With a year as tumultuous as 2020, it must have been a daunting task for the psychics, clairvoyants, astrologers, and numerologists of the world to make an attempt at predicting what 2021 had in store for us. Perhaps you’d expect them to play it safe and keep it vague, or to look at ongoing trends and probabilities to subtly inform projections of the most likely of scenarios, which could then be dressed up as visions of the future.
Of course, you’d only suspect such a thing if you were blissfully unaware of the remarkable hubris of those practitioners, the pressure on journalists to produce content and generate clicks, and the questionable memory of the types of readers who may give credence to such things.
The ‘Psychic Services’ industry continues to generate billions each year, so it’s very much in the interest of those practitioners to get their names in front of the public, and with such popularity, it’s no real surprise that click-hungry media outlets are desperate to feed that desire for content, whether or not there’s anything tangible behind the claims.
Since those parties are unwilling to check the scorecard at the end of the year, I thought I’d take a look on their behalf. A quick search for UK-based articles in late December 2020 and early January 2021 threw up a number of the usual suspects, and some interesting newcomers. It’s sometimes difficult to pin down concrete predictions (check out this article for some award-winning platitude production from Sianne Jones for example), and even when you can, it’s frequently possible to find data which was available at the time to fuel those predictions. Despite this, there was certainly enough out there to make meaningful judgments as we finally crossed the finish line of 2021.
The Guardian: Multiple ‘psychics’
My disappointment at The Guardian for entertaining an article on 2021 predictions was appeased somewhat by them gathering a bundle of them together, making my job easier (all suggestions for appropriate collective noun for psychics are welcome). The article delivered quantity, but not quality.
Scotland’s ‘finest’ June Field failed to say anything really tangible, but she did manage to regurgitate her claim that she knew the imminent devastation that COVID-19 would bring. Spoiler alert: She didn’t, as I documented last year.
Crystal-wrangler to the stars Jayne Wallace kicked off with multiple statements of the obvious. Considering we were in the depths of a pandemic, telling us that “the biggest question people have is health” and “those first months are going to be stressful in terms of mental health” didn’t really offer much. Surprisingly she didn’t comment on ursine defecation trends in forested areas. She was wrong about another lockdown in the third quarter, and about ‘new blood’ in the government in April-May. Her biggest crystal balls-up was the assertion that things will feel ‘much lighter’ in the final quarter of the year – which turned out to be peak Delta and Omicron season.
Numerologist Dale Spencer Weeks, whose middle name is the only thing stopping him from being mistaken for a holiday company in Yorkshire, is certainly numerically superior to most when it comes to surnames, but that’s where the superiority ends. His predictions consisted mostly of things that happen every year. There would be storms, hurricanes, financial market incidents, (unnamed) celebrity deaths, government revelations, and missiles fired. He also mentioned that people would be ‘looking for freedom’, clearly unaware that David Hasselhof beat him to that by over three decades. Unfortunately for Dale, the number I see for him is zero.
Astrologist and forename-spelling-outlier Demian Allan incorrectly predicted new regulations in social media, and got it completely wrong (somewhat disappointingly) about changes in capitalism and materialism. He also mentioned an ‘easing’ of the general health picture in March, which may have been partially true. Unfortunately, at the time the article came out it was well known that there was a vaccine on the way, and that ‘easing’ was somewhat short-lived as the Delta variant was just around the corner. It appears therefore that Demian has pulled most of his predictions erroneously from Uranus.
Down at the very bottom of the pack was tarot reader Tatianna Morales who was asked little, presumably due to the word count requirement already being met, and answered even less. The closest we got to a prediction is an emphatic ‘Yes’ when asked if the solution to Covid will arrive in the first quarter of 2021. This answer may well have been informed by the fact that the UK was already starting its vaccine rollout at the time of the article. Sadly, this turned out to be completely wrong, which dealt quite a blow to Tatianna’s credibility.
Unilad: Anne Jirsch
More countries will begin the process of leaving the European Union (wrong). Donald Trump will be involved in a number of peace talks throughout the world and will create a powerful new way of communicating via social media and new TV channels (wrong but entertaining). A new baby on the way for the Beckham family (wrong). Katy Perry will become pregnant with her second child (wrong). Harry Styles will put extra focus into his acting career (finally correct), and achieve critical acclaim (not really). She also predicted that we should expect ‘a surprise new album’ from the former One Direction star (mercifully wrong).
The closest she got to a hit was regarding Kim Kardashian, with (admittedly vague) talk of a ‘new phase’, which if we’re being generous we could say related to her ongoing (and very public) marital problems with Kanye West, or perhaps her bucking celebrity trends and having a brush with the law in a purely academic sense. Regular service is resumed before the end of the article with a straightforward miss about a new addition to the royal family, and some allusions to legal trouble for Prince Andrew which anyone who read the news in December 2020 could have predicted without breaking sweat. Anne Jirsch will be warmly welcomed in casinos across the land after such a display.
The Sun: Nicolas Aujul
Nicolas kicked off his article with some intense royal family speculation, but he’s certainly not Aujul in the crown. He started on safe ground with some speculation about Prince Philip’s health (without actually naming him), and Meghan Markle revealing some royal secrets (which she had already done by that time). Unfortunately, the slips began shortly afterwards, with a straight miss about another baby for Meghan and Harry, followed by some vague speculation about relationship troubles for William and Kate (which can be found in the tabloids every year since they got together). Continuing the subject of relationship issues, he scored partial hits for Tom Cruise and Kim Kardashian and a miss for Natalie Portman.
The article continues with some reasonable, but entirely predictable (without psychic powers) speculation about the COVID-19 situation, the Chinese democracy, Donald Trump, and the Biden administration. He blots his copybook with regards to US politics with misses about Biden’s health, and an email scandal though. Finally, there’s the repetition of his claim that he predicted the pandemic back in 2018. As I investigated last year, this proves to be untrue.
Various sources: Jemima Packington
Sitting near the bottom of the vege-table is ‘asparamancer’ Jemima Packington. From a self-promotion perspective she did well, managing to score herself an appearance on This Morning, which triggered a tabloid feeding frenzy: The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, and The Metro to name a few, although my personal favourite was the British Asparagus Festival.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Jemima’s unique selling point is her use of asparagus to predict the future. Unfortunately, the gimmick did not serve her well, with a string of misses including royal divorces, a big announcement from the Queen in June, Prince Harry’s return to the UK for a showdown in March, and Alison Hammond getting a dog.
She does score points for naivete with a couple of her predictions though: Firstly, “Big salaries for sports stars and the obsession with celebrities will become things of the past – the era of semi-professional sportsmen will re-emerge along with a focus on real heroes”, only usurped by “The world’s population will become kinder and more tolerant as a direct result of the pandemic and governments will be more beholden to the will of their people”. The closest she got to being correct about anything was an entirely predictable prediction about the easing of lockdown, and an unsurprising lack of a second Scottish independence referendum. In conclusion, something doesn’t quite smell right here. Asparagus has quite the habit of doing that.
There’s plenty more similar articles out there, all with a similar lack of accuracy. Here’s just a few of the ‘highlights’:
- Craig Hamilton-Parker is described as the ‘New Nostradamus’, clearly unaware of how questionable the old Nostradamus’ powers were. Hamilton-Parker lives up to the name perfectly though, with a litany of misses, including the overthrowing of Kim Jong-Un, the emergence of two fresh viruses, one of which originating in China, and terrorist attacks in the USA.
- Yelena Konova told The Express that “2021 is going to be a much better year for us all”. Enough said.
- The Express also prompted predictions from a group of ‘psychics’ writing for PsychicWorld. Strength did not come numbers though, and among their failures were a global financial crisis, divorce for Donald Trump, and an autobiography from him too.
- The tabloids continue to perform a Weekend at Bernie’s act with Baba Vanga, this time her presumably temporarily reanimated corpse telling The Sun to expect brain trauma for Donald Trump and an end to cancer. Wishful thinking on both counts presumably.
- Not breaking into the tabloids, but a special mention for Jessica Adams who continues to claim she predicted COVID-19 (once again, as I covered last year, she didn’t). Unfortunately for Adams she made the mistake of saying that there would not be a vaccine, and is comically trying to explain her way around that on her website. Presumably she’ll have now learned her lesson about hedging her bets.
In summary, it appears as if none of our practitioners has showered themselves in glory. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s worth bearing in mind that none of them predicted any of the ‘big hitter’ events of 2021, like the return to power of the Taliban, or the Jan 6th insurrection in the USA, to name a couple. There was also a failure to accurately predict celebrity pregnancies, divorces, and deaths.
My advice to the tabloids would be to take them to task whenever their predictions fail to transpire. It would certainly be newsworthy, and, much more importantly, it would save me a lot of effort this time next year.