Dreams Die: Paul The Octopus Was Just A Clever Publicity Stunt?

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Paul the Octopus in better days

PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

Say it ain’t so, Paul, say it ain’t so!

The Independent published the definitive cephalopod-investigation scoop of our time this week: It appears that Paul the octopus, the delightful aquatic zoo creature whose apparent ability to predict the results of World Cup matches tickled the world’s fancy this summer, was a publicity stunt dreamt up by a gigantic multinational corporation.

The report doesn’t take anything away from Paul’s miraculous prediction streak (although the Independent waggishly says he merely “got lucky on a 256-1 chance of predicting eight two-option outcomes in a row”) but it does outline exactly how the enormous entertainment conglomerate Merlin Entertainment sought to monetize Paul mania with toys, films, book — even an “agent.”

We’re a little sad to see the true story of how media organizations such as ourselves got so easily manipulated by corporate overlords. But we guess it’s informative. Read the whole thing here.

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