Paul the “psychic” octopus has become somewhat of a national celebrity in Germany — and why not? According to BBC News, Paul had a 70 percent-correct prediction record for the German national team in the 2008 European Championship. Paul the “psychic” octopus also has had a 100 percent record in the World Cup matches thus far. His prediction for the 2010 World Cup semi-finals match-up between Spain and Germany was nationally televised. Unfortunately for Germany, the octopus chose Spain to win.
Paul, who lives at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, makes his predictions by choosing a mussel from one of two jars labeled with the flags of the opposing teams.
Although BBC News noted that the prediction was cause for alarm among some correspondents covering the story, many also pointed out that Paul’s “psychic” predictive ability isn’t 100 percent accurate. He’s just been correct 100 percent during the 2010 World Cup, including Germany’s loss to Serbia in the group stages of the competition.
Paul the “psychic” octopus isn’t the only animal used to predict the outcomes of games. Over the years, pigs have been used to predict college and professional football games in the U.S.. Chickens have been used as well. A group of orangutans at the Oregon Zoo, according to KATU.com, has been predicting Super Bowl winners for the past decade. Zoo handlers noticed after giving Inji, a female orangutan at the zoo, a choice between opposing college team jerseys, she accurately chose the winner. Inji has a 6-1 Super Bowl record. Her grandson, Kutai, is 4-1, but the Oregon Zookeepers believe some questionable calls in the Cardinals-Steelers match-up would have given him a Cardinals victory in Super Bowl XLIII (therefore making him 5-0).
Paul the “psychic” octopus has had to predict a match-up between Spain and Germany before. During the European Championship in 2008, he wrongly chose Germany to defeat Spain.
When people want to wager a few clams on a game, they often place their bets with the help of professional sports prognosticators and oddsmakers. Some, however, rely on help from the animal kingdom. But one thing is certain: Whether one gets their predictions from a calculating bookie or a mussel-choosing fallibly “psychic” octopus, the odds going into the game that they have made a correct choice is 50-50. Making a decision works just as well with a coin toss.
Paul the octopus predicts the semi-final 2010 World Cup game between Spain and Germany in the following video.