Monday, December 30, 2013

Predictions for 2013, Part One

What's that? 2013? Isn't the New Year 2014? Of course it is. This article was actually published last year, with predictions from nine professional psychics for the year that we're now wrapping up. In the interest of science, I thought I would take a few minutes here and see how they did (Spoilers: not very well). I'll cover the first four today and the rest tomorrow to close out the year.

I've often been perceived as rather uncharitable towards professional psychics on this blog. That's not because I don't believe in psychic intuitions, but rather because having experienced them myself I know that it's very difficult getting them to work reliably enough to make a living without resorting to trickery, cold reading, and so forth. A substantial portion of media psychics, such as those mentioned in this article, in fact rely (as we will see) on the method of throwing a whole bunch of outlandish predictions at a wall and hoping some will stick. Then, if they get a hit on something unlikely, the idea is that's what people will remember rather than all of their other spectacular failures.

So let's meet our psychics. I'll start out with their biography, then comment on whether each of their predictions came true. I'll award one point for a correct prediction and half a point for a partial hit, in which something similar but not identical to the prediction took place. Then I'll tally up the total score for each psychic to see who was the most accurate.

First up is LaMont "Monte" Hamilton. Here's his bio:

LaMont "Monte" Hamilton is an ordained minister, Reiki Master healing practitioner, registered hypnotherapist, and holds multiple degrees in business, psychology, and education, and has worked in the paranormal field full time for over 25 years.

And here are his predictions for 2013:

Finally, a new comprehensive major immigration reform law will be signed into law by the end of summer due to bipartisan support.


A global U.N. tax will be enacted this year to help fund disaster relief and poverty.


A mind-to-mind telepathic telecommunication device will be developed for the mentally ill to help people communicate better.

I'm going to call this one a hit. Even though the device in question is not truly "telepathic" it was referred to as such in the media. The device is actually a combination EEG/cortical stimulator that was successfully tested this year that allows something akin to mind-to-mind communication.

Philadelphia, New Hampshire, and/or Connecticut will experience the affects of an earthquake after church bells ring from the aftershocks this year.


A truce is seen in the Middle East before late summer after one or more spiritual leaders emerge in the region to bring stability to several countries now in conflict.


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Gingrich steps down from the Supreme Court after an illness.

Nope. Her last name is Ginsburg, not Gingrich, and she's still on the Supreme Court.

Prince William and Kate will have a baby girl, whom many will believe is the reincarnation of Princess Diana.

Nope. The baby is a boy, named George.

The New Madrid fault line will become more active this year from late summer to late October.


Three airlines will merge into one umbrella company after another major carrier goes bankrupt in the U.S.

Nope. The closest event to this is the merger of US Airways and American Airlines - and the two airlines first expressed interest in a merger in January 2012.

A political revolution will attempt to bring down the Saudi Arabian dynasty this year after another King or Prince dies.


A severe drought in the Southern U.S., greater than seen in over 100 years will begin in February that dries up a portion of the Mississippi River or major tributaries completely in some areas.

Nope. The 2012-2013 drought was terrible, but rainfall picked up again in March 2013. So actually the drought ended rather than worsened.

Square or tubular UFOs will be commonly reported, with more sightings around military installations, including the Middle-East and Israel.

This one's a little hard to say since UFO sightings rarely hit the mainstream media. So there might have been more sightings than last year, but I have yet to see any evidence that this is the case.

At least 2 cosmic events will create news this year related to asteroids/comets headed to Earth, with the first one occurring around April when an object heads toward Earth.

Partial hit. The Chelyabinsk meteor that hit Russia was a substantial strike, but it happened in February rather than March. There were also several stories in the news about comets and near-Earth asteroids, though there were the year before as well.

President Obama's fascination with the history of Abraham Lincoln will eventually lead him to pen a book about the former president.

Nope. Bill O'Reilly wrote a book on Lincoln, but I'm sure he would be mortified at being confused with the President.

Breathing issues/illness pertaining to Pope Benedict XVI are seen, which could be related to pneumonia.

I'm willing to call this one a partial hit as well, since Benedict did resign citing health reasons this year. The Vatican has been unwilling to confirm any particular illnesses, so it's possible he could have breathing problems.

New broader and more specific civil rights legislation coming dealing with immigrants, the handicapped, minorities, gays and lesbians, and the mentally ill.

ENDA passed the Senate, but doesn't look like it will be taken up in the house, and the proposed immigration reform bill failed. So I suppose this is another partial hit - there was some legislation on these civil rights issues, but no successful legislation thanks to the state of the current Congress. Note also that "broader and more specific" is great catch-all from a cold-reading perspective - it includes any possible change.

In a move to streamline the Federal Government, multiple U.S. agencies will be combined under one director, which include one or more of the following departments: EPA, FAA, HUD, FDA, DOE, DOT, NOAA, etc.


The new and emerging 3D and 4D movie theaters will make some people sick and nauseated after watching some films.

Finally, a clear hit! Though I will say understanding that some people develop nausea from 3D technology (like my daughter, for example) requires little more than knowing some basic science.

The common social notion of "political correctness" in our society starts to become the norm as traditional religious and political viewpoints are replaced and become unpopular in the future.

This one is so vague that it's hard to assess, but I can't really call it a hit. It seems to me that "political correctness" in 2013 was about the same as in 2012, and I can't think of any significant news events that would say otherwise.

So let's tally them up - Hamilton gets 3.5/19. Let's see if our next contestant can do any better.

Next up is Vickie Monroe. Here's her bio:

This Maine-based psychic correctly predicted President Barack Obama winning a second term, the Red Sox missing the World Series, and the world not tanking on Dec. 21.

Just as a point, I predicted that last one right here on this blog, using no psychic powers of any sort, just basic common sense. Here are Monroe's predictions for 2013:

Congress will deal with gun control: Automatic weapons and high-powered rifles, semi-automatics that belong in war zones will be removed, and only used in situations where they are absolutely necessary.


It is going to be a milder-than-usual winter, although we will get more of a mixed precipitation.

Nope. Winter 2013 was actually slightly colder than usual.

No New England Patriots in the Super Bowl and no Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

The Super Bowl was Ravens/49ers, World Series was Red Sox/Cardinals, and the Red Sox won. 1/2.

Researchers will make advances linking cancer and stress, she said. They'll also have news on the drug front.

This is a hit, but mostly because it's so vague. Discoveries like this are happening all the time, every year, because we have a lot of money invested in cancer research.

The spirits don't see newly engaged Kelly Clarkson living happily ever after, but they see Justin Bieber making movies.

Clarkson married in October and is expecting her first child, but Bieber did just release a new movie. 1/2.

Tom Cruise will leave the church of Scientology. It has something to do with his daughter and recent divorce.


Expect an upset at the Academy Awards: Bradley Cooper for best actor over Daniel Day Lewis. Sally Field for best actress. Lincoln for best picture and Quentin Tarantino for best director.

Daniel Day Lewis won best actor, Jennifer Lawrence won best actress, Argo won best picture, and Ang Lee won best director. 0/4.

Tallying up, Vicki Monroe gets 3/12.

Next up is Nikki - no last name given. Here's her bio:

In 2012, Nikki -- "Psychic to the Stars" -- predicted a pregnancy for Kate and Prince William, the split between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise and the split of Katy Perry and Russell Brand, Meryl Streep's Academy Award, the death of Whitney Houston, Hurricane Sandy, and the passing of Dick Clark, Ernest Borgnine and Phyllis Diller.

And here are her 2013 predictions:

A fire and explosion at a subway in New York City kills many.


A chemical attack on the United States.


Another cruise ship breaks in half.


Another Super Storm like Sandy hitting the USA, Canada and Europe.


Nuclear attack on New York.


A huge earthquake in the Caribbean.


Cuba and Puerto Rico becoming part of the USA.


A weather satellite will come crashing into a building.


A huge earthquake in St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago and Tennessee.


The map of the world will change due to catastrophic events happening around the globe.


Experimental monkeys escape from a lab causing a pandemic.


Giant prehistoric sea monsters under the sea.

Nope - at least, nothing new. The giant squid pretty much fits the definition of an undersea monster, but we already knew they were down there.

A possible landing of a spaceship.

Nope, unless she's talking about one of ours.

An attack on the Vatican and Pope.


Daniel Day Lewis nominated for an Oscar for Lincoln.

Yes, and he won as well. It's interesting to note that Nikki's first hit is related to movies, given that many of her predictions sound like bad movie plots. At least she hasn't predicted a Sharknado.

Jack Nicholson hospitalized.


Another sex scandal around Arnold Schwarzenegger and has to watch his health.


An earthquake of great magnitude wiping out Mexico City.


Giant tornadoes in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, California, Missouri, and Tennessee.

The biggest tornado in 2013 was marginally EF5 and it did hit Oklahoma. Even though a marginal EF5 doesn't really count as "giant" in my book, I'm willing to call this one a partial hit.

An assassination attempt around Queen Elizabeth.


So that gives Nikki 1.5/20. I'd give her points for style with all the nutty doomsday stuff, but we're focusing on accuracy at the moment.

Next up is Sidney Friedman. Here's his bio:

Sidney "SidneySeer" Friedman claims a documented predictions accuracy of 71%, and a near 100% success rate with his Oscar predictions, missing only twice. His predictions have been covered by all the major television networks as well as hundreds of radio programs.

Here are his predictions for 2013.

Contrary to current tension, and against all reasoned historical probability, there is an unusual, unexpected calm with a period of peaceful understanding in the Middle East by summer of this year between either Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and Iran, achieved not by political leaders, but by common citizens.

Nope. Israel/Iran and Israel/Palestine remain as tense as ever, especially with the Syrian civil war going on and Iran's nuclear enrichment program. The short-term deal on nuclear enrichment between Iran, Russia, and the United States was opposed by Israel, which refuses to rule out a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

In a quasi shake-up, Jimmy Fallon is named host of NBC-TV's Tonight Show, replacing Jay Leno.

This one's a hit. It was announced in April that Fallon would replace Leno in 2014.

With stiff competition from potential nominees Helen Hunt, Sally Field and others, I see Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) triumphantly holding the OSCAR for Best Supporting Actress. Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) will win the Best Supporting Actor OSCAR.

Hathaway won, Jones lost to Christoph Waltz. It looks like Friedman has now missed three Oscar predictions. 1/2.

A new, odd, unexpected source of fuel for cars, trucks and/or machinery is announced.


What this exactly means, I don't know, but for a time, a huge portion of the internet goes dark.


Christina Aguilera goes on some type of retreat and in the process returns significantly slimmer.

I'm calling this one a partial hit. Aguilera didn't go on any sort of retreat, but she did lose a substantial amount of weight between January and November.

A shock of white light is seen in the night sky in several regions of the country this winter or spring.


While I truly hope this does not occur, I foresee a medical condition that sidelines Vice President Joe Biden.


A huge discovery is made, or a significant event occurs, regarding solar flares.

Nope. At least nothing out of the ordinary for the Sun at this point in its cycle.

A plague-like pandemic affects populations in Europe and to some extent in the USA. Much of it ironically occurs in hospitals.


A tech company will announce in 2013 (or at the latest by summer 2014), a flexible tablet that rolls up or folds up.

Nope. Nothing like this has been announced in 2013, and as far as I know nothing like it is in the works. But I'm going to exclude this one from scoring for now since it has until Summer of 2014 to manifest.

Apple announces and releases a "mini iPhone" geared toward children and also under-served populations around the world. Apple finally launches a "smart TV."

Apple did release the 5C version of the iPhone, which was supposed to appeal to populations around the world that couldn't afford the new 5S, but the cost difference was only about $100 and as a result the thing flopped. Apple has yet to launch a smart TV, though we may see one in 2014 or 2015. 1/2.

In spite of negative reviews and a shaky launch, Windows 8 sees excellent signs of catching on.

Nope. The adoption rate for Windows 8 finally passed up the poorly-adopted Vista - ten months after launch. That's a far cry from excellent. Most companies are keeping their distance and sticking with Windows 7. That may change with Windows 8 which includes the (IMO) crucial "boot to desktop" feature - but that won't be released until first quarter of 2014.

So that's 3/14 for Sidney Friedman, a far cry from 71%. And his number of Oscar misses goes from two to three.

So that's it for today. So far, out of our four psychics Vicki Monroe has done the best, with 3/12 for a success rate of 25%. But that's still nothing to phone home about.

Notice how many of these predictions are based on simple extrapolation of trends. Climate change is leading to warmer temperatures and more extreme weather events, so predicting that winter of 2013 would be mild and that we would see more big storms is exactly what a non-psychic climatologist would guess. Industry insiders would have known that Justin Bieber would be releasing a movie in 2013, since studio films take longer than a year to make from start to finish. Joe Biden and Jack Nicholson are both in their 70's, so health problems would not be unexpected for either. Technology and research continue to advance at a fairly predictable pace. And so forth.

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