Sunday, May 31, 2015

Calling up spirits

Mexican children treated for nervous breakdowns is hard to believe but has been reported in Oaxaca. A priest there is also warning about calling up spirits or demons. A silly little game that has gone viral in social media and kids play in school. The poor man's Ouija board game has a long history and why it's suddenly popular is anyone's guess.

How to play ....
Step 1: Draw an X on a piece of paper.
Step 2: Label two of the resulting quadrants "no," and the other two "yes."
Step 3: Place two overlapping pencils on each axis of your grid, crossing them in the middle.
Step 4: Say "Charlie, Charlie, are you there?" and ask a question. 
Step 5: Scream at the answer probably.

Also called Charly, Charly and Lapicera

Some more sensible versions of the game


Why should I care? (Should I even care?!)

I mean, you should definitely care if you're seeking supernatural answers to your life questions. (Excepting questions about love, death and money, which - per certain versions of the legend - Charlie will not answer.)

Even if that doesn't exactly describe you, though, Charlie makes a killer case study in virality and how things move in and out of languages and cultures online. You'll notice, for instance, a lot of players and reporters talking about the game as if it were new, when it's actually - and more interestingly, I think - an old game that has just recently crossed the language divide.

This is also, pretty notably, yet another example of the power of the teenage Internet. Write off their little games as silly, sure - but we never trended Bloody Mary or Ouija board.

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