• Rats carrying the deadly bubonic plague will overrun Los Angeles, sparking mass evacuations
  • Patsy Ramsey will confess that she and her husband killed JonBenet Ramsey
  • Bill Cosby will quit show business and become a born-again preacher

Psychic predictions for 1999?


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

Emery, who has been 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 1998 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:

  • Oprah Winfrey bought CBS and made it “the first major network to turn its back on TV violence.”
  • Elizabeth Taylor married Burt Reynolds.
  • Eddie Murphy ballooned to 300 pounds.
  • Kathie Lee Gifford ended up straitjacketed and in a mental institution after her morning show was cancelled.
  • Laws would be passed requiring kittens and cats to be destroyed after scientists discovered that they are responsible for a mysterious virus that blinds thousands of people in the US.
  • Night-time joggers and cyclists began taking a drink that makes their skin glow bright green in the dark.
  • Fidel Castro moved to Beverly Hills following the overthrow of his government
  • Rising insurance costs [forced] the NFL to eliminate tackle football in favour of two-handed touch.

Emery 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, he says, 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.”

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

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