Berlin - Before any given year even begins, predictions are made about natural catastrophes, assassinations of world leaders and even more apocalyptic events that are supposed to occur.
This year December 21, for example, was supposed to mark the end of the world according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar. It's not the only prediction about 2012 that turned out to be false.
There were other scary doomsday scenarios that self-described prophets predicted for 2012 that also failed to come true, according to a scientific society based in the German town of Rossdorf, about 40 kilometres south of Frankfurt, that examines what it calls parascience.
The experts in the group looked at 140 prognoses and 70 known soothsayers and released a report recently. The mathematician Michael Kunkel led the analysis again this year.
“Prognoses are always a reaction to reality,” said Kunkel.
“Things that are predicted are also things that can be imagined.”
Attacks on the US president are always popular predictions, he said, adding that prophecies sometimes seem to roll off a conveyor belt production.
Canadian Nikki Pezaro made the most absurd predictions for 2012. They included descriptions of events that sounded like they were dreamed up in Hollywood: bird attacks, the discovery of the holy grail, and sea monsters that were to appear from the depths of the sea.
Natural catastrophes were supposed to occur between the end of June and the middle of July, according to astrologist Kurt Allgeier. Bombings, terrorist attacks and airline crashes - all that and more were predicted for 2012.
“Traditionally, all types of catastrophes are predicted. In recent years they have been embellished by the dramatic depictions of the effects of the economic crisis,” Kunkel said.
As a reaction to the euro crisis, predictions about the collapse of economic and financial systems have come to the fore. Rosalinde Haller of Vienna predicted the end of the European Union and the euro in 2012. Others predicted the euro zone would crumble, while others went further and said it would completely collapse.
The European Cup, surprisingly, was not of great interest to the prognosticators. Astrologers are usually more restrained about making football prognoses, which are easily tested.
An array of animals are brought in to make predictions based on some action they take. There have been apes, snails, hamsters, dogs, cats, pigs, elephants, tigers and turtles brought in to do the task. They are all compared with Paul, the octopus that accurately predicted the winner of all of Germany's 2010 World Cup games by his feeding habits.
Looking ahead to 2013, it appears there will more of the same kind of predictions and methods. Kunkel said the usual natural catastrophes already have been predicted. And he has no doubt others will follow. - Sapa-dpa