Friday, 29 June 2012


Animal testing is completely unnecessary – animals understandably get very nervous and upset when they don’t know the answers...

Psychic animals and soccer tournaments – what on earth is all that about?

You don’t need to be a psychic of any kind to predict that the England football team would make a limp exit from Euro 2012 at the quarter final stage in a penalty shoot-out. Some things are never going to change. But what’s with all this psychic animals predict this and that mullarkey? A whole panoply of animal oracles have been predicting results for Euro 2012. Leading the pack is an octopus, called Paulus, who was born in Germany but now resides in a Portuguese aquarium in Porto. Hang on – haven’t we been there before? More later. 

A couple of elephants, a ferret, a pig and a llama are among the host of animals that have also been credited with psychic powers during this tournament. They include Citta the elephant in Krakow Zoo who picked Poland to triumph over Greece in the opening game by choosing a mango placed above a Polish flag (the game ended 1 – 1).

Fred the ferret in Kharkiv, Ukraine is among the line-up of ‘psychic’ animals aiming to predict the Euro 2012 winners. Dutch elephant Nelly forecasted a win for Germany over Portugal when she took aim with a football (correct - the Germans won 1 – 0).

 In the UK, Nicholas the llama had previously predicted Chelsea would win the Champions League.

Of course, I blame myself for all this psychic animal predicting nonsense. In another life I blogged about Paul the Octopus who was said to have psychic powers after predicting all of Germany's six World Cup games in 2010 correctly and tipped Spain to win the final in Johannesburg.

¡Hurra! Paul el pulpo predice triunfo Español!

Paul made his name during the tournament by successfully choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing nations. He picked a winner when he ate his dinner!
The two-year-old cephalopod Paul was based at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen and decided that Spain would win the final by going for the mussel in the box with a Spanish flag rather than the one with a Dutch flag on it – Holland was the other finalist.

Now I’m worried that the person who thought “Hey, lets’ ask the octopus?” is thinking of something else! If Paul the psychic octopus had put money on all the games he'd successfully predicted in 2010, he'd have been squids in...
At one stage it seemed that the glare of publicity had got to Paul the Octopus. Too much pressure heaped on him. Octopi are very sensitive creatures as we know. The sign outside his tank at the SeaLife Aquarium in Oberhausen one morning read – “Geschlossen! Auf Grund unvorhergesehener Umstände” – “Closed! Due to unforeseen circumstances!”. Not a particularly good endorsement for a psychic.

Paul the Octopus had become the unlikely star of the 2010 World Cup and in all 'predicted' the outcome of eight matches – but shortly after the tournament he died at his aquarium in Germany. Staff at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen were said be "devastated" when they learned that he had passed away overnight. Octopi rarely live beyond two years so his death was not unexpected. But heartbreaking nevertheless.

Amid the euphoria surrounding his predictive talent, he was even made an honorary citizen of the Spanish town of O Carallinio before becoming an ambassador for England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Eventually a memorial for Paul the Octopus was unveiled three months after the sad death of everyone’s favourite cephalopodan chum. A memorial corner – called Paul’s Corner – was unveiled at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen in western Germany, Paul’s former home.

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