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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 20 January, 2019

We saw this coming: Paul the Octopus dies at 2

The English-born ‘mystic mollusk’ is found dead in his aquarium in Germany, having surpassed his life expectancy.

'Psychic' Paul the Octopus rose to fame after predicting eight World Cup results correctly - with less than a 0.4% chance of doing so by fluke.
'Psychic' Paul the Octopus rose to fame after predicting eight World Cup results correctly - with less than a 0.4% chance of doing so by fluke.
Image: Mark Keppler/AP

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY of clairvoyant sea creatures is in devastated shock this morning at the news that its figurehead, ‘Psychic’ Paul the Octopus, has been found dead in his tank at an aquarium in Oberhausen.

Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine reports that Paul, who was born in England in January 2008, was discovered dead this morning, presumed to have passed away last night. Foul play has been ruled out.

At 33 months, Paul – an octopus vulgaris, or ‘common octopus’ – had beaten the average life expectancy of such creatures by a few months. His relative old age had led the management at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen to put him into ‘retirement’ after this summer’s World Cup.

It was during the tournament that he had risen to fame – having reportedly correctly ‘predicted’ all but one of Germany’s results at the European Championships in 2008, staff at Sea Life would lower two perspex ‘baskets’ – each containing a single mussel – emblazoned with the flags of each of two teams participating in a certain game.

Paul successfully ‘predicted’ the results of all seven of Germany’s matches – including, controversially, its 4-1 win over his country of birth, as well as its semi-final defeat to eventual winners Spain, whose finale victory over the Netherlands was also successfully ‘predicted’.

By the laws of probability, you could have guessed the results without psychic influence – though the chances of doing so are one in 256.

“Management and staff of the Oberhausen Sea Life Aquarium were devastated when Paul was found dead this morning,” the aquarium said in a statement, adding that it would erect a small monument to him.

Der Spiegel adds that many Germans, disappointed with his perceived influence over the semi-final loss to Spain, had wanted to turn Paul into calamari – but the aquarium plans to cremate the mollusk later this week.

His predictions could continue beyond the grave, however – a Russian newspaper claims it had Paul predict which of prime minister Vladimir Putin or president Dmitry Medvedev (who will not oppose each other, they say) would seek the presidential nomination in their country in 2012.

His prediction in that matter, it said, would remain unrevealed until 2012.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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