World Cup soccer's psychic octopus dies

Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:30pm EDT
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By Michelle Martin

BERLIN (Reuters) - Paul, the oracle octopus who shot to fame in the World Cup this summer for his uncanny ability to predict the results of Germany's soccer matches, has died at his home in Oberhausen at the age of two.

English-born Paul made headlines across the globe after he correctly forecast how Germany would fare in seven matches, before his psychic powers were tested again for the final.

After Germany's semi-final defeat, Paul tipped Spain to beat the Netherlands in the final, which prompted one news agency to report he had spurred a jump in demand for Spanish government bonds. Paul's prediction duly came to pass: Spain won.

Staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in western Germany said in a statement they were "devastated" to learn of Paul's death when they returned to work on Tuesday.

"He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes, and we are consoled by the knowledge that he enjoyed a good life," said the centre's manager Stefan Porwoll.

Before matches, two containers of food were placed in the eight-legged creature's tank, each one bearing the flag of one of the teams about to compete for their chance to become world champions. The container Paul picked first was seen as his pick.

Following the World Cup, a Spanish zoo made a transfer bid for Paul but his German keepers refused to sell.

Paul will be kept in cold storage until the center decides how to mark the mollusc's extraordinary life, Porwoll added.   Continued...

<p>Two year-old octopus Paul, the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Spain's 2010 soccer World Cup final victory over The Netherlands by choosing a mussel, from a glass box decorated with the Spanish national flag instead of a glass box with the Dutch flag, at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen July 9, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>