There are several activities and ideas that you can use to incorporate failed predictions into your Superstition Bash event. Here are several to choose from, along with a collection of failed predictions from the past.
- Annual Failed Predictions Listing
Whether as an exhibit displayed at your event, or a scheduled presentation on stage, you could list the past year's failed predictions. If done on stage with a microphone and perhaps an added "gong" or drum beat to symbolize the failure of each prediction, you should include the presentation in your lineup of events and schedule it for a specific time. You could also highlight this activity as a media opportunity, providing media representatives with a hard-copy press package of the failed predictions listing.
- Failed Predictions Media Campaign
Each year CSICOP sends a list of failed predictions to national media outlets, including the tabloids that print the predictions in the first place. You can incorporate this idea in your local area by using CSICOP's annual list (also published in Skeptical Inquirer Magazine) in a press package sent to local media outlets. Include a cover letter that also announces your upcoming Superstition Bash event, emphasizing that this is both an annual event and a national one. Invite local media to send a representative to this event and the many others that will mark your Superstition Bash. The free, alternative presses that exist in many cities may be your best target for this as they may be more open to publishing an annual column of failed predictions. CSICOP is in the process of securing a syndicated column for the failed predictions listing so please pass along any contacts you might happen to make within the media. We will also provide a more detailed resource for press packages and media releases in the near future.
- Failed Predictions Contest & Award Ceremony
Depending upon preplanning opportunities, you may want to offer a contest for "The Best Failed Prediction," with the winner receiving a prize. You could also include an anti-award of some kind going to the psychic who fails the most, or the worst, according to a special panel of skeptical judges. These ideas can be incorporated with those above, as well.
- A Failed Prediction Card
There are a number of activities where you could use your failed predictions as added information to pass out. You could put each failed prediction on a strip of paper, include them in your misfortune cookies or simply have them in a bowl that people can dip into and read at their leisure. You can include them in a raffle or in the "Wheel of Misfortune" game as booby prizes or simply hand them out to attendants throughout the Superstition Bash event. If you are giving a party bag to your guests, the failed predictions can also be included here.
Collection of Failed Predictions:
We will soon be adding annual listings for failed predictions here. The ones below are a random sampling from those CSICOP has collected over the past two decades.
The Sun predicted: An American Astronaut "will give birth to a healthy baby girl during a six month mission aboard the Russian space station Mir."
The National Enquirer predicted: Good Morning America hostess Joan Lunden will become engaged to Shaquille O'Neal.
The National Examiner predicted: Comic actor Jim Carrey will get an Oscar after his face freezes in a twisted expression.
Dagmar Morrow predicted that President Reagan would suffer a mild heart attack in the summer of 1983 and that Mrs. Reagan would suffer health problems due to fatigue.
Denver "psychic" Lou Wright predicted that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake would devastate the Los Angeles area in September, 1990. She also predicted that an air disaster would kill hundreds of vacationers on their way to Hawaii in March, 1991.
Olga Spulveda said that smart investors should stay away from stocks in the coming year. (The popular stock market averages rose about 20% in 1983.) Her prediction was that the 1983 World Series would be played between the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds. In fact, it was between the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia Phillies.
The National Examiner predicted: Nuclear missiles will be used to break up a giant asteroid found to be hurtling toward Earth.
The National Enquirer predicted: O.J. attorney Johnnie Cochran will be hailed as "the new Bill Cosby" when he plays a defense attorney in a TV comedy that becomes "a smash" hit.
The psychics at Weekly World News predicted that in 1995 a volcanic eruption would create a new land mass that ties the United States to Cuba; frog legs would become the rage in fast-food restaurants; and scientists would discover rapidly mutating bees, uncovering evidence "that the insects are developing an intelligence that might one day rival that of men."
Jeane Dixon, one of the country's best known psychics, in the July, 1995, issue of the Star, forecast: "a stunning outcome to the O.J. Simpson trial will be a result no one predicted. I can see that O.J. will walk." She was right. But Dixon could just as easily claimed success if Simpson had been found guilty or the jury had failed to reach a decision. "A guilty verdict or hung jury will keep O.J. Simpson in jail through most of this year," she predicted in the January 17, 1995 issue of the Star. "I don't see him walking away a free man until an appeal," Dixon predicted in the April 25, 1995, issue of the tabloid.
Irene Hughes of Chicago predicted that the Ayatollah Khomeini would be assassinated in 1983, and that Jacqueline Onassis would wed a prominent publisher in Paris.
Los Angeles "psychic" Clarisa Bernhart predicted the discovery of vast new oil and gas fields near Flagstaff, Arizona in 1983 and that fitness guru Richard Simmons would be shot.
In Northern California, the date of that devastating California earthquake everybody keeps predicting was pegged for October 17, the third anniversary of the Loma Prieta quake, by psychic Ernesto A. Moshe Montgomery, who claims an accuracy of 991/2 %.
Joan Quigley of San Francisco, White House astrologer to the Reagans, predicted that Bill Clinton would run out of money toward the campaign's end and that the total eclipse of the sun on June 30 would cause earthshaking events in China.
Chicago "psychic" Irene Hughes predicted that Vanna White and her husband would purchase a "haunted" mansion in Beverly Hills, from which they would flee in terror a week later. Madonna's career would be interrupted by a "mystery illness," but she would recover after having a religious vision and become a gospel singer.
Jeane Dixon issued her predictions for the aftermath of the Gulf War. While she did contain the correct prediction of the release of the Western Hostages in Lebanon, she also predicted that Saddam Hussein would either be assassinated or be put to trial for war crimes in a Moslem court. She also saw terrorist attacks being made against the British Royal Family and Monaco's Prince Rainier and predicted that the world would be stunned as "the old order" in China, Korea, and Japan suddenly fell apart like the Berlin Wall. No major changes occurred in any of these governments during 1991.
Southern California "psychic," Clarisa Bernhardt, who is claimed to make "uncanny earthquake predictions," foresaw that the much-heralded earthquake that was supposed to hit Missouri in December 1990 would actually strike in the fall of 1991. She also predicted that Imelda Marcos and Tammy Faye Bakker would team up to open a nationwide chain of clothing and shoe boutiques.
B. Woods Mattingley predicted that there would be a California earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or more "around the first of the year," perhaps in the vicinity of Clear Lake. On January 1, 1983, he predicted it was "imminent" and should be expected any day. The only major California earthquake of 1983 hit Coalinga on May 2, four months later and 200 miles farther south than Mattingley predicted.
Benny Hollooway predicted that Ronald Reagan would suffer serious health problems in 1983 and would resign the presidency. She also predicted that Princess Diana would become pregnant again, and Queen Elizabeth would abdicate the throne.
The Sun predicted: The South Pacific Island nation of Tonga will land - and then strand - people on the moon. The U.S. will rescue them.
The Sun predicted: Rush Limbaugh will be the Republican nominee against Bill Clinton, picking Sonny Bono as his running mate.
The Sun predicted: The American and National leagues will be disbanded after another baseball strike and NFL owners will sell their teams to the players.
Pedro Hidalgo predicted that George Bush would assume the presidency because of Reagan's health problems during 1983 and forecast that former California governor Jerry Brown would get married.
It is important to note that no psychic predicted the genuinely surprising stories of 1991: the military coup in the Kremlin that was defeated almost bloodlessly by supporters of the Soviet Union; Saddam Hussein deliberately causing one of the world's largest oil spills, then torching Kuwait's oil fields; the most destructive wildfire in California history devastating the Oakland and Berkeley hills; and a highly publicized rape trial of a member of the Kennedy family.
New York "psychic," Lou Wright, predicted that three men would unsuccessfully attempt to kidnap Candice Bergen in Paris, and Marlon Brando would be arrested for trying to help his son break out of jail.
Los Angeles "psychic," Maria Graciette, predicted that a secret UFO base, thousands of years old, would be found deep in the Mexican desert and that Vice President Quayle, attending a World Series game, would impulsively interfere with a play.
New York "psychic," John Monti, predicted that "a massive hurricane will devastate Cuba and topple Castro's regime," that a huge AIDS epidemic would "threaten to end professional sports" and that a scientific advance would allow women to delay menopause, making it possible for them to have children into their 60s.
Washington, D.C., "psychic," Jeane Dixon, who supposedly has a "gift of prophecy," saw that Fidel Castro would be overthrown, possibly resulting in Cuba's becoming part of the United States, and that Virginia governor Douglas Wilder would gain enough support for a "vice presidential invitation." President elect Bill Clinton, however, she described as "the Democratic shooting star," and said that "an organization of women will try to block his path. President Bush's ratings would climb, resulting in his reelection." She also predicted "a promising economic upturn in the spring," and that "broccoli will become the miracle vegetable of the nineties."
The National Enquirer predicted: Barbara Walters will be kidnapped by Middle East terrorists, "but will be freed after ABC agrees to let the terrorists air their views on a three-hour broadcast hosted by Barbara."
The Globe predicted: O.J. prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden will marry; meanwhile Simpson will join a monastery.
The Globe predicted: Susan Lucci finally wins an Emmy but breaks a toe when she drops it on her foot.
The Globe predicted: Angela Lansbury will devise "a dramatic departure from Murder, She Wrote by casting herself as the show's final victim.
The National Examiner predicted: Michael Jackson will undergo a "complete sex change and insist that everyone call him Michelle...His wife, Lisa Marie, will stick by him - and they'll develop an even closer relationship."
The National Examiner predicted: Rush Limbaugh will quit his career as a conservative political spokesman to star "in a remake of the series 'Jake and the Fat Man.'"
Jeane Dixon predicted in the January 17, 1995, issue of the Star, saying, "A new, antibiotic-resistant strain of influenza causes coast-to-coast misery in early winter and again in early spring. Scientists will trace the virus to polluted water." It's not surprising. Antibiotics don't work on viruses, which is why you don't prescribe them for the common cold, flu, AIDS, etc.
The prize for the most embarrassing prediction of 1996 goes to Mystic Meg, a psychic for the Globe. In the January 2, 1996 issue, she said, "Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin reunite for an emotional reunion on TV." Martin died in December of 1995, around the time the prediction hit the newsstands.
The National Enquirer predicted: Jay Leno will lose his Tonight Show job to Johnny Carson.
The National Enquirer predicted: O.J. Simpson will become a minister after confessing during testimony in a civil suit that he killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
New York "psychic" Shawn Robins predicted that a disastrous earthquake would strike San Francisco in the summer of 1983 and that Jimmy Carter would run again for presidency.
Jeane Dixon, the famed "seer" from Washington DC, predicted a major international confrontation over "peaceful islands of the South Pacific" in 1983. She also predicted that Princess Diana would release news of a new pregnancy "before the year 1983 is very old."
"Psychic" Tony Leggett predicted that Vice-president Quayle would temporarily stand in for president when Bush is stricken with heart problems, that a former president would die in the fall, and that an assassination attempt on Soviet President Gorbachev would be foiled by a courageous American tourist.
Jeane Dixon saw the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart's ministry being "saved" by a last minute donation in 1990, rather than being destroyed by another scandal involving a prostitute.