Psychic Predictions, Past and Future
The Alibi's resident skeptic cashes in a few bets
By Benjamin Radford
On Dec. 14, 2009, I wrote a list of 15 predictions for 2010, published in the Alibi. Having investigated mysterious and unexplained phenomena for more than a decade, I actually have a documented history of accuracy. In fact, my success rate for 2008 was about 90 percent. As 2010 came to a close, I thought it was time to dust off my forecasts to see how I fared.
Julia Minamat www.juliaminamata.com
Most of my predictions were quite specific, not just vague, untestable guesses like “next year will be difficult for some people.” Here is the list of my 2010 predictions:
1) A senior official in the Obama administration will come under fire for sexist or racist comments but will remain in office.
PARTLY RIGHT. In January, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid came under fire for racist statements he made, including that Barack Obama achieved the presidency because he is “light-skinned” and has “no Negro dialect.” He apologized and remained in office.
2) A famine will break out in or near Eritrea, causing a call for global food aid.
RIGHT. Eight million people nearly starved in Niger, a country near Eritrea not known for famine, beginning in March. The United Nations and other groups issued pleas for food and aid.
3) The U.S. housing market will begin to recover by March, and the stock market will significantly improve by the end of 2010.
RIGHT. The U.S. housing market experienced a significant (1.1 percent) rebound in March. According to the Dec. 16 edition of the Wall Street Journal, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 41.78 points ... its highest closing level since Sept. 8, 2008. ... U.S. stocks hit fresh two-year closing highs Thursday following generally upbeat economic data.”
4) A “Columbine-style” school shooting may occur (or be planned) in April or early May.
PARTLY RIGHT. In March, teenager Charles Mustoe was charged with first-degree attempted premeditated murder in connection with an aborted “Columbine-style school shooting” that was to have occurred on April 20, 2011.
5) U.S. Troops will be reduced but won’t fully withdraw from Iraq. Afghanistan and Pakistan will be more of a security concern than Iraq.
RIGHT. According to BBC News, the number of U.S. troops in Iraq has now fallen below 50,000, down from 120,000 in January 2010.
6) A former world leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient will die.
RIGHT. Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University scientist who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, died on July 19. He was a world leader in climate change research and advised every presidential administration from Nixon to Obama.
7) The period August through November may be marked by major conflicts in the world power struggle.
RIGHT. August through November saw many major conflicts in world power struggles, including a string of attacks in Iraqi cities that left at least 53 people dead and more than 270 injured (Aug. 25); suicide bombs in Lahore, Pakistan (Sept. 1); and an attempted government coup in Madagascar (Nov. 17).
8) The weather will be milder than usual in the Southwest.
RIGHT. New Mexico and the Southwest experienced generally mild weather in 2010, with no natural disasters and few record-breaking weather extremes.
9) A famous athlete or performer will be forced to publicly admit that he fathered a child out of wedlock.
RIGHT. Married Brazilian athlete Ronaldo, the best-known soccer player in the world, admitted to being the father of a 5-year-old boy born in Japan, following a DNA test.
10) A group or cluster of suicides in Germany, Japan or the American Midwest will leave about a dozen people dead, probably in the summer or fall.
PARTLY RIGHT. In March, three Pennsylvanians teenagers participated in a group suicide pact. Two were killed by a train and one backed out at the last second.
11) In July, a missing woman or girl in New England who was believed to have been kidnapped will be found safe. The abduction report will turn out to have been a hoax.
RIGHT. Maryanne Morin of Portland, Maine, claimed in July that she had been abducted while jogging and raped by five black men. She later admitted that she’d made the story up. At the same time, a 3-year-old child was reported kidnapped in the area. That abduction also turned out to be a hoax.
12) A former TV star will die in November or December from an incurable disease.
RIGHT. Beloved actor Leslie Nielsen, who appeared in films and on television for more than 50 years, died Nov. 28 from complications of pneumonia.
13) A major city in either India or Indonesia will be targeted for terrorist bombings.
RIGHT. On Feb. 13, terrorists bombed Pune, India (the largest city in the Western Ghats); 17 people were killed and at least 60 were injured.
14) A well-known comedian or comic actor will commit suicide, shocking fans across the country.
PARTLY RIGHT. This prediction could apply to two people: “Last Comic Standing” host and Comedy Central comedian Greg Giraldo died on Sept. 29 of a drug overdose; and in January, Howard Stern’s comedian sidekick Artie Lange tried to kill himself (but survived).
15) New Mexico psychics will not provide any useful information in helping find the West Mesa serial killer.
RIGHT: As of the end of 2010, Albuquerque police had not found the West Mesa serial killer, and in fact stated explicitly that information provided by psychics had been wrong and useless.
So how did I do? About 86 percent, depending on how you calculate it. I got 13 right. If you count the half-right predictions as good enough, my accuracy is perfect. Even if you deduct a full point for not getting some parts of the predictions exactly right, that still leaves me with an impressive 73 percent, an accuracy rate I’ll put up against any psychic. I am available for private psychic readings and parties for a reasonable fee.
Benjamin Radford’s 2011 Predictions
(Made on Dec. 24, 2010)
• A devastating earthquake or landslide will strike South America around the middle of the year, probably near Peru or Chile.
• A beloved Nobel Prize winning former head of state will die, the funeral attended by current presidents from around the world.
• A series of mysterious UFO reports over China or Russia will make headlines, but aliens will not make themselves known.
• WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be cleared of sex crime charges.
• A serial killer with a Biblical name will be caught, either in California or in a Southern state.
• Around May or June, America will be riveted by a child’s disappearance, but the mother will eventually be arrested for the crime.
• Teens will be exposed to increased sex and violence on television, but teen pregnancy and violent crime will remain the same or decline.
• Martinez’ administration will start off well but become involved in a financial scandal around September or October.
• Farmers in Texas will endure some of the worst droughts in recent years.
• A railroad tanker car laden with a noxious chemical will derail, causing the evacuation of a small town in the deep South.
• A member of a popular “boy band” will be accused of sexually assaulting a fan.
• A contestant on a reality or game show (maybe “Survivor” or “Dancing With the Stars”) will have a life-threatening health scare but will survive.
• Jack Nicholson will have a severe health scare and possibly die.
• A musician who played with Bruce Springsteen will die, either from a drug overdose or a disease.
• New Mexico’s economy will continue to improve, though the housing market will not recover significantly until very late in the year.
• Another Wall Street financial scandal will cost investors millions of dollars, though it will not be as big as Enron.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Benjamin Radford is a columnist for LiveScience.com and Discovery News, as well as managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. His new book, Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries , is available at better Albuquerque bookstores.
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