INTO THE HANDS OF PAUL THE OCTOPUS – Beyond the ‘magic’ of psychic Paul’s results: the truth of color!

July 11, 2010

Paul the octopus correctly predicted the result of the match Uruguay vs. Germany. Coincidence? FIFA rankings tell the story!


 Some football experts believe that ‘Paul the Octopus’ at the Sea Life aquarium, Oberhausen – Germany – became the true star of the FIFA World Cup tournament 2010. His fame was established by predicting correctly the outcome of all 7 World Cup matches played by Germany + the final. But how revealing are psychic Paul’s results really?

[tweetmeme source=”handresearch” only_single=false] Paul started his ‘track record’ at the Euro football championships 2008 by predicting correctly 4 out of 6 of the matches played by Germany. Combined with the 2010 World Championships Paul’s results look quite impressive: 12 out 14 predictions were to be correct.

Germany’s football results are not surprizing! 

Anyone who follows international football knows that Germany has a pretty impressive track record at World Championships – by fact: Germany won the FIFA World Cup title three times. 

However,  the FIFA World Rankings are much more revealing!  Actually, anyone who choose to bet his money simply on the team with the highest ranking had an excellent result. For, out of the 13 games played by Germany the FIFA ranking correctly predicted the outcome of 11 matches. Exactly the same result as the ‘performance’ of our 8-armed friend!

And the same pattern is true for Paul’s only match where Germany was not involved: Paul correctly choose Spain in favourite of The Netherlands – but the FIFA World Ranking was a reliable predictor again as well!


Did Sea Life fool Oberhausen the footbal world?

No, there is no reaon to blame Sealife for sharing Paul’s predictions. But one can observe a very clear ‘pattern’ in Paul’s predictions: during the 2008 tournament Paul choose always Germany, and basically he continued this pattern during the 2010 tournament – with only 2 exceptions. 

Why did Paul so many times choose Germany? First of all, octopuses are known for their high intelligence, including an excellent short- and longterm memory. So, that could easily explain why Germany was chosen by Paul so many times: in 11 out 13 games.

And on top of that it is likely that Paul made his choices due to certain aspects of the stimuli that were presented to him. But beyond the colors of the German flag, it is hard to find any color pattern in Paul’s choices, exept… that in 13 out of 14 choices made by Paul the lower half of the chosen flag is lighter than the upper half. 

For example:

The most surprizing prediction made by Paul was the loss of Germany against Serbia (2010) and Croatia (2008). Could the flags of Serbia and Croatia provide a ‘clue’ about why Paul was attracted to these flags? You can decide yourself…




Why did Paul chose for Serbia above Germany, but prefered Germany instead of Croatia? The theory of the ‘lighter lower half’ provides an answer. Coincidence? 

Though this theory doesn’t explain why Paul choose  different results for the two matches between Germany & Spain: but Paul predicted only one of those matches correct. Likely an unsolvable puzzle…  

Psychic Paul’s final prediction!

Regarding Paul’s final prediction for the final – if Paul is indeed attracted by the flag with the ‘lighter lower half’, how revealing is it really that Paul correctly choose Spain as the winner of the tournament? The flag of The Netherlands has a ‘lighter UPPER half’.




Remember, according the FIFA World Rankings Spain had to win the tournament!

So, even BEFORE the final match between The Netherlands and Spain is played – we already knew that Paul’s predictions on the matches would not be able beat the expected outcome of those matches according the FIFA World Rankings.

And while ‘flag color’ predicted the correct outcome of 13 out of 14 matches, of course any relationship between flag color and football results … is based on a ‘spurious’ correlation!!!

So, it would be rather foolish to use this color theory presented in this article as a new predictor for the next world champion.

Your thoughts are welcome… by the way, experts say that an octopus has 6 arms and 2 legs!!


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6 Responses to “INTO THE HANDS OF PAUL THE OCTOPUS – Beyond the ‘magic’ of psychic Paul’s results: the truth of color!”

  1. […] FOR FURTHER READING: • Let’s shake hands with the hand fish! • Into the hands of ‘Paul the Octopus’! • The mystery of the five fingers! • Five things that your 5 fingers can tell you! • The […]

  2. well renowned sceptic Says:

    ignore the last – the initial paragraph is wrong. My mistake – the statements about human psyche and its constant search for unknown answers stands though… and I do direct this regarding the belief in palm reading too; we cannot know the future, irrespective of howsoever we wish it to be true. For every one or two that it correct, there is equally another one or two incorrect.

    • handfacts Says:

      Hello ‘well renowned sceptic’,

      Speaking about human ‘human psyche’ – maybe your idea of being a ‘sceptic’ is making you read things that are not really there. For, the full post was an attempt to actually describe why Paul’s results are very likely ONLY COINCIDENCE!!!

      Strange. Somehow, your second writing indicates that you noticed that you made a mistake … but then you continued to make a likewise comment – obvious you’ve assumed that palm reading is about ‘predicting the future’. But if you would take a moment to read a bit more of the materials at this blog, you should notice that NONE of these materials support the idea that one can know the future through palm reading.

      So, basically, I think your comment only illustrates how even a ‘sceptic’ can easily live with misperceptions.

      I hope you understand. Thank you for your comment anyway! 😉

  3. well renowned sceptic Says:

    I just can’t believe you gullible fools think there was anything in this beside coincidence. The amount of other supposedly psychic animals making predictions within this world cup shows that people will grasp any remote possibility that they can ‘foresee’ the future, irrespective of how naive a vision that is. humankind has always striven for a link to the future, in an attempt to control or hopefully understand what is in fact beyond them. It is similar to the mass necessity for religion and manifests itself in utterly ludicrous claims from things which cannot be backed up.
    Had this been a legitimate scientific experiment, there would have been numerous controls and conditions met, but instead it was a little bit of fun, which far too many people took too seriously.
    Lighten up, accept it as the shallow entertainment which it most clearly is, and now move on with your next step.
    Let’s face it as well, if the keepers really thought there was anything in this, do you not think they would keep it going and make some money out of it? No, they have had some exposure, it will draw in additional visitors, and once Paul has expired, and in time for the next world cup/election/(insert other major international event here) there will be the next “psychic” entity brought to the fore.

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