You can only imagine the kind of jokes that are surfacing over a famous octopus that’s been featured in recent news stories. All kidding aside perhaps the news flourishing around Paul, the psychic octopus, will be enough for more people to believe that animals may have some sort of psychic abilities. These abilities seem to range from predicting events or illnesses to knowing when an owner will arrive home. Parapsychologist Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine of Duke University coined the term, “anpsi,” to refer to the psychic abilities animals seem to possess.
Paul is the octopus from the Aquarium Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany that has successfully predicted the outcome of each of the 6 matches of the German soccer team in the World Cup. Paul’s skills even included predicting Germany’s loss to Spain in the semi-finals. He has actually predicted the outcomes of 12 games and has only gotten 2 wrong, which is an 83% accuracy rate. Not too bad for a small cephalopod. The way Paul makes his predictions is simple. He selects mussels from one of two glass cubes decorated with the respective teams’ national flags and whichever he picks will be the winner. Now this isn’t a well designed scientific experiment to produce documented proof of what might be happening with Paul, but it has to make you stop and think for a moment.
My reason for highlighting this story is mostly to add it to the long list of animal behaviors that may expand the way we look into areas we don’t have all the answers to. Take Oscar, the cat, in the Rhode Island nursing home that uses his sixth sense to predict the death of a patient or the family dog that growls at midair as if there’s an intruder visible only to the dog. There are always stories in the media of lost dogs or cats that track their owners thousands of miles, through unknown territory, to somehow find and reconnect with them. Many dogs and cats also seem exhibit strange behavior just before earthquakes.
How do all of these animals seem to know things like death or geological events are going to happen before they actually do? We’ve all heard these stories or experienced them first hand yet what does it all mean? What do you think it means? We’d love to hear your thoughts on psychic animals and what experiences you’ve had.