Paul the octopus didn’t see his death coming,” reads The Australian‘s headline today. And while that’s funny, today the world mourns the death of a simple mollusc who captured the peoples’ hearts by accurately predicting the results of football matches — most notably during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He will be cremated.


I wrote about Paul in July. He made me look like an idiot but I still respected the great cephalopod. Paul wasn’t the first — and he won’t be the last — animal whose masters claim they possess physic abilities. However, he was certainly the most accurate — and interesting.

And when it comes to his peers, Paul inks all over his compatriots.

Firstly, there’s Punxsutawney Phil. The Groundhog made famous by, you know, the film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray that’s on TV every three weeks. Basically Phil comes out of his hole and if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow spring will arrive early. In my opinion, Phil is a poor man’s Paul.


But at least Phil has some class — and not to mention tradition that extends back to 1887. Some of the other psychic animals are like Elvis impersonators — leaches living off the fine work of Paul and Phil.

Australia’s own Harry the Croc was a Paul spin off. He predicted the Gillard government’s win — but incorrectly predicted Collingwood to beat St Kilda in the first Grand Final — the result was a tie. Although you could argue he was correct in the end.


Then there’s the lesser lights.

Mani the psychic parakeet incorrectly predicted Netherlands win the 2010 World Cup.


Then there’s Pino the soothsaying chimpanzee, an Estonian zoo inhabitant, who incorrectly picked Netherlands to beat Spain.

Perhaps the worst of the lot is the psychic cats of Santa Monica, California. The cats actually have disciples.


In the end, there was only one Paul.

Paul is dead, long live Paul.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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