Instructor: Can you guys think of any legends or ghost stories that you learned at home or from friends?
(There were multiple responses from varying students, however this post focuses on a single student’s response)
Daisy*: “Does the 3 AM challenge count?”
Instructor: “well, that depends. What is the 3 AM challenge?”
Daisy*: “It’s a youtube challenge. You have to stay up all night long, until three in the morning. And then you do normal things and they get weird, like, the lights turn off, or you get chills. Lots of people do it and make a youtube video of it”
Instructor: “Have you done the 3 AM challenge?”
Daisy*: “I did it with my cousin. It was hard to stay awake, but at 3 AM we went to make food, and my cousin went and cracked the eggs and he came back and told me that one of the eggs turned black when he cracked it, and at 3:01 it was back to normal.”
Instructor: “Why do you have to do it at 3 AM?”
Daisy*: “I think it’s because that’s when the devil comes out at night. So he is the one that makes all of the bad things happen.”
This challenge is one of many that have cropped up among young youtube users and on other social media platforms over the past 5-10 years. However, this one is unique because it’s focused on a paranormal occurrence, rather than some sort of physical challenge (ie; the cinnamon challenge). All of the students in the class were seemingly aware of what this was, and many of them had varying accounts of either participating in the challenge or knowing someone who did. A quick youtube search under “3 AM Challenge” yielded an astounding 144,000,000 results, the most popular of which were centered about themes of demonic possession, and paranormal sightings at 3 AM. While the reasoning behind the precise time of the activity remains unclear, it is evident that many believe that it has a demonic of dark influence. There is no evidence that 3 AM has any significance in the bible or any other major religious text, however this seems to be a more recent adaptation of the concept of “the witching hour” which has historically taken place at midnight. What is most interesting is that even though this challenge seems rather frightening, none of the students seemed afraid of it, and most were boasting about how it “Wasn’t that scary”.
* The informant is a minor and was a participant in the JEP Program at USC. Daisy* is an alias to protect the student’s privacy.