By Brittany Higdon

A new trend has been going around on Twitter, Vine, and other Social Media sites called the “#CharlieCharlieChallenge”, the point of which is to “summon a Mexican demon” for the purpose of divination.

According to Buzzfeed:

In a new trend going viral on Twitter, teenagers are doing the “Charlie Charlie Challenge” in which they pretend to summon a “demon” to ask it for life advice.

For the challenge, people are making a cross with one pencil balanced on top of another, with “yes” and “no” written in the four quarters.

Next, they ask the question: “Charlie, Charlie, are you here?” If the top pencil moves and lands on yes, that means the “demon” is in your house.

This revitalized “poor man’s Ouija board” has popped up on every outlet of social media.

Why this?  Why now?  With an increasing atheistic attitude among America’s youth (one study estimated 2/3 of teenagers identify as atheists), why would they turn to something that is supposedly so unworldly?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2116,

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future.  Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”

It is no secret that pretty much every Christian practice condemns affiliation with the occult.  Participants in the “Charlie Charlie Challenge” have reported seeing “evil-looking creatures with red eyes,” and “ghostly characters,” which one would likely identify as explicit signs of evil (or figments of one’s imagination) from a Christian perspective.  But, atheist teenagers likely would be indifferent to the teaching of their parents’ church.  I believe, what is most salient in this issue is the fact that teenagers all over the globe are willing to turn to whatever means possible in order to find meaning in life.  If they reject God, they will find something else to put their faith in.

As an educator of young teenagers, my mind is constantly boggled with my students’ idea of reality… And these are kids who do in fact claim religiosity!  The modern teen’s, religious or not, fabricated world consists of social media, conversations over Facebook chat, and friendships in the electronic form.  Their world is often void of interpersonal or voice-on-voice conversations.  Teenagers often have difficulty waiting for another to finish speaking before they interject their two cents.  It is not unusual to see teenagers sitting with one another whilst texting to the very people who are sitting next to them.  Whether they are aware of it or not, teenagers crave intimacy, which cannot be replicated through technology.  Parents who do not encourage their teenagers to learn and maintain interpersonal social skills often face the reality of socially inept teens who believe the world to be void of intimacy, let alone an intimate, all-knowing and all-loving God.  I believe parents and educators should fight to instill interpersonal skills in their children and students, thus modeling what true intimacy looks like.  Teenagers who have not experienced intimate friendships, relationships with parents are stunted in their idea of what relationships are.  Those who have not heard others’ experience of Christ working in their lives, or have simply been presented the Faith as a set of rules, have no reason to believe that there we serve an intimate God, present here and now, active, aware, and invested.

I attended an exhibit at the New York Encounter, which is an annual, national cultural gathering, this past winter entitled “I am Exceptional: The Millennial Experience: The Search for Identity in the Next Greatest Generation.” This exhibit, formulated by dozens of millennials (those born between 1980 through 1995) throughout the country, explored many facets of life as a millennial, including a “selfie booth,” an opportunity to write Facebook-like comments, as well as discussing the issues that face their generation, such as the “quarter-life crisis.”  What this exhibit concluded is that every generation is exploring the same question, which is, their search for identity in the world and the many answers to life’s questions.  Today’s teens are no different.  Many of them genuinely believe that the technological and tangible worlds are no different from one another.  Their constant investment in social media, which certainly can have its merits, can, as we have seen with the “Charlie Charlie” example, be dangerous as well.

A few weeks ago, we heard in Mass a passage from John’s gospel, which is one of my personal favorites: “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.”  Today’s teenagers face myriad of challenges through modern culture, particularly in the world of social media, both from a lack of authentic, interpersonal relationships, as well as this latest invitation to dabble with the occult.  Would the presentation of authentic intimacy and interpersonal skills alleviate this seemingly ongoing problem of teenagers’ constant search for answers?  I most certainly hope.


 

Brittany-HigdonBrittany Higdon (@stellabritt) is a native of Ohio and has been residing in the Washington, DC area for the past six years.  She holds a B.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville and an M.Ed from the University of Virginia. She is a Reading Specialist and is passionate about Catholic education. When she is not teaching or writing, she is exploring the Smithsonian Museums, traveling, and playing with her ferocious Dachshund/Yorkie cross named Cannoli.

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Comments

4 COMMENTS

  1. Brittany Higdon, I read your article and I could not find any direct reference to a mexican demon in it. Was the demon bilingual? because I heard Charlie, Charlie are you there? not Carlos, Carlos estas ahi? Does hell have an address in Mexico or in Ohio on in Washington, DC ? Could you please elaborate, as to how you came about to the conclusion of the nationality of the demon? was he speaking in tongues? are you sure that it was not french-canadian? or anglo-saxon? but absolutely positive that it was mexican? I am assuming that since you are a graduate educator, you probably made some research into this and as a fellow Catholic, I need to know, so I can pray to St. Michael in spanish or in english or in french. Thanks for you attention to this matter. gracias, merci.

    • Francisco, don’t be a jerk. Britt was just reporting on a weird trend the kids are into these days. I work as a school counselor and just yesterday a 4th grader told me that a “Mexican demon” sometimes comes and answers questions by moving the pencils if you summon it by calling “Charlie, Charlie, are you here?” Here is a link to a CNN article with more information on the origins:
      http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/26/living/charlie-charlie-challenge-feat/

      PS: Great article, Britt! I stumbled upon it because I was curious about this “game” my clients are playing and recognized your name. 🙂 – CK

  2. I, too, was concerned when my HS freshman niece (a non-practicing Anglican) posted a Charlie Charlie video to her FB timeline. It was hilarious, a spoof of the fad. After 2 days and 4 or 5 videos, each one more humorous than the other, she got bored with the whole thing. Although there may be some who might take this challenge seriously, I’ve just seen that there are other students who are smart enough to recognize the stupidity of the entire affair.

  3. I’ve been trying to find the motivation to get my blog going again too… lol… it’s hard when you do;2&8#17nt feel like many are reading it. I like yours a lot though, keep it up!!

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