The German news agency DAPD said that Paul, the octopus who successfully predicted the outcome of the World Cup of soccer last July, was found dead Monday evening by what’s is being considered natural causes. According to reports, the cephalopod extraordinaire was in good spirits early on. He had his usual dish of boiled squid and watched his favorite show on German Television, “Sea Us Kaput,” before retiring for the night.
But some groups are expressing doubts about the announcement, which they call a coverup to hide the fact that the octopod who reportedly passed away in Germany is not the same marine creature who predicted the victory of Spain in South Africa. The real Paul, according to these experts, has already died, presumably even before the final.
The unidentified group’s Web site, “PaulIsDeadAgain.com,” is inviting the public to draw conclusions for what they view as discrepancies between what’s known about the mollusk’s life at the SeaLife aquarium in Oberhausen, and the official account of his demise.
Among the allegedly evidence, the group cites a picture of Paul making his fateful choice for a mussel inside a glass tank marked with the Spanish flag over the other mussel in the tank with the Dutch flag. Spain defeated Netherlands 1X0 to win its first World Cup trophy.
They point to a natural discoloration mark above Paul’s right eye, that is not present in pictures taken from the octopus after the cup. They’re also skeptic about the documented size and weight of the famous eight-tentacle sea wonder, which seemed to have both shrunk, as improbable as it’d be in the animal world.
Lastly, they question the timing of Paul’s retirement from predicting world soccer match results, early August, which coincides with the aquarium officials’ decision to restrict public viewing and pictures taking of Paul. That’s the conclusive proof, according to the “PaulIsDeadAgain” group, that the officials feared someone would spot Paul’s look-alike for what he allegedly was, an impostor.
Right before the end of the World Cup, in mid July, the 2 1/2 year old invertebrate received several death threats most likely from those unhappy with his predictions. Argentine fans, for example, promised to cook and eat the devilfish, after he successfully predicted Germany’s sounding victory over their national team. Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, called Paul a “symbol of decadence and decay among his enemies,” that is, the U.S., assorted Western countries, and a few of his relatives he doesn’t particularly care for. Rumors that the “psychic” octopod may have died started around the same period.
In the end, there will always remain Paul’s excellent record: besides the World Cup final, he correctly predicted the winner in all of Germany’s matches in the tournament, seven times in a row. That high predictive accuracy rules out pure chance or coincidence, statistically speaking.
Here’s for injecting a healthy dose of unpredictability to an otherwise lackluster World Cup edition, R.I.P. Paul, and thanks for all the fish.