Once again the National Enquirer--that ubiquitous checkout-stand tabloid--has rounded up the usual psychics to predict a number of sensational events in 1990 and the 1990s.
As I have done for the past several years, I counterpredict. So far, I have been right in every instance.
Though the Enquirer credits certain of its psychics with having predicted such disasters as the crash of a DC-8 that killed 256 people, the Manson family murders and the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, I do not remember any such predictions. They never give chapter and verse.
Oddly, the Enquirer never has a story at the end of a year reporting on the successes and failures of its psychics that year.
Here are some predictions for 1990:
* Los Angeles psychic Maria Graciette predicts that a meteorite will plow into the White House Rose Garden, endangering the First Family with its radiation.
I counterpredict. No meteorite will fall in the Rose Garden.
* California psychic Clarisa Bernhardt predicts that Major League Baseball will sign its first woman player, and her skill will make her a star.
I counterpredict. The best woman athlete--whether Babe Didriksen, Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf--couldn’t make the throw from third to first base in time to beat a speedy batter.
* Denver psychic Lou Wright predicts that deep-sea explorers will discover a Spanish galleon with a treasure in gold, as well as artifacts from an alien spaceship.
I counterpredict that and every other prediction involving the presence on Earth of aliens from space. We have never been visited by creatures from other planets and probably never will be.
* New York psychic John Monti predicts that Sen. Ted Kennedy will suffer a mental breakdown and become convinced he is his dead brother, John; his ex-wife, Joan, will rush to his side to rekindle their love.
I counterpredict. I would be happy if Kennedy and his ex-wife were to get back together again, but I doubt that such a reconciliation will be brought about by the senator’s delusion that he is John.
* St. Louis psychic Beverly Jaegers predicts that Michael Jackson will spend a fortune capturing an Abominable Snowman, which he will add to his private zoo.
I counterpredict. Anyone who believes in the Abominable Snowman belongs in a zoo.
With a whole decade to work in, the psychics are even more astounding in their predictions for the 1990s. These are not attributed to any specific psychics, but to a panel of 10.
They predict that Madonna will take fertility drugs and give birth to a set of quintuplets, but will refuse to name the father . . . Soviet cosmonauts will discover an abandoned alien space station, with the bodies of several E.T.s aboard . . . Turkish shepherds will discover the wreckage of Noah’s ark . . . massive earthquakes will devastate the West Coast, and San Diego and Los Angeles will become islands. . . .
In each case I counterpredict. If Madonna does have quintuplets, her public will demand that she name the father. . . . Forget the alien space station. . . . The true Noah’s ark has been turning up here and there for decades. . . . As for massive earthquakes separating Los Angeles and San Diego from the mainland, don’t hold your breath.
One on the panel predicts that Dan Quayle will be dropped from George Bush’s second-term ticket after he is caught in a scandalous clinch with a female TV reporter.
I counterpredict. Quayle may be dropped from Bush’s ticket, but not for that reason. Could any female TV reporter be that dumb?
What I don’t understand is why no psychic predicted the Exxon Valdez disaster, the Bay Area earthquake, the tragic events in China, the gun turret explosion on the battleship Iowa, the heroic landing of a crippled jet that saved 185 of the 296 persons aboard, the invasion of Panama. . . .
Even our erudite economic and political pundits, who attempt to predict the “foreseeable future” in their fields, looking down well-behaved channels of probable events and making educated guesses at conclusions that seem to be ordained, almost never make any predictions that come true.
Why was it that none of our revered forecasters foresaw the collapse of the Berlin Wall? (Afterward, there was no lack of explanations for why it happened, and why it was inevitable.)
There is no such thing as the foreseeable future.