Psychic Survivor Predictions Put to the Test

by David Bloomberg

Back in January, the media was busily trying to figure out who might win Survivor II. The Chicago Tribune went so far as to have Chicago-based "psychic" Joseph DeLouise look at the 16 contestant biographies and predict the outcome. Since I am interested in psychic predictions (obviously) and also reality TV, I dug up this old article (from January 26) to see how his predictions fared.

Right off the bat, I knew that looking back at these would provide me with amusement-he predicted that contestant Debb Eaton would win. At the time this ran, all the non-psychics who paid attention to Survivor spoiler information had figured out well before the first episode aired that Debb would be the first one booted. Yet DeLouise says, "I feel good about her. … The winner is Debb." Apparently, he has a different definition of "winner" than the rest of us do. As the non-psychics predicted, Debb was indeed the first one voted off of Survivor II. DeLouise could not possibly have been more wrong.

But let's have a look at the rest, in order of their being voted off the show. Kel was next. DeLouise said of him: "He'll have good showing to about the three-quarters mark." Nope. How about Maralyn? He said she "will make it to the sixth, seventh, or eighth show." Even with a span of three shows, he still blew it. 0 for 3 so far.

Next was Mitchell. DeLouise said "I feel OK about him. He'll come into his own, but this isn't his time. He could be knocked out in the third or fourth show." Of course, like most "psychics," he puts in the "could" to try to help save himself a bit (too bad for him he didn't do that with the earlier ones, where he was so obviously wrong). But, still, we'll give it to him. Kimmi was voted out next. DeLouise had said about her, "She'll be out soon. One of the first." Well, I don't know about anybody else, but I don't consider fifth to be "one of the first." I'm not giving it to him. So he's 1 for 5.

Here is one of the most important predictions-Mike. Now, any real psychic (if indeed such people existed) should have been able to detect the pain and overwhelming emotions involved in Mike's departure-he was not voted off but was whisked away in a helicopter after inhaling smoke fumes and passing out briefly enough to end up with his hands getting seriously burned in the fire. His agony was broadcast for all the country to see. But DeLouise makes no mention of that. In fact, he doesn't have a whole lot to say about Mike at all in the Tribune article: "He will do well, but won't win. He will be in there for a while." That's so vague it could mean almost anything. But it sure doesn't say anything about the way Mike ended up leaving. No point for that one. 1 for 6.

Now we go into the merger. Jeff was next on the show, but not in DeLouise's prediction. He said: "He's a leader and will be there at the end, the last two or three shows." Heck, he wasn't even in the jury in the final shows. (The final seven contestants other than the last two contenders, make up the jury that stays around to vote between those last two.) Yet another blown prediction. After Jeff went Alicia. Here, DeLouise gave a seemingly contradictory prediction. He said, "She will be up there and in the running. … She could finish off at the fifth, sixth, or seventh episode." Well, finishing in the fifth, sixth, or seventh episode is not what I would consider "up there and in the running." That's not even making it halfway. In any event, he managed to be wrong on both counts! She was booted in the eighth episode-neither up in the running nor in the ones he listed. With such a wide range of possibilities for that one, it's kind of amazing that he managed to miss it! 1 for 8.

Next was the coup in which Jerri-who thought she was in command of her alliance-was overthrown. DeLouise gave two sentences about her mind being on personal things (whatever that's supposed to mean) and then said, "She could be knocked out early." Nope. Wrong again. Nick followed Jerri, and DeLouise was closer with him, saying, "He will do well. He'll be there toward the end-maybe three-fourths of the way through. But I don't see him finishing." Well, being booted in episode 10 out of 14 is pretty darned close to three-fourths. I'll give it to him, despite his use of "maybe" in the prediction. So he's 2 for 10 so far.
Amber followed Nick, but not in DeLouise's mind. According to him, she should have been long gone by then: "Out after the second or third show. She'll be knocked out after she sees her first black widow spider." To the contrary, she teamed up with the black widow spider (Jerri) and even stuck around longer than her. What about Rodger, the next one out? We have another vague prediction: "He'll be in the running for a while, but knocked out toward the end." Well, heck, that could mean almost anything. Still, being in the final five is "toward the end." I'll be generous and give it to him. That puts him at 3 for 12 as we head into the home stretch.

What did DeLouise have to say about Elisabeth? "She'll be out after the third or fourth show." Blew another one big-time. How about Keith? "He will be knocked out early…after the second or third show." Ouch, another really bad call. 3 for 14.

So, what did he think about Colby, who came in second place? We have another contradictory prediction: "I feel good he'll be around toward the end. He's in the running, may be there toward the finish." Sounds pretty good, eh? But wait, there's more: "He may be out after the eighth or ninth episode." Huh?! Which is it? First the guy says he may be there toward the finish, then that he may be out in the middle of the game. You can't have it both ways. No point for this one, not with that contradiction. So he's 3 for 15 leading into the winner.

But we already know who he picked to win-Debb. So obviously, it wasn't Tina, who actually did come out on top. Here's what he had to say about this season's winner: "Her energy, mind and determination are there, but they won't do her any good. She won't have the stamina to make it to the finish." Could he have possibly been more wrong if he tried? I don't think so.

So his final score is 3 out of 16, or 19%. That, frankly, is pathetic. What makes it even worse is that the ones he got right were in the vaguer predictions that had wide interpretation. For Mitchell, he said he "could be" knocked out when he was. For Nick he said "maybe" three-fourths of the way. For Rodger, he said "toward the end."

But when he missed, he tended to miss badly, they were often more specific. For example, saying Debb would be the winner and Kel would have a good showing were big-time blunders, as was his statement about Tina.

Frankly, though, we shouldn't be surprised that this "psychic" blew it. According to one Web site listing predictions that had been made previously for what the year 2000 would be like, DeLouise predicted in 1972 that by 2000, "The Arabs and the Jews will unite - Japan and China will merge - People will travel in electric cars through underground highways." Last I checked, the first and second were completely and totally untrue, and the last one is only true if you consider the less than 1% of so of the population to be the "people" who are using electric cars, and a few tunnels here and there to be "underground highways." In other words, he blew it big-time, just like with his Survivor predictions.

Another site discussing present-day psychics has some more of his predictions, including that "Detroit will be the capital of a smaller nation, which will be a police state." Hmmm. I must have missed that one.

In other words, the Chicago Tribune should have known not to bother asking this guy for predictions. Indeed, they should have known not to ask any so-called "psychics" at all.

I was hoping the Tribune would be brave enough to run their own review of their earlier predictions. I guess that was a pretty silly idea. But hopefully they will learn their lesson and keep "psychics" out of future reporting. Alas, using history as a guide, I'm not holding my breath.

To steal a line from a different reality show: Joseph DeLouise, you are the weakest link. Goodbye....

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