Psychic Challenge 2012

Our post on Psychic Predictions for 2011 proved to be very popular, so we’ve done it again for 2012.

This time, instead of simply looking at the results of one psychic, we’re going to pit a self-identified psychic against a group of self-identified skeptics, and see who has the better result!

Our psychic is Kathy Messenger, who got in touch with us via Facebook following our 2011 article.

Our skeptics are TJ, Ricky and Leon*, who answered the call on Facebook to provide some non-psychic predictions.

So what were the results?

Psychic Kathy’s predictions for 2012:

1. Julia Gillard steps down in May.
Kevin Rudd did launch a leadership challenge in late February, but it didn’t amount to much. And Julia’s still in.
Score: 0

2. England gets a new King in August.
Score: 0

3. NASA announces a back-up plan in the form of a mission to a new planet.
The wording here is a little ambiguous. Does a ‘new planet’ mean one of Kepler’s newly-discovered exoplanets? NASA didn’t announce any such plans, although SpaceX founder Elon Musk did announce a plan to send 80,000 people to Mars. So there definitely was some movement in this area.
Score: ½

4. Kuala Lumpa has a major earthquake in July/August.
There was a tsunami alert in April following an earthquake in the Indian ocean and in June an earthquake in Sumatra was felt in KL, but nothing in July or August.
Score: 0

5. An aeroplane, with numbers 771, goes down in September.
According to Wikipedia, there were only two commercial airline crashes in September. One was a Nepalese domestic flight (no. 601) and the other was a Russian domestic flight (no. 251)
Score: 0

6. The Catholic church loses the Pope in October.
Score: 0

7. Following the discovery of a well-preserved extinct animal, plans to clone it are announced.
This happened back in 2009 with the ibex and was attempted in 2008 with the thylacine (aka the Tasmanian Tiger). No such announcements were made this year.
Score: 0

8. Upheaval and riots in Saigon create massive coverage, and Australia is asked to step in.
This didn’t happen. And neither did Ho Chi Minh City change its name back to Saigon. That would have been quite the thing.
Score: 0

9. A mass in the sky creates confusion and panic and the Government makes a statement.
There seemed to be a rash of UFO sightings towards the end of 2012, although it may have been amped-up reporting due to the “impending” Mayan Apocalypse. I don’t think we can claim any “panic” as a result. And I’m not aware of any governments feeling the need to make a statement.
Score: 0

10. The world stock market crashes again, leaving countries in argument.
Oddly enough this didn’t happen, although it was definitely a reasonable prediction.
Score: 0

11. The UK Government changes the law on same-sex marriage.
In March, the UK government released a proposal to change the definition of civil partnerships, effectively allowing same-sex couples the right to get married. Consultation on the proposal was closed in June. The latest news is that 3 in 5 British voters support the proposal.
Score: ½

12. The Vatican releases never-before-seen papers covering money spent with space mission connections.
Back in May a bunch of secret papers were released from the Vatican, but technically it wasn’t the Vatican that released them. In fact, they were a little upset about it. What’s worse, there’s nothing in there about space missions.
Score: 0

13. Another earthquake hits Japan in August, creating a massive tsunami.
Nothing massive, although there was a small one in December.
Score: 0

14. Three refugee boats are sunk off Christmas Island.
In June two boats were sunk within a week of each other, on June 22 and June 27. Another in August made this prediction tragically come to pass.
Score: 1

15. The Sydney Harbour Bridge suffers extensive damage and will not be able to be used for over 2 months.
Score: 0

Kathy’s Final Score: 2 out of 15

Skeptic Leon Said’s predictions:

1. A new obesity drug is successfully trialled in humans, reducing demand for gastric band surgery.
This is a hit, although we’re yet to see if demand for gastric banding is reduced.
Score: ½

2. There is a military coup in Pakistan.
Not yet, but Musharraf was making noises about it back in July, and the military are actively denying it at the moment. So it’s probably not far off.
Score: 0

3. There is a terrorist attack in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
There was a bomb threat directed at Schipol Airport back in February, but nothing more than that.
Score: 0

4. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is assassinated. Mossad is blamed, but denies responsibility.
Score: 0

5. The first human transplant of a laboratory-grown kidney is performed.
It’s certainly in the works, but a transplant has not been done yet.
Score: 0

6. The Australian Census results reveal that more than 25% of the population has no religion.
Not quite. The number was 22.3%.
Score: 0

7. NASA announces that there was once life on Mars, as a result of tests conducted by the Curiosity rover.
The Curiosity Rover landed on Mars on August 6, and has been making headlines ever since. Besides the anti-climactic, PR-fail announcement of “one for the history books”, we’re yet to see any announcements as tumultuous as this.
Score: 0

8. Google delivers an artificial intelligence assistant feature for the Android operating system.
Google is working on something called Google Now, which is being built into the web browser Chrome, not (at this stage) the mobile platform Android. Also, no delivery date has been announced.
Score: 0

9. Microsoft makes a formal announcement of new game console but misses the launch date it first announced.
It’s still rumours at this point, but the X-Box 720 is possibly maybe slated for release in 2013. There’s been no formal announcement.
Score: 0

10. Joe Hockey replaces Tony Abbott as Australian opposition leader.
Score: 0

11. An earthquake in California causes a section of freeway to collapse.
Score: 0

12. Kim Jong-Un becomes a popular internet meme.
Of course he did.
Score: 1

13. A new Flu vaccine prevents all strains of flu.
Many groups are looking at this, and there were some significant moves towards a universal flu vaccine in 2012, but nothing yet.
Score: 0

14. A driverless taxi service begins in Tokyo.
Apart from this nice April Fools gag about driverless taxis in New York, nothing really happened on this front.
Score: 0

15. A stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage kills 30 people.
According to Saudi news sources, this year’s Hajj was one of the most successful ever.
Score: 0

Leon’s Final Score: 1½ out of 15

Skeptic TJ Marx’s predictions:

1. America’s economy seems to improve, but is dropping significantly by Q3 2012.
Q3 actually saw a significant jump in the USA’s GDP.
Score: 0

2. North Korea undergoes considerable instability, with the possibility of global panic in relation to their nuclear weapons.
There’s been no talk of domestic instability, although in early December North Korea did launch a long-range rocket which caused some concern about their nuclear intentions.
Score: ½

3. More Australian troops die in Afghanistan at the hands of Afghan security forces.
Sadly there were 7 Australian Defence Force personnel killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012. 3 of those were at the hands of the Afghan National Army.
Score: 1

4. Extreme weather events cause large delays in airport traffic.
Earlier in the year all it took was some rain in London to cause chaos. Then in October, Hurricane Sandy brought the highest number of October flights cancelled in 17 years.
Score: 1

5. Libya sees human rights violations with a new rebellion starting by Q4 2012.
Human rights violations in Libya have reportedly continued apace, but there’s no word of a new rebellion.
Score: 0

6. Oprah is back in the news, but because of a major gaffe causing much public dissent.
There was this one back in February, but it was a bit of storm in a teacup to be honest.
Score: ½

7. There will be calls led by the Australian Greens party for the government to act on Japanese whaling. The government refuses to do anything useful.
Yes, this happened. And will probably happen again.
Score: 1

8. The President of Iraq will turn into a new dictator a la Saddam Hussein.
Iraq’s current president is Jalal Talabani, founder of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and a long-time campaigner for Kurdistani rights. By all accounts he’s quite the diplomat.
Score: 0

9. A well-loved TV show announces it is coming to an end.
Where do we start? Desperate Housewives, The Office, 30 Rock, and Fringe. And I suppose you could call Jersey Shore well-loved.
Score: 1

10. We see the beginning of the end of net neutrality.
I initially asked readersto point out anything particularly supporting this (as it’s not really my area!). TJ himself was kind enough to provide the following tidbits: The Cyber Security Act of 2012 and the FCC judgement on net neutrality are significant blows. As a technical point though, it remains to be seen if this is indeed “the beginning of the end”.
Score: ½

11. Apple releases the iPhone 5 with a host of major new problems associated with it. People buy it anyway.
The iPhone 5 was released in September, and users immediately started complaining about problems with the new operating system iOS6. For us here in Victoria though, the most notable problem was the loss of Mildura.
Score: 1

12. Domestic Australian housing prices fall around the middle of the year, whilst rental prices continue to rise.
House prices actually rose in the first half of the year, and have stayed pretty flat since.
Score: 0

13. The new consoles unveiled at E3 move away from traditional physical media for distributing games and incorporate more on-demand downloads and streaming services. This includes a new online entertainment service from Microsoft with dedicated on-demand streaming TV.
E3 was in early June. This wasn’t really discussed in any major way. It has been pointed out that the Wii U (launched at E3) does include access to streaming services as a major feature, so there should be some points for that.
Score: ½

14. Australia witnesses a large natural disaster. Taxes are increased to pay for it.
Tony Abbott has repeatedly said the carbon tax is a large natural disaster. I don’t think that counts though.
Score: 0

15. Tony Abbott loses the leadership of the Liberal party.
Score: 0

TJ’s Final Score: 7 out of 15

And finally, Skeptic Ricky Kasper’s predictions:

1. NASA’s Curiosity rover discovers the strongest evidence yet of life having existed on Mars, pinpointing sites for further exploration.
In December, NASA scientists confirmed their previous finding (by the Phoenix lander) of perchlorates in the Martian soil. However, actual evidence of life still appears to be a long way off.
Score: 0

2. There is a large-scale unexpected event in south-east Asia. I see the number 9.
In early December, typhoon Bopha resulted in the deaths of over 700 people in the Philippines. And the storm did dissipate on December 9.
Score: 1

3. Ben Cousins dies in the second half of the year.
Score: 0

4. Queen Elizabeth has a health scare which causes concern, but she makes a strong recovery.
There was that scary-looking bloodshot eye which caused a lot of concern.
Score: ½

5. There is a large rail incident in India.
This is such a regular occurrence, it has a dedicated Wikipedia entry. As of today, there are 15 entries for 2012.
Score: 1

6. Tony Abbot refuses to allow a conscience vote on gay marriage.
This actually happened back in 2011, and it didn’t really come up again in 2012.
Score: 0

7. Pope Benedict XVI dies.
Score: 0

8. In the London Olympics, China outperforms America in the overall medal tally.
The USA outperformed everyone at the London Olympics, with 104 medals to China’s 88. The USA also beat China in each medal category.
Score: 0

9. A tragedy linked to Facebook in New Zealand attracts world attention and much controversy.
Score: 0

10. A major fraud is uncovered in a large United States evangelical church with links to a conservative politician.
Oddly enough, there wasn’t much in the way of fraudulent activity among the evangelicals in 2012. Most evangelical indiscretions for 2012 seemed to involve sexual impropriety.
Score: 0

11. The land speed record is broken.
The current record was set way back in October 1997, and doesn’t look like being broken any time soon.
Score: 0

12. Kevin Rudd fails in an attempt to retake the Australian Labor Party leadership, but it’s a close call for Gillard.
Yep, Kevin07 launched a leadership challenge in late February, but it didn’t amount to much. Julia’s still in.
Score: 1

13. Russia experiences large wildfires after a heatwave.
Yep. A heatwave in the Russian summer brought fires that burnt out over 3 million hectares of land in Siberia.
Score: 1

14. A coup in Fiji sees Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama ousted.
Score: 0

15. An Australian drug mule caught in Bali.
July: And yes, this happened.
Score: 1

Ricky’s Final Score: 5½ out of 15

And the winner is …

Skeptic TJ Marx, with a very convincing psychic score of 7 out of 15! TJ is now the proud owner of bragging rights and 2,000 internet points (non-transferable).

Our very heartiest thanks to all our participants for their contributions.

* In June we were saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Leon Said, one of the skeptics who kindly provided predictions for this year’s challenge. Our sympathies go out to Leon’s family and friends.

17 Responses to Psychic Challenge 2012

  1. Terry Kelly says:

    I can hardly wait until for the year to end to see what the results are.

  2. Lynne Kelly says:

    Can we have an announcement on Vic Skeptics, or in the comments here, when any of the predictions come true? Please?

  3. Kathy says:

    Hi guys, yes these are my predictions, I have made myself public with them for one reason only, I myself would like to see what my strengths and weaknesses are, for I am not a predictor as such, I work with connecting to other side and finding lost objects.

    • Ben Finney says:

      Thank you very much, Kathy, for participating in this challenge. It is commendable to put your specific predictions up for measurement with others.

    • Ben Finney says:

      If you “are not a predictor as such”, why then are you offering predictions in response to a call for psychic predictions?

  4. bruce says:

    Why are skeptics bothering to make predictions. It seem to be a contradiction of beliefs or are they saying that they have psychic powers?

    • Matt says:

      Hi Bruce. The reason is that looking at a psychic’s predictions in isolation doesn’t tell us much.
      Everyone, psychic or not, has views and opinions on what might happen in the next year.
      So the skeptics’ predictions give us a kind of baseline, or “control”, against which we can measure the psychic’s result.
      If the psychic does much better than the skeptics (who are only making educated guesses, and not claiming any supernatural powers) then we may have evidence of actual psychic powers!

  5. ChasTiv says:

    (1) In the first two weeks of 2013, skeptics will have a laugh, whilst some psychics will cry foul, others completely ignore us.

    (2) No psychics will give skeptics any credence for their correct predictions.

    I agree with Matt’s comment re “baseline”

  6. Kathy says:

    I predict I wont be a psychic who will laugh nor cry foul..I am not a psychic i am a spirit medium which i have said before, if none of my predictions come true then it shows me predictions are definitely not my strength!

  7. andrew says:

    Me thinks Kathy maybe moving the goalposts as her guesses are struggling to come to fruition. justsayin!

    • kathy says:

      I am not sure what u mean as i have only just read half year results. Please feel free to point out where i have moved goal post. Sometimes respect is far greater than sarcasm ;-)

      • andrew says:

        Only just read your reply from July, and have now seen the final results, enough said. Are you are psychic or not Kathy? You say “I wont be a psychic who will laugh nor cry foul.. I am not a psychic I am a spirit medium” Can you get some insight from your spirits about your predictions(Guesses), be real and then you will get your respect.

    • Ben Finney says:

      I don’t know how you come to that opinion, Andrew.

      In January (earlier in these comments) Kathy said “I am not a predictor as such”, which I take to mean that she doesn’t believe she has powers of prediction.

      I do have to wonder, then, why she selected herself as a psychic with powers of prediction; but I don’t see evidence of her moving the goalposts since that time.

      What facts do you have that informs your opinion on this?

  8. terrykelly3 says:

    Kathy was right. Predictions are not her strength.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi guys, i elected this more for my own personal reasons, I am not a psychic as such, I relay messages from the spirit realm, have been seeing spirits since i was 4 yrs old. Not many psychics i guess would place them selves in this position. I could have used logic as many skeptics did, but then it would not have served any purpose, I am not moving the goal post, nor crying lol..I am a person who does have the gift of seeing and speaking to spirits, I am a huge believer in truth in knowing who we are, With the results it shows me world predictions are not who I am, I will leave that to science and what will be will be, But i do ty for this opportunity

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