Everyone Thinks the Charlie Charlie Challenge Is a Marketing Stunt, But Latin Americans Have Played It For Years

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Show of hands: How many of us actually took the time to do the #CharlieCharlieChallenge? Admittedly, some of the videos going around were vaguely unsettling, but why would anyone go through the work of drawing out all those squares and stacking all those pencils just to speak to some ornery demon child? Plus, many Latinos would be loathe to open up a satanic portal anywhere near our house for fear of facing a whirling chancla as soon as mami found out. And now, to make the whole thing that much more embarrassing, recent speculation has cast a cloud of doubt on the viral authenticity of the phenomenon.

Yes, it seems a brand new promotional clip released by the team behind found footage horror film The Gallows has verified the game’s use as a plot device in the upcoming feature. And as is to be expected, the 24-hour digital media chattersphere jumped all over the clip and confidently proclaimed that Charlie Charlie fever had in fact been the product of cynical social engineering. But, the outlets reporting that it’s a made up publicity stunt may not be aware that a similar game using pencils has been played in Latin America for years.

Granted, these days it’s natural to grow weary of corporate meddling in just about every aspect of our daily lives, but it’s infinitely more likely that the folks behind The Gallows just recut the scene in question and cleverly piggy-backed on a globally trending and conveniently relevant hashtag phenomenon. Had you ever heard of The Gallows before? And look, now I’m writing about it! In either case, it’s win-win for The Gallows, although Chuck the demon might be kinda pissed off about the whole thing.

Perhaps stranger than the mysterious and unknowable supernatural world of the paranormal, is this mysterious and unknowable world of social media. Though if I worked on The Gallows campaign, I might think about getting a limpia, just in case.