Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Charlie demon - educatiom ministry warns of "paranormal behaviour" among students

Published:Saturday | May 30, 2015 | 5:00 AM
The set-up of the Charlie Charlie Challenge.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge, which has gained international attention and condemnation from the Vatican, has been causing disruption in a number of Jamaican schools, prompting the Ministry of Education to impose a ban on the game.

The Charlie Charlie Challenge is a game played using two pencils and a paper. It is a simplified version of the Ouija board. Players cross the two pencils on the paper and invoke a fabled Mexican demon by calling out: "Charlie Charlie can we play? Charlie Charlie are you there?"

There are many videos posted online, from different countries, supposedly showing the pencils moving on their own in response to the players' chants.

In a release to the media yesterday, the Ministry of Education indicated that several schools have observed disruptive behaviour by a number of students who have played the game and as such has moved to ban the game.

"The ministry issued the ban following 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 release stated.

The release did not expound upon "demon-possessed or paranormal behaviour".

According to the release, a bulletin was sent out to schools instructing administrators to monitor students to ensure that they do not play the game.

monitor the children

The bulletin advised school administrators to immediately contact the regional offices if they need help and further support to address the situation.

"The education ministry is also calling on parents and guardians to monitor their children carefully outside of school as based on the reviews of the 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 release added.

President of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) Everton Hannam has added his own voice to the call for parents to monitor their children.

"News of the Charlie Charlie Challenge in a number of our schools has been met with concern by the NPTAJ. If the allegations are correct, there seems to be some intent to introduce games which are not of the kind that we would want to welcome in our schools," he said.

"The ministry has asked parents to be vigilant of these kinds of introduction of these games and we would want to endorse that call and expand it to ask all parents to monitor our children carefully," he said.

Hannam called on the education ministry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the use of the game.

"The ministry should move swiftly to investigate the veracity of these games and the extent to which they are going to affect our children. The study should also include our psychologists and guidance counsellors so as to assess the impact," he added.

Schools across the region have also been facing challenges with students who have played the game.

Reports from Antigua and Barbuda suggest that students were rushed to the hospital after playing the game as they were fainting and having seizures.

Strong warnings against playing the game have been issued in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and St Lucia.