Paul, the great soothsayer and tentacled cephalopod mollusk, an octopus of English origin who predicted the winning team in the World Cup in South Africa, Spain, has died. He did not live to fulfill his role as the newly appointed ambassador to England’s bid for the World Cup. His beady eyes will no longer spot mussels, and his eight twisting tentacles will no longer grab boxes.
According to the Associated Press, he died at the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen at the age of 2 ½ years. He leaves no known survivors except a myriad of World Cup fans who rooted his predictions. He will be remembered by his name, and a shrine is planned to be built on a small burial plot at Sea Life.
Paul was also a philanthropist and a good friend to sea turtles. In Zakynthos, a Greek island, a sea turtle rescue center is being funded from donations generated by the octopus.
Paul also had a friend in Henry the Hexapus, a cephalopod with a natal biological anomaly– six arms. According to National Geographic, Henry was found swimming in North Wales and held in captivity at the Blackpool Sea Life Center in England. Henry did not display any oracular abilities during the World Cup. He was named after King Henry VIII and his six wives.
But Paul was a real-life hero, not a movie star like Flipper, the extraordinary dolphin from the hit 1963 movie. A year later, the dolphin had a series lately syndicated on TV Land. The role of Flipper was played by various female dolphins. Flipper appeared twice on the cover of TV Guide.
If Paul had lived, perhaps he could have made it to Hollywood.
There were imitators of Paul’s legacy, such as Mani the parakeet in Singapore, who allegedly is the clairvoyant assistant to her master, M. Muniyappan, since 2005. But she predicted the wrong country to win the World Cup in 2010 by choosing the Netherlands.
Paul’s namesake is from a children’s book: Der Tintenfisch Paul Oktopus,written by Boy Lornsen. It is about an ink-blot octopus.
His namesake will continue in print, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. There is even an application on Facebook en español. He will be remembered by all invertebrates and vertebrates around the world.
Six-Legged Hexapus Discovered. National Geographic.com
Barry, Ric and Keith Coulbourn, “Behind the Dolphin Smile” Renaissance Books, 2000.
Mani, the parakeet. Washington Post.com
Kehe, Marjorie. Paul the Octopus: how he got his name. Christian Science Monitor.com
Stercevic, Nesha. Paul, the Predicting Octopus Dies. The Associated Press.