BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Some Germans are calling for a public roasting of the oracle octopus who correctly picked the winner of all six of their national soccer team’s World Cup matches -- including a bitter defeat to Spain on Wednesday.
Paul, a two-year-old octopus in a German aquarium, turned into a global celebrity for his uncanny ability to predict the winner of all Germany’s matches -- even a group stage defeat to Serbia and an ousting by Spain in the semi-finals.
“Nothing beats grilled octopus,” said Dolores Lusch, a Germany fan who works on a Berlin fish stall. “Cut him up in thin slices and grill him on all sides with a dash of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic on it. Delicious!”
Not an ordinarily superstitious people, Germans became believers in Paul’s possible psychic powers. The country was shocked and distraught when he picked Spain to win after tipping German wins over Argentina, England, Ghana and Australia.
German newspapers and websites were filled with suggestions of what to do with Paul -- most involved cooking and eating him.
“Throw him in the frying pan,” wrote the Berliner Kurier newspaper in a popular sentiment echoed by Die Welt, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the Hamburger Abendblatt and other newspapers.
Paul’s picks have become news across Germany and around the world. German networks have had live reports on Paul’s picks.
On Friday, Paul will tip the winner of Saturday’s Germany-Uruguay match for third place as well as the winner of the Spain-Netherlands final on Sunday. Networks in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands are planning live coverage.
The octopus, considered by some to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates, gets the choice of picking food from two different transparent containers lowered into his tank -- one with a German flag on it and one with the opponent’s flag.
The container Paul opens first is regarded as his pick.
Media attention over Paul’s picks in Germany and abroad has grown exponentially and some commentators even wondered aloud whether his improbable winning streak might have begun to influence some of the more superstitious players.
Despite the antipathy toward Paul, Sea Life spokeswoman Tanja Munzig said Paul has a bright future at his home in Oberhausen.
“Nothing bad will happen to Paul,” she said. “No one wishes him ill-will. Paul has had a great run.”
Munzig added that Paul’s career might go on.
“We’ve had some enquiries about his future,” she said.
Additional reporting by Anne Gonschorek and Katharina Serwuschok, editing by Paul Casciato