• Psychic Nikki’s Scorecard for 2016

    nikkipicOne of the great joys of a skeptical blogger’s New Year is looking back at the psychic predictions made for the previous year, and chortling at how far they went amiss. One of the great woes is realizing that this will not make a blind bit of difference to the true believers, who will cherish the “hits” and ignore the rest. So why do it? Because it’s fun. So here goes.

    This year’s featured prophetess is known only as Nikki, Psychic to the Stars, a Toronto-based compatriot of mine. And I must say, unlike the rambling and semiliterate Joseph “Spiritman” Tittle I examined in previous years, she makes it easy for me. She kicks off her New Year’s forecast with a summary of her hits from the previous year. Her predictions are mostly clear, concise one-liners, conveniently numbered. She doesn’t go off on tirades about the Illuminati or chemtrails or large corporations or the Golden Dawn. So, bless her heart for that.

    Her predictions fall into five categories:

    • World Predictions, covering world affairs in general
    • Star Predictions, covering celebrities
    • Wild International Weather Predictions, covering not only tornadoes and hurricanes, but also earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and floods
    • The UK Royals
    • The Death and Health Watch. This is a dense list of celebrity names—I estimated just over 200—followed by a weasel note: “It does not mean the above mentioned will pass but they might have to watch their health and also watch for danger in their life.” Which, of course, gives her enormous latitude for claiming hits.

    Alas, she did not do well in 2016. I did the maths. According to my count, she made about 540 predictions (there were some duplicates) and claimed 37 hits. This is a raw success rate of 6.85%, which is pretty pathetic. The following image shows it graphically: the hits are those lonely little splashes of yellow, and the misses are—well, all the rest. But to get the full flavour of how not-well Ms. Nikki did in 2016, you really have to look at the nature of the hits and misses.


    Celebrity Deaths

    Nikki correctly predicted that Fidel Castro, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Muhammad Ali would die in 2016. Or did she? Mr. Castro and Ms. Gabor have been permanently on Nikki’s watchlist since 2004, several times with specific death predictions. Nikki may be secretly relieved they finally obliged. In fact, the specific prediction for Mr. Castro in 2016 (and 2007) was that the US would take over Cuba when he died, which so far has not happened. Mr. Ali only made the watchlist previously in 2007 and 2009, but I would like to point out he did not oblige her by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. Debbie Reynolds was on the watchlist in 2016—also 2008 through 2015 inclusive. Oh, and 2017.

    But what of the string of other celebrity deaths in 2016? Somehow, Nikki missed out on David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, Carrie Fisher, Harper Lee, George Kennedy, Frank Sinatra Jr, Victoria Wood, Gordie Howe (hey, she’s a Canadian), Gene Wilder, Edward Albee, Shimon Peres, George Michael, John Glenn, and two-thirds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Etc.

    Earthquakes and Terror Attacks

    I mention these two together because, for these categories in particular, Nikki uses an approach which is not so much scattergunning as carpet-bombing. She claims to have predicted the terror attacks in Paris, Berlin, Istanbul and a few others, and earthquakes in Kansas, Oklahoma, Japan, Italy, New Zealand, and Central America. But wait.

    Major earthquakes were to devastate Afghanistan, Anchorage, Argentina, Baja CA, British Isles, Buffalo, Chicago (plus St. Louis and Missouri), Chile, China, Corfu, Crete, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt (damaging the pyramids), Fukushima, the Grand Canyon, Greece, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, India (splitting it in two), Indonesia,  Iran, Italy, Kansas (super-large), Lake Tahoe, London, Los Angeles, Malta, Manila, Memphis TN, Mexico, Montana (plus Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado), the Napa Valley, Nepal, New York City, New Zealand, the Niagara region, Norway, Oklahoma, Oregon, Ottawa, Panama, Peru, Portland (Maine), Quebec, Rome, Russia, San Diego, San Francisco, Scotland, Seattle, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Tibet, Tokyo, Toronto, Utah, Vancouver (big one), and Yellowstone National Park.  Less specifically, extra-large earthquakes were to wipe out towns in the US, and gigantic quakes were to hit California and Japan in general. One earthquake would affect New York City, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland and Virginia, another would strike North and South Carolina, and yet another would devastate British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Alaska.

    Terrorist attacks were to take place in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Brazil, Brussels, Buffalo, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dubai, Geneva, Heathrow, India,  Istanbul, Kabul, Las  Vegas, London (Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Victoria Station), Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Manchester, Melbourne, Montreal, Moscow, Mumbai, Nairobi, New York (several), Niagara Falls,  Pakistan, Paris, Riyadh, Rome, Scotland, Singapore, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington. Other attacks would take place in a football stadium, a circus, a soccer match, a Trump hotel, and a rodeo.

    Really, she could hardly avoid getting a few hits among all the misses. And yet, she still managed not to mention, say, the various Pacific Islands where half of 2016’s most powerful earthquakes took place, nor the shocking terrorist attacks in Nice and Miami.

    Epic Fails

    Among the usual vague, trivial, ambiguous or bleeding obvious predictions that psychics specialize in, Nikki has buried a few gems: specific, bold, unambiguous, imaginative, striking…and wrong. Here are fifteen of my favourites of 2016.

    • A city will turn sideways after earthquake activity.nikkicharlescrowned
    • Treasure will be found in a castle wall in England, going back to King Henry the Eighth.
    • Grizzly bears attack people in cities in Alaska and British Columbia.
    • A new breed mixture of dog and cat.
    • A new President’s head at Mount Rushmore.
    • An arrest in the Madeleine McCann case.
    • A plane goes into Eiffel Tower in Paris.
    • Spaceship landing.
    • Prince Charles will become King for a short time; he could abdicate due to illness.
    • Another incident in Australia where a dingo kills a child, similar to the story depicted in the movie “A Cry in the Dark” with Meryl Streep.
    • A pet parrot will kill a movie star.
    • An arrest in the Natalie Wood case.
    • Category 5 hurricane wipes out Miami.
    • Kate and William will have another child, but they have to watch their marriage.
    • Hillary Clinton will become the next President of the United States.

    As for 2017, well, most of La Nikki’s list looks like a copy-paste job from previous years. But there are a few novelties. There will be a global pasta shortage, so better stock up now on Kraft Dinner. The moon will turn green. The Leaning Tower of Pisa will fall over at last. Rainbows will be seen all over the world at the same time. A meteor will hit San Francisco. A robot will break into the White House—oh, wait….

    Happy New Year!


    Category: FeaturedSkepticism

    Article by: Rebecca Bradley