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#CharlieCharlieChallenge: Why a demon named 'Charlie' is trending on the Web

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A new social media craze has teenagers trying to summon a demon named Charlie.

The game is a cross between "Bloody Mary" and Ouija, as the Huffington Post describes, where people try to summon an entity – and they're filming the game and posting it on social media using the hashtag #CharlieCharlieChallenge.

In the past few days it's gone viral. More than 2 million people around the globe have used the hashtag in the past 48 hours, BBC reports. And on Tuesday, #CharlieCharlieChallenge was trending on Twitter in Minneapolis.

So what is it, and why has it become so popular with kids around the globe?

How it's done

The challenge involves taking a piece of paper and drawing a horizontal line and a vertical line, marking the opposite quadrants with the word "yes"and the other two opposing sections with "no." Then two pencils are placed across the lines to form a plus sign.

Then, players ask aloud, "Charlie, Charlie are you here?" or "Charlie, Charlie can we play?" The claim is if he's summoned correctly, he'll respond by spinning the top pencil to "yes."

Then people are able to ask him questions, CNN reports. And the demon's "responses" have people screaming or running out of the room.

People who have successfully contacted the demon claim scary things have happened afterward, especially if people don't ask Charlie to stop when they're done playing the game, the Independent says.

But there are also those who doubt Charlie's "sinister plans," and have posted videos and photos to social media to mock the trend, the BBC said.

#charliecharliechallenge? more like — melissa purcell (@melissapurcell_) May 25, 2015

Who is Charlie?

So who is this demon named Charlie – and where did this game come from?

Games similar to this have been around for decades, but the Charlie game specifically has been around for several years, the Independent notes, with many claiming the demon originated in Mexico.

But there's a problem with this theory.

The BBC found there's no demon named "Charlie" in Mexican folklore. Most Mexican legends come from ancient Aztec and Mayan history, with the publication finding that most Mexican "demons" are actually made up by Americans.

It's all gravity

Like many of these childhood games, this one can be explained by a little science.

Perhaps the pencil is moving because someone in the room is blowing on it, the BBC notes, but the likely reason is all because of gravity and the way the pencil is balanced on the other pencil, the Independent says.

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