Flavor of the month: Spirit Communication and the Charlie Charlie Challenge!

Last month it was sucking on shot-glasses. This month’s episode of ‘What’s sending kids to therapy’ seems to be the #CharlieCharlieChallenge.

The newest craze this month is to scare yourself senseless using two pencils and a piece of paper with the aid of a friendly Mexican Demon called Charlie.

Okay. Stop.

A Mexican Demon called Charlie? Why not Jose`? Or Eduardo? Charlie seems so… not scary…

Oh wait… on second thoughts…

Yep. That's scream-worthy material.

Yep. That’s scream-worthy material.

Yep. There it is.

The story goes that you write your question to Charlie on a piece of paper, drawing a cross in the middle, writing “Yes” and “No” in the diagonal boxes and placing two pencils over the cross that you’ve made.

Spirit Communication-ception... Charlie Charlie on a OUIJA BOARD!

Spirit Communication-ception… Charlie Charlie on a OUIJA BOARD!

You then ask “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” and the wonderfully co-operative Hispanic Demon will move the pencils to point at the answers.

Sound familiar?

Wheel of Paper-Fortune!

Wheel of Paper-Fortune!

I remember drawing a Ouija board during a sleepover when I was 9 and asking the spirits whether my primary school crush and I would get married.

Just look at me now!

Paracon 2014 - mass Ouija session! Darrin Langbien Photography ©

Paracon 2014 – mass Ouija session!
Darrin Langbien Photography ©

Not to mention I used to be rather fantastic at making those origami Fortune-Teller thingos. I was pretty sure that I’d memorised the number patterns to get the result that I wanted each and every time.

But those were child’s play. We’ve got manipulated objects and floating pencils that seem to agree with teenage girls when they ask whether or not One Direction is the best band on the world.

I must admit that it would make sense for 1D to be in league with a Demon, judging by the unholy noise that reaches my ears whenever “What Makes You Beautiful” comes on the radio.

DEMON CHILD! DEMON CHILD!

DEMON CHILD! DEMON CHILD!

But this seems to have riled up a lot of religious groups. Catholic Online have published a letter allegedly written by a priest from Philadelphia that states;

“There is a dangerous game going around on social media which openly encourages impressionable young people to summon demons… I want to remind you all there is no such thing as ‘innocently’ playing with demons. Please be sure to NOT participate and encourage others to avoid participation as well. The problem with opening yourself up to demonic activity is that it opens a window of possibilities which is not easily closed.”

This is from a faith that used to perform Exorcisms on newborn babies because of their close contact with a woman’s birth canal…

So what makes the Charlie Charlie Challenge different from your run-of-the-mill Ouija Board? The fact that you’re supposedly drawing on an actual Demon by name rather than an ‘unknown spirit’?

#BloodyMary

Oh, of course; like everything else credible on the internet… it’s on Twitter!

In all seriousness though, I was interested at how this seems to be the ‘Bloody Mary’ or ‘Candyman’ of Gen-Z. What used to be locking yourself in a dark bathroom and whispering ‘Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary’ in a mirror has now become a blurry video taken on a mobile phone with “Charlie, Charlie, are you there?” followed usually by several screams when the pencils succumb to gravity and roll onto the floor.

How most Twitter #CharlieCharlieChallenge videos go…

So let’s get the facts.

5 Facts about the Charlie Charlie Challenge from an actual Paranormal Investigator:

1. There is no Mexican Demon called Charlie.

The most predominant religion in Mexico is Roman Catholicism, closely followed by Protestantism. These Christian Demons have classy names like Abaddon, Beelzebub, Malphas and Mammon. If you’re looking for a demon native to Mexico try summoning a Tzitzimitl or asking the Goddess Itzpapalotl to toss some of her ‘devil’ minons your way.

They won’t know much about One Direction though; these feminine deities tend to prefer to cause solar eclipses and generally promote fertility. So if you feel like having a baby or three… go with it!

2. Gravity can be a crafty bastard.

Think about it; you’re balancing a light object on another light object via a tiny, tiny contact point. The smallest breeze, movement on floorboards/uneven floor or stray breath could spell the difference between a disappointing waiting game and a false positive.

If you actually want to give this a go properly use an even surface, angled pencils (with some kind of straight edge) and cover the paper and pencils with some kind of glass dome or windbreak.

Have someone to observe and record, out of the circle and removed from the exercise almost entirely.

Ask control questions to begin with; what will be a ‘Yes’? What will be a ‘No’? (We can’t assume that all spirits know how to read English, right?) And when you have the chance, repeat your questions for clarification.

3. It’s all fun and games… until someone gets hurt.

As with any kind of attempted spirit communication; don’t be an asshat. Lining up a big prank to scare the bejesus out of someone can lead to some broken friendships… or serious injuries. Remember that everyone responds differently to fear.

And for the more Paranormally-inclined; be responsible. Summoning a spirit by any means  – paper, board, EVP session or scrying in a mirror – means that you’re open to everything. Specify boundaries before charging in guns blazing and question everything!

4. Get real.

What kind of Demon would actually lie in wait to answer questions about Algebra and One Direction?

Do they draw straws and the Demon who draws the short one today gets ‘Charlie’ duty?

The same goes for spirits; how many times can you stand being asked ‘If you’re there can you make a noise?’. Don’t waste time on trivial things like ‘What’s my middle name?’ and ‘Who will Johnny kiss this summer?’. Get names – first and last names – dates, towns… something tangible that can be researched either online or in archives.

I’ve had a session where we got the first and last name of a spirit that was correlated with an entry that I found in the Australian War Memorial archives. Not only did I scry his first name, our Ouija session found his last name and actual historical research backed that up! Nothing compares to the feeling that you actually connected with someone who was once a living human being – no matter how tragic their story may be.

Mind = Blown.

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5. Be prepared for… nothing.

Don’t be disappointed if nothing happens. Spirits aren’t circus animals; they don’t float around thinking “Jesus H. Christ I’m bored! I wish someone would ask me to spike a K2 meter!”

And going further than that – reoccuring evidence of spirits is still yet to be proven – be prepared to accept the fact that you may or may not be talking to thin air.

Lastly;

As always, with any sort of spirit communication; if you do get something that may be an answer, thank them! You have no idea how much energy that effort may have required on their part. They’re doing you a favor!

Don’t forget to close off your conversation, even if you don’t get any evidence or movement. I like to finish up with something like “Thankyou for anyone who attempted to communicate with us; we now remove all permissions and ask that you remain here in peace. Have a lovely day!”

(Okay maybe not the ‘have a lovely day bit’… it depends on how overtired I’m feeling…)

If you feel things starting to get creepy or uncomfortable: stop. Don’t just get up and run away though, close the session (see above) immediately and go Google some kittens with your friends. Check that everyone is feeling okay about what they just experienced and if anyone is feeling creeped out then talk it out.

Kittens: the ultimate Paranormal Anti-drug.

Kittens: the ultimate Paranormal Anti-drug.

If you want any tips for spirit communication or feel like an arguement about how Ouija Boards are the portal to the Hell then feel free to contact me and check out my Facebook page for updates 🙂

Peace out!

XxTGWxX

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PARACON 2015: A weekend of chills – and not just from the weather!

What a weekend!

2015 marked the second annual Paracon Australia and I honestly feel like I should have taken a few days off to recover. I’ve just spent the last two days shuffling around like a zombie and am currently at an average of 6 cups of coffee just to remain upright at my desk.

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This year’s Paracon was held at the beautiful Carrington Hotel at Katoomba, NSW. The building itself has been privy to more than a few paranormal occurrences in the last 130+ years of operation, and the elegant Victorian rooms were as much of a character at the con as the Guests and Speakers themselves.

This year – as always – there was a wide range of speakers both domestic and international; it was evident that Alex Cayas and his crafty little team of minions had been cooking this up for a while, not content to ride on the coat-tails of last year’s success at Maitland Gaol.

Of course – being Katoomba – one usually felt like one was walking into an open ice-chest as soon as you stepped into the open air to hurry from room to room for the seminars at the Katoomba Cultural Centre, Baroque Room at the historic Harp and Fiddle Bar and the Carrington itself.

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That being said, it didn’t stop the obvious signs that this year was a sold-out event. It wasn’t uncommon to see rooms packed to standing for a talk, leading to some incredibly engaging Q and A sessions once the initial talks had been presented.

I started my weekend by walking into the Baroque Room and was honestly taken aback at how jam-packed the opening-night event was! It was literally impossible to traverse from the stage to the photo-booth at the back of the hall without becoming uncomfortably closely acquainted (or re-acquainted) with at least a dozen people.

Being the wallflower that I am I ended giving up at the Candy Bar and consoling myself with several sticks of raspberry liquorice and a generous handful of jelly beans.

Worth it.

The speakers this year were outstanding in their subjects. We had talks on Mediumship, Paranormal Equipment, Extra-terrestrial abductions, Shadow People, Hoax Profiling, Practical Demonology and Shamanism; a veritable candy store for this over-excitable big kid.

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This year – for me personally – was a little different than last year as I’d offered my meagre public speaking skills to help host and introduce the speakers in the most amenable way I could muster… but I’ll have to admit that my nerves did a bit of Riverdancing when the conference room was packed to standing!

I still had time to catch different talks when I wasn’t hosting or helping out; I caught Andrea Kaldy’s seminar on Paranormal Mediumship – a topic I never grow tired of hearing her talk about – Paranormal Shamanism with Janette Donnellan, Demonic Possession: Possible alternative explanations with Beth Luscombe, The Search for Australia’s Bigfoot with Attila Kaldy, Tony Jinks’s seminar on disappearing, appearing, reappearing and replaced objects ( or ‘Jottles’), Spirit Communication with the Psychically Challenged with Anne and Rob from ESP, Shadow People; Fact, Folklore and Personal Experience with everyone’s favourite Kiwi – Mark Wallbank (sorry Craig ❤ !) as well as both of Dave Schrader’s talks on how to ghost hunt and investigate claims of the Paranormal and Paranormal Creatures and Folklore.

Like I said; I needed a few days to recover.

It wasn’t just the packed-out day-time activities that were on offer either. Firstly there was the screening of some of Moonlark Media’s newest content; Paranormal Investigators: In Tenebris and PI: Uncut.

Another shot of the Baroque room... LOOK AT THOSE LIGHT FIXTURES!

Another shot of the Baroque room… LOOK AT THOSE LIGHT FIXTURES!

Keep a track of Moonlark’s Facebook page as they keep releasing awesome home-grown content; what we caught a glimpse of looks amazing so far – and this year is going to get even better!

As well as special screenings of PI and APPI’s Ghosts of Casula (which was during the day on Sunday), much like last year there were several ‘After Dark’ activities that were on offer thanks to Blue Mountains local – Paranormal Pete.

Given the choice between a skywatch or an investigation in Little Hartley, I opted for what I envisioned would be the warmer of the two (the mercury dropped to 1C before the clock struck twelve) and participated in the round-robin investigation of Hartley’s historic buildings.

I won’t go too much into the details of how that went (honestly that’s a whole new blog post all of it’s own) but I can safely say – and I hope that those who attended can agree – that this years events definitely topped last year’s with style.

Though I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to open another mass Ouija portal to Hell this year 🙂

The best thing perhaps was the fact that this was a fantastic opportunity for those of us who chase the creepy crawlies that go bump in the night to get together and discuss our love-jobs freely and without judgement. There are so few chances for the Paranormal to be discussed in an open forum that events like these are doing amazing things for the Australian Paranormal field and the community that drives it.

If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year I have only two things to say; 1 – I’m very, very sorry that you missed out and you should definitely catch next year… and 2 – Bed up where you know that there is a group of Paracon-goers!

Some of the best moments from this weekend were late nights spent up talking with other guests and speakers and listening to stories that were outside the seminars. From toilet stories to creepy encounters on flights across the world, the “campfire” stories that come out late at night when you’re bundled under blankets and jackets in the mountain air are just as wonderful as the stories that our speakers shared.

It’s been so wonderful to see that I’m not the only person who had an absolute blast this year, and I cannot wait to see what Alex and the organisers have in store for next year!

Til’ 2016!