Ouija Board, Blood Mary, and now... the Charlie Charlie Challenge? 'Fraid so. Looks like the kiddos have discovered yet another urban legend-ish way to freak themselves out.
See, there's a chilling craze making its way across the web, and while there might be a perfectly legitimate scientific explanation for what's happening in these videos, it's still pretty eerie to watch.
It's called the Charlie Charlie Challenge (or Charlie Charlie: The Pencil Game), and it involves kids placing one pencil across the middle of another above a piece of paper with "Yes" and "No" squares. Then, they summon the spirit of a Mexican demon -- with the words "Charlie, Charlie, are you here?" -- to see what this ghost guy thinks of the question at hand, like so:
Rumor has it, the #CharlieCharlieChallenge Twitter trend has ancient traditional origins, and there are legit rules of conduct for those participating in the ghouly game. For example, players must chant "Charlie, Charlie can we stop" and drop all the pencils when done so that the demon portal to his or her own home hasn't been left wide open forever -- shudder!
Oh, and there's also a six pencil variation that involves recruiting a partner.
"Some kids have talked about strange things happening after playing this game, like seeing shadows or hearing a child’s laughter," reports Pencils.com. "Others didn't experience anything at all."
Back when Ouija boards were still a giant question mark of authenticity, Smithsonian Magazine did an in-depth study about the game's origins and investigated the whys and hows of its scare tactics. And that "giant question mark" explanation seems to pretty much hit the nail on the head with this little Charlie Challenge business, too.
"It can generate a very strong impression that the movement is being caused by some outside agency, but it's not," Professor Chris French explained to Smithsonian, adding that there's also the significant matter of "the whole social context" coming into play.
"It’s usually a group of people, and everyone has a slight influence ... Once the idea has been implanted there, there’s almost a readiness to happen."
Chances are, there is no ancient Mexican demon popping into people's pencils to play Magic 8 Ball for their Vine videos. But still, it's all harmless fun, right?
Keep on being weird, internet -- it's what you do best.