Psychic Octopus Search Undertaken By German Aquarium
It's not every day you meet a psychic octopus like the one that predicted eight World Cup wins in a row last summer, but that isn't stopping a German aquarium chain from trying.
In honor of the Women's World Cup, which begins June 26 in Sinsheim, Germany, the Sea Life aquarium chain is looking for the next incarnation of Paul, the octopus who amazed the world by correctly predicting the results of Germany’s matches in the 2010 World Cup, according to TheLocal.de.
Each of the country’s eight aquariums will have one of its octopuses predict the competition’s results by picking a mussel to eat from one of two containers with the competing countries’ flags, just as Paul did.
The cephalopod with the most correct predictions will be officially deemed Paul’s successor, but that lucky octopus will have big shoes to feel.
Last summer, Paul went an incredible eight for eight, predicting all of Germany's wins and its lost to Spain in the finals, an incredible feat for a human and even more amazing for a seemingly non-sentient sea creature.
As a result, Paul became, perhaps, the most memorable figure from the 2010 World Cup. In the process, he attracted thousands of people to his aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany, as well as death threats from soccer fans angry about his predictions, and inspired songs and even a documentary, The LIfe And Times Of Paul The Octopus, before he died last Oct. 26 at the age of 2 years, 8 months.
"If you look back on how octopuses have been treated throughout history, Paul was truly the first friendly one," said filmmaker Alexandre Philippe, who is looking to release his documentary later this year. "I am surprised he didn't inspire 1,000 other documentary filmmakers. It's the perfect story about viral fame."
Philippe is skeptical that the other octopi can match his feat, but understands why the aquarium owners are trying.
"Whenever magic happens, people try to repeat it," he told AOL Weird News. "Like when 'Avatar' was a hit, everyone went to 3D."
Bob Burhans, the curator at SeaLife Carlsbad Aquarium, which is in the same chain as the one where Paul lived, doesn't know if cephalopods are really psychic, but he's impressed with their overall intelligence.
"They are about as smart as dogs," Burhand said. "We put some food in a bottle in order to see how long they would need to open it. The first day, it took 15 minutes. The second day, it took five and they're doing it much faster."
Crystal Kranz, who also works at the aquarium, won't speculate on if any of the challengers for Paul's paranormal crown will match his eight for eight record, but she predicts a win for the octopi in general.
"Paul really raised awareness about these great creatures and is attracting more people to aquariums like ours where we can educate them," she said.