A video of a simple South American children's game was posted to Twitter recently. The game works on similar principles to a Ouija board. The players balance one pencil on another and ask for the presence of a spirit called "Charlie", which proceeds to answer questions by moving the pencil to point to "yes" or "no" answers written on paper. What made the game remarkable was the video appeared to show that a supernatural force was answering.
Children became fascinated and retweeted—with the hashtag #charliecharliechallenge—their own videos of successfully trying the game. Today the game is being experimented with across the world, including right here in the South Pacific. And students at Adventist schools are not immune to what seems to be an intriguing phenomenon. As a school chaplain I feel a heavy responsibility to the children under my spiritual care, which is why I am writing.
From a purely scientific perspective it's possible for a balanced pencil to move, seemingly of its own volition, because of wind, breath or other factors. However, that's not what is widely reported to be happening. In this “game”, the pencil moves to answer questions in different directions and always stops exactly over the answers. And I believe the reports that indicate this is a supernatural manifestation.
What's more, it has had supernatural side effects. When I attended a Bible study recently, the couple I was visiting requested a house blessing. Their daughter and her friends had been playing "Charlie Charlie" and they reported that a figure of a dark man had begun manifesting in their home, along with other unexplained occurrences. Similar reports are beginning to appear across the world. One man reports being held on the ground, scratched and beaten by an invisible force when he mocked "Charlie". Other children report that not playing the game by the proper rules results in the offender becoming bodily possessed by the entity.
It’s easy to dismiss these accounts as excited hype. But for those of us in the South Pacific with knowledge of how the devil manifests himself in our region, we know that possession and supernatural occurrences are very real. Some have dismissed the whole phenomenon as a marketing ploy for a horror movie. The problem? Myth-busting website <snopes.com> looked into it and found no connection between the game and the movie. There is every reason to believe this is real, and that it's just the latest manifestation of the devil’s long-standing tactic to ensnare people using the supernatural.
As Seventh-day Adventist Christians we believe in a very real controversy between the power of Satan and the love of Christ. Leviticus 19:31 warns: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God." When we disobey God we are placing ourselves outside of His protection and the enemy is able to get to us in ways that are not His will. Satan's ultimate desire is to destroy us. However, God's loving protection is freely offered to all who cry out to Him in faith. As the psalmist says: "The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1 NIV).
In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, Paul warns us of "the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" in the last days. I believe that Satan is making a direct attack on our children. It falls to us as parents, church leaders and spiritual uncles and aunties to warn our children in the tenderness of the Holy Spirit of the dangers of not only the Charlie game, but the rising tide of demonic films, computer games, TV shows, music, books and magazines that are overwhelming them with the message of the enemy.
Revelation 12:11 says: ". . . they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they were not afraid to die."
I propose another challenge—a much more exciting and rewarding one. It's the Jesus Christ Challenge–#jesuschristchallenge. It's found in Jeremiah 33:3 and goes like this: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
If you want to know the secrets of the universe, who better to ask than the One who created it, who vanquished the Prince of Darkness and is coming back soon to take us to a place where the mysteries of the ages will be revealed?
Pastor Daniel Matteo is chaplain of Cairns Adventist College, Queensland, Australia.