When the grownups are writing about #CharlieCharlieChallenge, you know it's gone too mainstream. (Anna Claire Vollers / avollers@AL.com)
If - like me - you're old enough to remember playing "Bloody Mary" in the bathroom mirror at slumber parties, you're probably old enough to be wondering who Charlie is.
He's the demon du jour.
The Charlie Charlie Challenge has gone viral (check out #CharlieCharlieChallenge on Twitter) as teens are playing - and posting/tweeting/Instagramming - a spooky game meant to summon Charlie, a "Mexican demon."
To play, get a piece of paper and two pencils. Draw a cross on the paper and write "yes" or "no" in each quadrant. Then lay one pencil on top of the other over each axis of the grid.
Ask "Charlie, Charlie, are you here?"You can ask him a specific question if you want.
The hope (?) is that the top pencil will move. If it lands on "yes," then Charlie is in your house - congrats! - and you can ask him questions.
I'd like to stop here and say this: "Light as a feather, stiff as a board" never had a hashtag, but it was NO LESS REAL than the Charlie Charlie Challenge. It totally worked on my friend Sarah at a slumber party one time.
If we'd had smartphones back then, I'd have proof.
But I digress. Let's get back to the news.
According to the Washington Post, more people were Googling "Charlie Charlie" this weekend than almost any other news event.
I talked to a real, live teenager to see whether this is as big a deal as everybody says it is.
I asked Jayda Cox, a 16-year-old from Bay Minette, if this is actually big deal. Like, if I were to ask 100 people at her school about the Charlie Charlie Challenge, how many would know what I was talking about?
Jayda said she's never tried it herself, but she's seen it all over Twitter and watched a lot of online videos.
I had a feeling I knew the answer to this one, but I asked if social media is a big reason why someone would play Charlie Charlie.
"Yes. You wouldn't want (the pencil) to actually move and not catch it," she explained. "(Social media) makes a lot of people want to do it."
Charlie Charlie originated as a schoolyard game in the Spanish-speaking world, according to the Washington Post. It may have crossed over into mainstream American culture after a Dominican TV station reported on a "Satanic" game played at local schools a few months ago.
And who exactly is Charlie? The Internet hasn't reached consensus on this point, but he might be a child who committed suicide. Or a child who died in a car accident. Or a pagan Mexican devil.
Possibly he hangs out with Bloody Mary when he's not divulging who has a crush on you.
Have you or your kids or friends tried this game? If you're too old for Charlie Charlie, what was the preferred supernatural game when you were younger? Because I bet it totally worked.
I asked Jayda if most teenagers today had ever heard of Bloody Mary or "Light as a feather, stiff as a board."
She kindly laughed. (Answer: not really.) "I think Charlie Charlie kind of took over."
I'd still argue that Bloody Mary is way more scary.