Paul the 'psychic' octopus dies in Germany

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Paul the Octopus correctly predicts a win by Germany over Uruguay in the third place play-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Paul the Octopus, the octopus who became famous for correctly predicting the winner of Germany's seven matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as well as the final, has died of natural causes. During the football tournament in South Africa earlier this year, Paul, who lived in an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, chose between two glass boxes placed in his tank, which would have a German flag and the flag of the country which the country would be playing against. Both boxes would contain food, and the box which Paul chose to eat out of would be the winners. The octopus correctly predicted the result of all of Germany's games, and hypothesised that Spain would beat the Netherlands in the final — which they duly did. Paul became internationally famous for his correct predictions, and was dubbed by some as the "oracle octopus". All his predictions were filmed and broadcast across the world, and he became a hit on the video sharing website YouTube.

His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself.

—Aquarium spokesperson

During the World Cup, Rupert Adams of William Hill, one of Britain's largest bookmakers, said that the octopus's success rate was remarkable. "If you had had ten pounds on each and every prediction then re-invested your winnings you would currently have over 1,450 pounds," he said. "It's an astonishing feat to get six predictions in a row. I am told people are walking into our shops and saying 'I will have what the Octopus predicted.'" After the World Cup this year, it was announced Paul would retire. "He won't give any more oracle predictions — either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," a spokesperson for the aquarium said at the time. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh." Paul's life was not without controversy. During the tournament Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the media storm was a sign of decay in Western culture. "Those who believe in this type of thing cannot be the leaders of the global nations that aspire, like Iran, to human perfection, basing themselves in the love of all sacred values," he said.

Paul's death was announced by the aquarium on Tuesday, when a spokesperson said that he had died of natural causes during the night. "We are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life here and that the care provided for him by our dedicated displays team could not have been bettered," he said. He added that common octopuses live for only a few years. Paul's final prediction was that England would host the World Cup in 2018. A special clothing line and a mobile phone application are to be released, along with a documentary tracking his life. "His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself," the spokesperson said. "We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine. While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action."

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