2011 Psychic Predictions … Revisited

Early in 2011 we examined the Psychic predictions of Mr. John Gold, one of Australia’s most respected psychics.

Mr Gold was notable for making some quite specific predictions for the year ahead, which would have been sensational had they panned out.

Usually psychics will throw out a bunch of generic and non-specific “predictions” which can easily be retrofitted to reality later … but not Mr Gold. He went out on a series of impressive limbs with specific events and specific times.

If even half of those predictions had come true, we might have had a serious contender for the Australian Skeptics’ $100,000 challenge.

We are now one year down the track, and it’s definitely worth our time to  examine the predictions and see how Mr. Gold did.

Results below the fold.

Mr. Gold made 18 specific predictions on 15 different situations. We’ll give each set a mark out of ten, taking into account how impressive the prediction is, over and above what might have been tipped by the average person-on-the-street. (Or person-on-the-internet).

1. Oprah Winfrey will announce her intention to enter politics.

Not a great start. Oprah didn’t make any announcement of this sort in 2011.

Score: 0/10

(I’ve left aside Mr. Gold’s accompanying predictions of Oprah’s 2012 Senate run and 2016 US Presidential election. There might be some opportunity for him to get some points back there.)

2. Europe will slide back into full-blown recession, resulting in four countries requiring bail-outs by the IMF.

Everyone was predicting recession for Europe in 2011, so this wasn’t a particularly interesting prediction. Even so, it hasn’t (officially) happened, and the IMF hasn’t stepped in with a bailout. But things didn’t improve either, so we could generously argue that Mr. Gold was leaning in the right direction.

Score: 2/10

3. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, will be sacked Feb-Mar 2011. He will be unable to avoid jail despite his billions.

Berlusconi did leave the Prime Ministership in 2011, so we have a partial hit there. But he resigned rather than got sacked, and the dates are wrong (he resigned in November). There’s also no word of any jail sentence.

Score: 2/10

4. Julian Assange will be sentenced to a lengthy term (possibly life) in a US prison on espionage charges.

This didn’t happen, despite being a general expectation at the end of 2010.

Score: 0/10

5. The Catholic church will once again be embroiled in scandal involving child abuse, but this time it may well prove to be the downfall of Pope Benedict XVI, as further accusations of his inaction are brought to the surface by English media.

Predicting ongoing child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church is like predicting the sun will rise tomorrow, so there’s nothing very impressive there. In terms of the effect on the current Pope, Mr. Gold has chosen the weasel words “may prove to be …” rather than anything specific. As such, it’s only a guess. And as it turned out, an inaccurate one.

Score: 1/10

6. Osama bin Laden will be captured sometime between July and October, 2011. He is likely to meet with an unfortunate and deadly “accident” whilst in custody awaiting trial.

Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011, so this is pretty close. However, he was killed in a non-accidental fashion during the capture operation, so technically never even made it to custody.

Score: 6/10

7. An earthquake will rock the east coast of Australia between Christmas Day and January 20.

No, but there were some significant floods.

Score: 2/10

8. Another tsunami will wreak havoc in Indonesia resulting in massive loss of life.

There was a major tsunami, but it devastated a different country. As a side note, a tsunami warning was issued for Indonesia as a result of the Japanese earthquake in March, but it had petered out to almost nothing by the time it arrived.

Score: 4/10

9. Also in Indonesia, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be overthrown by members of his own party.

Nope. He’s still in power today.

Score: 0/10

10. Federal Australian Liberal shadow treasurer Joe Hockey will prove to be a formidable and masterful political animal, making life extremely uncomfortable for Prime Minister Gillard.

This is another none-too-specific prediction, and one that could have been made by just about anyone. While there was a fair amount of discomfort caused to Gillard by the Coalition in 2011, Hockey’s political animalia didn’t cause nearly as much grief as Abbott’s did.

Score: 2/10

11. PM Kevin Rudd is working feverishly behind the scenes mustering support for another tilt at the top job sometime in late 2011.

No-one would have been surprised if this happened sometime in 2011. And there were some rumblings about this in the latter part of the year, but a leadership challenge didn’t actually eventuate.

Score: 2/10

12. Treasurer Wayne Swan will increase the GST from 10% to 12½%.


Score: 0/10

13. Cricket tragic and former Prime Minister John Howard will be considered for a job in sports administration at an international level.

This prediction followed Mr. Howard’s nomination (and rejection) for the Vice Presidency of the International Cricket Council back in 2010. He may have been considered for some other post in 2011, but it obviously wasn’t big enough news to be reported anywhere.

Score: 0/10

14. A long-established Gold Coast councillor will announce his resignation.

Not one single Gold Coast City Councillor has resigned since their election in 2008. The current council list here matches precisely with the 2008 election results here.

Score: 0/10

15. Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke will announce his resignation, probably citing ill-health as the reason behind it.

Cr Clarke is still Mayor of the Gold Coast today and, by all accounts, in good health.

Score: 0/10

And that’s it. Out of a possible 150 points Mr. Gold scored just 21 points, giving a less-than-impressive 14%.

Mr. Gold also completely missed a few big events. One might be tempted to ask why these managed to drift past the psychic radar:

  • Revolutions and demonstrations across the Middle East, marking the “Arab Spring”.
  • In July, gunman Anders Breivik’s killing spree in Norway, resulting in the deaths of 77 people.
  • The USA got dangerously close to defaulting on its debt.
  • The deaths of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Apple boss Steve Jobs, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il.
  • And in November, the (possible) discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos.

That’s a lot of big news to miss.

Still, we wish Mr Gold better luck next time. If his scores improve, he could yet be in line for the Australian Skeptics’ $100,000 Paranormal Challenge!

Matt (with thanks to Ken)

6 Responses to 2011 Psychic Predictions … Revisited

  1. terrykelly3 says:

    One thing that IS easy to predict is that “psychics” predictions will mostly turn out to be pathetically inaccurate.
    You can also predict that they won’t announce their failures.
    You can also predict that most of the public and media will forget their failures and they’ll make public more hopeless predictions the next year.
    You can also predict that if they do happen to fluke the odd “hit” that they will often make a big deal out of it.

  2. Terry Kelly says:

    Predictably pathetic predictions.

  3. keng2 says:

    Thanks Matt, for this analysis. Scoring Mr Gould’s overall performance is a very subjective thing, but it’s hard to imagine any approach which takes ALL his predictions for 2011 into account giving him a “thumbs up”.

    However, with the right amount of selective memory and willingness to hype hits, to ignore misses, and to overlook detail, an ardent follower might claim that Gould accurately predicted the political demise of Berlusconi, the death of Osama Bin Laden and even a major tsunami.

    My own prediction is that he’ll probably do better in 2012 :)

  4. Excellent.

    I think if you do this again for 2012 you should add a control, with the predictions of some (hopefully ;)) not psychic people to compare to his score.

    • Matt says:

      That’s a really good idea Jeremy! I’ll see if we can set something like that up …
      Care to kick off with some predictions of your own? :-)

  5. I’m not a very good psychic. I only scored 84.6% for 2011 (although as I didn’t know about the Van Halen reunion tour when I wrote the article I’m prepared to adjust upwards to 92.3%)


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