In recent days, a game called “the Charlie Challenge” involving the invocation of a Mexican spirit named Charlie has gone viral on social networks, especially among middle and high school students.
Far from an innocent pastime, however, a Spanish exorcist has warned that the game poses serious spiritual risks, including the danger of demonic possession.
The Charlie Challenge has swept the globe, in part because of its simplicity. It involves no game board or complicated pieces, requiring only a couple pencils or pens, paper, and a spirit named “Charlie.” Youtube videos in numerous languages have made the game readily accessible to young people around the globe.
Players draw a grid on a piece of paper that says “yes/no.” They then cross two pencils and attempt to summon a demon named “Charlie.” They ask him yes/no questions, much like the game of “Ouija,” which he answers by making the pencils move, indicating a yes or no.
In Mexico, where the game originated, it has been around for decades, but it only recently became popular on an international level.
The well-known Spanish exorcist Jose Antonio Fortea has warned parents that the Charlie Challenge is not just a harmless game, because it entails the occult practice of “invoking spirits” and because “some of those who play will be tormented by spirits.”
Some have issued even more dramatic warnings, cautioning that the game can cause “severe psychiatric disorders or suicide.”
Father Fortea says that those who play the game “won’t be possessed” necessarily, but that the summoned spirit “may stay around for a while.”
He also warned that the occult practice of invoking demons, even in fun, “Can make others begin to enter into a longer and more frequent communication. And that person can suffer much worse consequences from demons.”
Catholic experts have expressed concern that occult activity and demonic activity have increased in recent years, calling for more exorcisms as well.
Catholic teaching rejects all forms of divination as sinful, including having recourse to demons, conjuring up the dead, “consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums.”
The church also claims that “all practices of magic or sorcery,” even when used with good intentions, “are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion.”
The International Association of Exorcists (AIE) met in Rome last October for their 12th annual conference. According to AIE spokesperson Dr. Valter Cascioli, an increasing number of bishops asked to participate in the conference because of an increase in demonic activity.
“It’s becoming a pastoral emergency,” Cascioli said. “At the moment the number of disturbances of extraordinary demonic activity is on the rise.”
According to Cascioli, the rise in demonic activity can be attributed to a decreasing faith among individuals, along with an increase in curiosity in occult activity such as Ouija boards and séances.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome