Psychic Paul the Octopus Dies at Age Two

Carole McFaddan

The gambling legend of 2010 World Cup Soccer [Futbol], Paul the Octopus, died on Tuesday, October 26, 2010. Paul the Octopus was a common octopus hatched in January 2008 in Weymouth, England, at the Sea Life Centre. He was then moved to a tank in one of the chain’s centers in Oberhausen, Germany. Paul became internationally famous this summer during the 2010 World Cup for correctly predicting the winner of Germany’s seven matches, as well as the final World Cup Match.

Paul had reached the octopus old age of 2 1/2 years and passed away in his Oberhausen, Germany tank on Tuesday morning at the Sea Life aquarium. The octopus correctly tipped the outcome of all seven of Germany’s games at the 2010 World Cup games. Paul’s predictions were designed so that he was presented with two boxes containing a mussel in each box, which was marked on the outside with the flag of a national football team in an upcoming match. The first mussel Paul ate in a box showing a particular flag indicated his prediction of who would win.

Paul and his aquarium caretakers used this method when he predicted Germany’s win in four of six Euro 2008 matches, and in all seven of Germany’s matches in the 2010 World Cup. He correctly selected a win for Spain against the Netherlands in the World Cup final on 11 July by eating the mussel in the box with the Spanish flag on it. His “predictions” were 100%, 8 for 8, correct for the 2010 World Cup and 86%, 12 for 14, correct overall. Under the hypothesis that Paul was equally likely to choose the winner or the loser of a match, he had a 1 of 2 chance of predicting any single result and a 1/256 chance of predicting eight in a row.

Paul was retired by his caretakers after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. After rising to global prominence during the World Cup in South Africa, he retired from the predictions business after the final and returned to his primary role of intriguing aquarium visitors. After Paul’s World Cup physic skills were revealed, the English-born Paul was appointed as an ambassador to England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

The octopus seemed to be in good shape when he was checked late Monday October 25, but he did not make it through the night. He died of natural causes Tuesday morning. The aquarium has not yet decided how best to commemorate their most famous resident. Contemplation of cremation and a personal burial plot within the aquarium’s grounds and the erection of a modest permanent shrine are in the works. Although Paul’s burial is still in question, his name will live on the Greek island of Zakynthos where a sea turtle rescue center is being established and funded in part by donations generating from the famous octopus.