Charlie, Charlie ban!

The ministry issued the ban via a bulletin following what it said were “reports from several schools across the island of very disruptive behaviour by students who engaged in the game”.

“Some reports intimated that students displayed demon-possessed or paranormal behaviour while playing the game,” the ministry said, advising “school personnel to immediately contact the regional offices if they need help and further support to address the situation”.

Meanwhile, the education ministry also called on “parents and guardians to monitor their children carefully outside of school, as based on the reviews of Charlie, Charlie Challenge there can be serious psychological effects on children”.

“Parents and guardians should note that the playing of this game can also result in serious physical harm to our children,” the ministry said.

Yesterday’s ban came amidst a report that students in several other Caribbean countries had been rushed to hospital after playing the game.

The game is said to be a simplified version of the ‘Ouija Board’ and summons a Mexican “demon” by the name of Charlie. The ‘Charlie Charlie Challenge’, as it is being called, entails placing two pencils on a piece of paper in the shape of the cross with the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ written in each quadrant.

Participants then repeat the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with the demon. The ‘demon’ is then asked specific questions and the top pencil moves in response.

In Antigua and Barbuda, emergency medical services were kept busy after a group of students attending the Jennings Secondary School fainted and had to be rushed to hospital after allegedly playing the game

“Children started fainting and having seizures. Children were fainting while walking home, and some of them were trying to jump out the bus,” one student told the Antigua Observer newspaper.

In St Lucia, the Ministry of Education was called upon to issue an official alert after a student began having unpleasant experiences after playing the game. “My daughter came home crying and shaking after reporting that she saw desks floating,” the mother of the student told a website.

“We are Christians and so when she saw what was happening, she began to pray. We also prayed with her and counseled her. She has faced other experiences like that in the past, so she is aware of what this thing is about.

“The thing is, if it is done in the private homes, the demon has access to the home with or without the consent of the person who summoned it, but in the school it gives access to the entire student body, putting other children at risk,” the parent is quoted as saying.

Barbados schoolteachers have also warned their students from engaging in the game, while in Trinidad and Tobago, the president of the National Parent/Teacher Association, Zena Ramatali, warned against playing the game, which has been trending globally over the last few days.

“It is a very serious situation right now,” she said, adding that the game taking root locally is an indication of the dangers of the Internet.

Ramatali said children must be taught what is good and what is evil and that clearly, the Charlie Charlie Challenge is an evil game.

“We have to teach them that this is not something that they want to dabble in,” she said.

“Children should be supervised at all times. What happens is that they are unsupervised at break time and lunch time and the devil is actually finding work for them,” she added.

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