Is it a ‘demonic’ game?

2015-09-06 08:33
An illustration of the Charlie Charlie game that is being played across the world.

An illustration of the Charlie Charlie game that is being played across the world. (Ian Carbutt)

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“CHARLIE, Charlie, are you there?”

This question is being posed to pencils and pieces of paper as curious teenagers delve into the world of what some fear is the occult.

Sometimes they run screaming from the room when their questions are answered by a “demonic entity”.

With the recent social media hype over the “demonic” game called Charlie Charlie

or the Charlie Charlie Challenge, it appears pupils in Pietermaritzburg schools have latched onto the frenzy, playing the game in classrooms and corridors.

Experts from various sectors have weighed in on the debate around the game, with some calling it merely an extension of basic science and others saying they are worried about the supernatural element behind the game.

The game, which comprises of two pencils and a piece of paper with the words “Yes” and “No” written on them, appears to be a new twist on the older Glassy Glassy game and is said to summon a demon known in Mexican folklore as “Carlitos”, who moves the pencils to answer questions posed to him.

The game reached peak popularity this year with thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube and other social media sites and local school-goers picking up on the international phenomenon.

Weekend Witness spoke to pupils from both private and government schools throughout Pietermaritzburg who said they have either played or have seen the game being played in their schools.

“I did it with my friends after we saw the video online. We laughed it off but we were curious to try it. When the pencil moved after we asked Charlie if he was in the room, we all got up and ran,” one pupil said.

A source from Woodlands Secondary School who asked not to be named said there had been rumours of the game being played at the school, but they were unsure of the reach the game had.

“As soon as we heard pupils might be playing the game, we immediately called a school assembly and banned the game from being played in the school,” the source said.

“We had three parents call us who said their children were too scared to come to school because of the game so we have called our parish to come in and pray with the children.”

Similar reports from schools across the country have surfaced in the media since last month, with some reports saying pupils had become sick or have stayed away from school in fear after playing the game.

•The Scientist

Doctor in computation quantum physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Daniel Uken said the pencils move because of basic scientific principles.

“The fact is that when one pencil is placed on another, it results in an unstable system where the slightest change in the environment like breathing heavily, movement or the slightest draft of wind can destabilise the pencils and cause them to move,” Uken said.

•The Religious Leaders

General secretary at the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa Reverend Moss Ntlha said he believes games like Charlie Charlie expose the youth to spiritual forces.

“We live in a rational society that shuns anything that may seem transcendent or supernatural and this game is a typical example of how demonic entities operate,” Ntlha said.

“The pattern in this game is too similar to occult practices for it to be ignored. It is important for people to be alert and we urge everybody not to take part in this game.”

Father Martin Badenhorst of the Dominican Order from Durban had different views, saying the game was used as a manipulative tool against other pupils rather than to open doors to the spiritual world.

He said the game would not summon any demons and anything unexplained surrounding the game was either a trick of the mind or peers trying to frighten each other.

•The Social Media Expert

Social Media expert and lecturer at the media and journalism department at UKZN Sandra Pitcher said games like Charlie Charlie have existed in one form or another for decades, but the impact of social media has just made it more visible in the public domain.

“The Internet and social media operate as extensions of our sociability so we should treat them as an added area that we need to teach our children about.”

•The Care-giver

Mothers Who Care National co-ordinator Rashieda Naidoo thought the game to be a “dangerous” doorway to dark spirits that could be “difficult to close if God was not in your life”.

“It has been said that if you do not say ‘goodbye’ properly in the game, that the person playing the game will be plagued with demonic activity such as the moving of furniture, and will open spiritual doors that can be difficult to close,” Naidoo said.

“Children do need to be educated on the dangers of the game and the dangers it poses. It frightens people, and for some children this would be enough reason to stay away, but for others it is the drawcard.”

Naidoo said that even parents who think the game is fake should still discourage their children from playing it as it is an act of rebellion and could lead to problems with authority at a later stage.

•The Government

KZN Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said yesterday that if the game had any negative effects, the department “condemns it in the strongest possible terms”.

“Schools need to identify where it takes place and warn and advise learners against its dangers,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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