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July 8, 2010

Paul the Oracle Octopus

BY: MollyH

We all knew cephalopods were smart. But who knew they were psychic? Paul the octopus has gained worldwide fame for his 100% accuracy in predicting Germany’s 2010 World Cup matches.

Paul, who lives in the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, correctly foresaw the winner of each of Germany’s 2010 World Cup games, even when Germany lost to both Serbia and Spain. So far, during his entire career as the octopus oracle, Paul has only incorrectly predicted one game.  (In 2008, Paul incorrectly chose Germany to beat Spain in the UEFA European Football Championship finals.)

A few years ago, Paul’s keepers started to play a game: they place a piece of food into two separate boxes and let Paul pick which piece of food he wants first.  Here’s the trick: one box has a German flag on it and the other box has the flag of the opposing team’s country. Whichever box Paul picks to eat from first is the predicted winner of the upcoming game. 

Not everyone is amused. After Germany’s predicted loss came true yesterday, the Washington Post reports that one fan was hungry for revenge. ‘ “Nothing beats grilled octopus,” said Dolores Lusch, a Germany fan who works on a Berlin fish stall. “Cut him up in thin slices and grill him on all sides with a dash of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic on it. Delicious!”’

Hey now, don’t blame the octopus.

So what does the future hold for Paul? At 2 years old, he’s middle-aged, so maybe it’s time for him to retire. The limelight is exhausting, after all.