Death, taxes, and failed psychic predictions: tabloid psychics fail again in 2002 – News and Comment

Gene Emery

The Super Bowl will be cancelled after the first half of play. People will be able to go back in time, although there won’t be any way to bring them back home. Psychic forecasts for 2003? Nope.

Those are events that were supposed to come true in 2002, according to the supermarket tabloids whose editors say they gathered the forecasts from some of the world’s best psychics.

Actually, psychics and astrologers seem to have fallen on tough times recently. The September 11 terrorist attacks graphically illustrated that people who claim to have psychic powers are frauds or are deluding themselves. Witness the fact that nobody predicted the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, otherwise thousands of deaths would have been averted.

As a result, most of the tabloids that still publish forecasts have now resorted to using “psychics” who may not even exist. They don’t show up on Internet search engines. That turns our to be true for the Sun and Weekly World News. The best known tabloid, the National Enquirer, gave up its tradition of publishing beginning-of-the-year psychic predictions a few years ago.

One exception was the January 8, 2002, edition of the Star, where Kenny Kingston, a real person, made not-surprising, often-vague, or frequently unconfirmable forecasts on twenty celebrities. (For example, he predicted that “a secret trial separation is ahead for Barbra [Streisand] and hubby James Brolin.” If it’s secret, how are we supposed to confirm it?) He said Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley would marry, and that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire would be cancelled. But his Martha Stewart prediction made no mention of her stock market scandal, and he said Hillary Clinton will be “much in the headlines with a scandal that will rival anything involving her husband Bill.”

The latest batch of predictions did not forecast the Florida election fiasco, Jimmy Carter winning the Nobel Peace Prize, or the Maryland sniper case. Instead, the tabloid psychics were saying that in 2002:

* Satan would be discovered working in a homeless shelter, reading to the blind and delivering Meals on Wheels.

* The Super Bowl would be cancelled after the first half because team owners would refuse to cough up an extra $10,000 for each player.

* A time tunnel would be created to allow people to make a one-way trip back into rime. (A way to make the return trip is supposed to be discovered in 2006.)

The accuracy of the other tabloid forecasts made at the beginning of 2002 can’t be judged because the psychics never said when the predictions will come to pass.

For example, the “world’s top psychics and seers” said in the Sun that Prince Charles will marry Camilla ParkerBowles in a royal shotgun wedding, the U.S. capital will move to Wichita, a gorilla fluent in sign language will lead a new religion, Elvis will be found buried next to Princess Di, animal performances will be banned, and Dick Clark will become a much-lauded ballet dancer. But they don’t say when.

That means Clark, Prince Charles, and Parker-Bowles will have to die before it becomes certain that these “psychics” were incorrect.

Annual tracking of the tabloids and their sometimes-silly predictions gives consumers a reality check and shows them that psychics, when put to the test, can’t live up to their claims.

Gene Emery is a science writer and long-time SKEPTICAL INQUIRER contributor.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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