World Cup psychic does it again

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Paul the psychic octopus does it again

By staff writers




  THE psychic octopus made it eight-for-eight today with Spain's 1-0 extra-time triumph over the Netherlands.



The psychic octopus, who captivated the world with his string of dead-on predictions about World Cup winners, made it eight-for-eight today with Spain's 1-0 extra-time triumph over the Netherlands, enshrining the mollusk medium in World Cup history and presumably keeping him safe from the paella pan.


Paul's latest triumph came despite recent revelations of a previously unknown past, including a murky birthplace and age. While his official biography said Paul, who lives at an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, is two years old and a native of Weymouth, England, his trainer (yes, Paul has a trainer) told a different story.


Verena Bartsch said in today's edition of Germany's Bild tabloid newspaper that she caught Paul in April in the sea off the Italian island of Elba, near Tuscany, and he was four weeks old at the time. Italian media immediately renamed him Paolo.


But whether oldster or youngster, sketchy past or no, Paul scored a triumph few could match: he correctly predicted Germany's victories over Australia, Argentina, England, Ghana and Uruguay, its losses to Serbia and Spain and then, in the final, Spain's triumph over the Netherlands.


So persuasive was his winning streak, there was soon a name for it: "The Paul Effect". A spokesman for Paddy Power bookies in England reported bettors there began backing Spain once Paul issued his verdict on the final winner.


His technique was the height of simplicity: two boxes,each containing a tasty morsel and the flag of each competing team, were placed in front of him. Whichever box he chose was deemed to be his predicted winner.

Not all of Paul's choices have sat well with soccer fans. After he correctly forecast that Germany would be ousted from the semi-final by Spain, outraged German team followers began posting paella recipes on the internet.


Where can the octopus oracle go from here? Is there another major sporting event in his aquatic future? There's been no word on Paul's future prediction schedule, if any, but one potentially complicating factor is the relatively short life span of octopuses, with some species living for as few as six months. Which makes him a doubtful starter for soccer's next big tournament, Euro 2012.