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Paul the psychic octopus: We want to believe

Paul the psychic octopus: We want to believe

Of all the blatant attempts by companies to cash in on the World Cup, this has to be the most ridiculous. And the most brilliant, obviously.

July 4, 2010 11:40 by

The world is a mysterious place, full of wonder and intrigue. Kipp has long believed that there is more to life than what we can experience with our five senses – it’s that occasional déjà vu, or the curious shiver down your spine. The knowledge that your phone will ring, right before it does. The instinct that tells you someone is looking at you, when your back is turned. The feeling that we’re not alone, even when we are.

But rarely have the mysterious powers of the occult been more acutely demonstrated than in recent weeks by Paul, the psychic octopus.

Paul is an octopus. And he is psychic. Laugh if you will, but from his tank at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, Paul has accurately predicted the result of every German game in this world cup.

Paul’s keepers place two boxes in his tank. Each contains food, and each has a flag attached. One flag is German, and one represents Germany’s opponents. Whichever box Paul picks to feed from, the associated flag shows who’s going to win. He even predicted Germany would defeat the highly fancied Argentine side – an event which came to pass.

And before you say, “He’s a German octopus, he’s just showing support for his country,” bear in mind that Germany was beaten by Serbia in the group games, and Paul correctly chose the Serbian flag. Also, Paul was born in the UK, so technically his passport should be British (although perhaps now he qualifies for a German passport thanks to residence).

Some might point out that Paul never predicts the score (which would be really impressive). Others might say that, with a fifty-fifty chance, it’s not that unlikely that Paul could be guessing. And still others may have the cheek to point out Paul is an octopus, and knows nothing about football, and couldn’t this maybe be an elaborate gimmick by the Sea Life aquarium to drum up a bit of publicity?

To those naysayers Kipp says: We want to believe. If we have to endure the tedious, shameless and blatant attempts by every company on this Earth to piggyback the World Cup for their own good, then we’d rather it was fun.

So we kneel before your greatness, oh mighty Paul.

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  1. Amilia on July 5, 2010 4:37 am

    He’s definitely not psychic. He has a 50/50 chance of getting it right. A coin flip. However, the probability of getting 5 coin flips correct in a row is 1/32, or 0.03125. That’s impressive indeed!

  2. Andrew on July 19, 2010 9:49 am

    I think Paul has proved he’s capable enough of being trusted with a couple of boxes marked “Israel” and “Palestine”.


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