This morning I heard some very sad news that I couldn’t bring my sea creature-loving self to believe. My favorite animal of the summer, Paul the Octopus, has died at the ripe old age of 2-and-a-half. Steffan Porwoll, a manager at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre in Germany where Paul lived and made his famous predictions, said that “[Paul] appears to passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes,” which should let all fans of Pulpo Paul find some comfort in his untimely passing. Of course, this has only proven to be excellent fodder for conspiracy theorists — and a certain filmmaker is speculating other reasons behind his death.
Jiang Xiao, a Chinese filmmaker, spent the summer in South Africa to film a “comic suspense” film under the title “The Legend of World Cup,” until she, like so many of us, was taken by Paul’s accurate predictions. Instead of making a film about the World Cup, Jiang chose to just focus on Paul’s predictions, renaming her film “Kill Paul Octopus.” Being the sole filmmaker documenting Paul’s psychic abilities, her expertise on his life is being called upon following his death. Jiang told the Guardian that she was “60 to 70 percent sure that Paul had died on July 9th and the Germans have been covering up his death and fooling us for a long time.” She declined to explain why she believes that Paul died in July — all her Paul-related beliefs will be revealed in her movie, naturally — but instead points to how easy it would be for the public to be duped by Paul’s death and subsequent cover up. “[Octopuses] all look the same. It is impossible to tell the difference.” As true as that may be, I don’t want to believe that an imposter Paul made the World Cup final prediction — or that his aquarium would do something like that.
For those Paul lovers hoping to commemorate his death, a condolence section has been set up on his Facebook page, and the Sea Life Centre will be honoring his life with a burial plot and modest permanent shrine on their grounds. Porwoll acknowledges that this might seem a bit much, but pointed out, “Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action.” And for all sports gamblers dependent on Paul’s picks, fret not, apparently there is another octopus waiting in the wings, hoping to have as much success in picking sports winners. His name, of course, is Paul.
PopWatchers, will you be watching Jiang Xiao’s movie if it ever gets released? Do you think the world will ever experience the “psychic abilities” of another animal?