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Failed Psychic Predictions for 1998

Psychic Predictions

Gene Emery

December 31, 1998

Psychic Report Card Dubious Once Again

Psychic predictions for 1999?


Those are some of the events that were supposed to have come true during 1998, according to Gene Emery, a contributor to Skeptical Inquirer magazine who has released his annual look at how the psychics fared over the past year.

Emery, who began logging predictions since 1979 to see if the world’s top prognosticators can live up to their claims of being able to forecast the future, said his list for ‘98 shows that, “once again, when it comes to forecasting major, unexpected events, the best psychics have as much clairvoyance as Forest Gump on a bad day.”

Although the Zippergate scandal was clearly the big story of 1998, none of the psychics made any allusions to it in the forecasts he collected a year ago.

“Psychic Sylvia Browne, a frequent guest on the syndicated Montel Williams Show, predicted that ‘Bill Clinton will be exonerated in the Paula Jones case.’ In fact, Jones got a big settlement, and it was Clinton’s deposition in the Jones case that let to the impeachment effort,” Emery said.

Astrologer Athena Starwoman, quoted a year ago in the supermarket tabloid Star, said in her 1998 forecasts that Frank Sinatra’s “cards show him still to have plenty of zing left in his zodiac.” Instead, Sinatra died.

“It was the same in 1997, when the psychics were predicting all kinds of things for Princess Diana, except her death,” said Emery. (For example, the late Jeane Dixon had said 1998 would be the year “Queen Diana will be embroiled in a royal scandal.”)

According to the psychics in the supermarket tabloids, 1998 was also supposed to be the year that:

Emery said he encourages people to collect their own forecasts for the coming year, pick out the ones that predict truly unexpected events, and wait a year to see for themselves if psychic powers are a lot of hype.

If you look closely at the forecasts, Emery said, it’s amazing how wishy-washy some of them turn out to be, allowing psychics to claim success no matter what happens.

“Many predict things that are already obvious at the beginning of the year, such as media hype over El Nino, skirmishes with Iraq, or Microsoft getting into trouble over its monopolistic practices. Or they forecast things that are bound to happen, such as the stock market going up and down, or erosion on the East Coast,” he said.

With the year 2000 approaching, the hunger for predictions about the next millennium is likely to grow, Emery predicted. “Consumers should realize that if they're paying a psychic to give them special insight, they're probably wasting their money.”

Gene Emery

Gene Emery manages the Massachusetts bureau of the Providence Journal, reviews computer software and video games, and frequently writes about science, medicine and technology. He'll be accepting predictions through Jan. 15 from professional psychics, although they must be for unexpected events guaranteed to make the headlines in 2005.