It's long been believed that animals have a "sixth sense" that helps them to predict natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, but can they really predict the outcome of a soccer game? Some people believe they can..
"El Pulpo Paul" or Paul the Octopus, correctly predicted the outcome of eight consecutive matches in the 2010 World Cup. The process that allowed Paul to make predictions involved the use of two food boxes, each marked with the flag of a soon-to-compete country; whichever box Paul ate out of first, was interpreted as the winner of the upcoming match. Unfortunately, El Pulpo Paul died at his aquarium in Germany of natural causes in October 2010, just months after he predicted Spain's victory in the final game.
Paul the Octopus Predictions:
2010 FIFA World Cup
Teams Stage Result Outcome
Germany vs Australia 4–0 Correct
Germany vs Serbia 0–1 Correct
Ghana vs Germany 0–1 Correct
Germany vs England 4–1 Correct
Argentina vs Germany 0–4 Correct
Germany vs Spain 0–1 Correct
Uruguay vs Germany 2–3 Correct
Netherlands vs Spain 0–1 Correct
Although the next World Cup isn't until 2014, all kinds of creatures are already being sought and tested on their oracular abilities. Possibilities for the next World Cup animal psychic include Citta, an Indian elephant at the Krakow Zoo in Poland, two dragon fish named "Big Huat" and "Little Huat" in Singapore, a giant pig weighing almost 850 lbs. in the Ukraine called "Funtik", and "Fred the Ferret" also hailing from the Ukraine.
Think this is all a little bit silly? Relying on critters great and small for a glimpse into the future isn't a new phenomenon. Other analysts from the animal kingdom include Maggie the Monkey of Ontario, Canada who predicted the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Lazdeika the Lithuanian Crab who predicted basketball games, and our very own Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvanian groundhog who is tasked with predicting when spring will come each year.
Tracy López is a bilingual writer living outside the Washington DC metro area. She is the founder of Latinaish.com.