Psychic Octopus Can Predict World Cup 2010 Match Results

An octopus with possible psychic powers, who has correctly picked the winner of Germany’s four World Cup matches so far, on Tuesday tipped Germany to beat Argentina in their World Cup quarter-final match on Saturday.

Incredibly tight -- but luckily a win for Germany in the end," the aquarium said of Paul's decision. Photo: Reuters

An octopus named Paul with possible psychic powers – who has correctly picked the winner of Germany’s four World Cup matches so far – on Tuesday tipped Germany to beat Argentina in their World Cup quarter-final match on Saturday.

Paul sits on a box with a decorated German flag at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, western Germany. Paul’s task is to decide in favor of one of the shells hidden in boxes with the flags of Germany and Argentina and to act thus as oracle for the upcoming quarterfinal match of the FIFA Football World Cup between the two countries.

Finally, Paul wrapped his eight legs around the German box, plucked out the mussel and threw his weight behind the Mannschaft. Photo: Reuters

Paul, who had correctly predicted the result of four matches earlier in the tournament, decided on Germany. The container Paul opens first is seen as his pick. However, Paul moved cautiously and spent about 45 minutes mulling his decision before eating the food in the box with the German flag – suggesting a hard-fought win in extra time or even penalties.

Paul, a two-year-old octopus, is getting famous day by day for his predictions over the FIFA World Cup’s matches. The eight-legged octopus has turned into a celebrity oracle for getting all four picks right so far – including last Sunday’s elimination round match when Germany beat England.

It wasn't easy for the shy cephalopod, who took more than an hour to decide on a winner. Paul's handlers bait glass cubes with mussels and mark them with national flags. The mussel Paul chooses first is meant to indicate a prophecy for the upcoming game. Photo: Reuters

“It took Paul a really long time to make up his mind today for the Argentina-Germany match,” said Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig. “Even after he opened the Germany container it took him a while to go in and eat the clam.”

Munzig said, by contrast, it took Paul only seconds to decide before the England match to go for the Germany container. “That it took him so long to make up his mind suggests it’ll be a very tense match against Argentina that won’t be decided until the very end — maybe not even until penalties,” she said.

Paul doesn’t only sit in the German container. He chose Serbia over Germany when he was asked to predict about the match between them during the group stages. Serbia defeated Germany and shocked the world and the Germans themselves.

Paul swam instantly to the German box, perhaps initially swayed by Germany's 4-1 victory over England on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Munzig also denied any suggestion the containers were rigged. She said that there is no trick about this, and there is no such thing as a “left side container” or a “right side container.” Argentina was on the left side on Tuesday (because the match is Argentina-Germany) whereas England was on the right last week (Germany-England).

The flags keep switching sides and it’s not always Germany he chooses for the win. The food is the same; the amount is the same, according to Munzig, the spokeswoman of the German aquarium. “There are no tricks, the food is the same and everything in the two containers is the same except for the flags,” she said. When asked how Paul predicts all the matches, the reply she gave was: “That’s his little secret.” [via Huffington Post, Reuters and Spiegel (DE)]

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