Charlie, Charlie

Background: Charlie Charlie is a children’s game similar to a ouija board in which a group of kids get together and ask a spirit, Charlie, to answer their yes or no questions. My informant S is a 19 year old girl who played the game when she was in middle school. We were talking about our childhoods and trying to find some similarities between the games we played.

S: So the game is simple, you have a piece of paper with “yes” and “no” written on opposite corners of the paper, so like, yes across from yes and no across from no y’know, and you cross two pencils in the middle so neither are pointing at the corners, one on top of the other so it kind of balances on top of the bottom one. And then everybody asks “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” and then the pencil on the top moves and points and everyone loses their minds. Charlie is supposed to be a demon or something.

Me: I think I’ve seen something like that. It was kind of an internet thing wasn’t it?

S: Yeah it was during Vine in like, 2013. I found out about it because I saw videos on youtube and then everyone in school was trying it. It was like everywhere for a while.

Me: It’s crazy how I don’t even remember it. I wonder if kids still play it. So, do you think it was real?

S: No of course not, someone would always like, blow on it so it would move. But if one gullible kid lost their shit, it was a good time. 

My thoughts: The prevalence of this game is interesting because it was so widely spread online, and it reached kids from all over the country and possibly the world who played it for themselves. It was such a short lived cycle because it took place in the early 2010’s when short videos, such as Vines, were growing in popularity, and people began to consume more pieces of smaller media. Things would become rapidly popular and then become rapidly replaced, a trend cycle which has continued into the 2020’s with apps like TikTok.