Thursday, October 27, 2016

So Is He Psychic?

Recently the Internet has been buzzing with the story of Michael Lee, who predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the 2016 World Series. Lee's prediction was made in 1993, in his high school yearbook. At first everybody assumed that the quote was fake and the accompanying image photoshopped, but subsequent research has determined that the quote appears to be genuine and may actually date back to 1993.

Some background - the Chicago Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908, and have been considered "cursed" by many fans ever since. But this year, after a remarkable turnaround, the Cubs are in fact playing in the World Series, and as of this writing are tied 1-1 with the Cleveland Indians. If they do go on to win the series, the prediction will be fulfilled. So is Lee psychic, or is it all a big coincidence?

Admittedly, faking a yearbook pic is well in the realm of a capable photoshop hoaxer. However, one Reddit user named number1makeitso claims to have found four other copies of the same yearbook, and that Lee’s prediction is in those yearbooks as well. The user posted them on Imgur as evidence:

And Lee’s former classmate Marcos Meza never forgot the prediction, according to WGN TV. “When [Lee and I] connected on Facebook in 2009 I sent him the photo and told him we were nearing 2016. He posted the photo of his prediction on August 8th,” Meza told the station. “After my Dodgers lost it was time for me to make this go viral and BeLEEve in the Cubs for 2016.”

The station has been in contact with Lee, who, fittingly, lives in the Chicago area and is waiting to see if his prediction comes true.

So it's hard to say if Lee might have had some special insight, or if this is simply a case where one out of potentially millions of predictions happens to have matched the data. The Cubs' playoff losing streak has been a running joke among sports fans, so it's likely that they would be the subject of a humorous prediction. I also don't know if similar yearbook predictions have been made for them in other years as well, since as far as I know nobody has bothered to look.

But assuming the the prediction is genuine, the more unique it turns out to be, the more unlikely it is that Lee would just happen to get the year exactly right. Psychic abilities can be maddeningly unpredictable - somewhat ironically, especially when they involve predictions - and it might just be that when he let his mind wander in search of what sounded like a good year, he actually connected with something.

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