Mary and Stiff As A Feather, Light As A Board, Charlie Charlie seems relatively tame. It should look something like this:

Look, you’re supposed to use pencils but I don’t own any because I don’t make mistakes.

Then, depending on whether ‘Charlie’ is ‘there or not’, the pencil will move, leading to ‘answers’ and terrified laugh-squeals.

Some have been taking sort of seriously:

While others have put their own stamp on the trend:

You have to do it with a friend, because –spoilers– there is no actual demon. The thing moving the pencil is either gravity, teeny tiny movements, or your ‘friend’ blowing discretely on the paper.

Unless you are a Vatican-approved exorcist.

Concerned that people were using stationery to D.I.Y. their very own Hellmouth — Spanish priest José Antonio Fortea told the Catholic News Agency that calling on Charlie to answer your questions “will result in other spirits beginning to enter into even more frequent communication”. He has been backed up by Fr Stephen McCarthy, who says “the problem with opening yourself up to demonic activity is that it opens a window of possibilities which is not easily closed”.

Awkward, as we now know that the only thing Charlie was ever designed to open was your wallet.

Surprise! Everything Is A Marketing Campaign.

Decried by the church, supported by a heap of shaky-cam home-shot footage, and with an exorcist promising that once invoked, Charlie “will stay around for a while”, this whole thing sounds like the beginning of every teen horror movie ever — because it is. For those who figured this out all on your own, pat yourself on the back (or at least rub your back on the stairs as you spider-walk down them): the #CharlieCharlieChallenge was created to promote a horror film called La Horca (The Gallows).

If you didn’t figure it out however, stress not — the marketing team managed to dupe millions of people — including a guy whose job it is to identify real demons.

Horror films have an interesting history when it comes to viral marketing campaigns. Since the Blair Witch Project blurred the line between reality and fiction, in the lead up to film releases, marketers have played upon this fluid divide. Cloverfield was released alongside a website for Slusho, the product implied to have been the cause for the entire film’s events; 100 Bloody Acres released a series of ads for the fertiliser central to the film; in the lead up to World War Z, this ‘Public Service Announcement’ was put online calling for people to prepare for “Crisis Zero”.

Anyways, kudos to the marketing team behind La Horca who managed to pull off this double hoax. In the meantime, let’s not forget the real issue at play here.

Feature image via @_DomoWilson1/@zwarco/Twitter