Another reason is that people have always been attracted to, and fascinated by, performing animals. Magic historian and actor Ricky Jay devotes a chapter to such animal marvels in his book "Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women: Unique, Eccentric, and Amazing Entertainers," noting that an 1817 advertisement touted "Toby the Sapient Pig," whose abilities included spelling, reading, playing cards, telling time, and -- perhaps most astonishingly -- reading an audience member's thoughts (hopefully the person wasn't reminiscing about the delicious bacon he had for breakfast).
Those porcine wonders were illusions and tricks, of course, but not all were; a horse exhibited throughout Europe in the 1890s named Clever Hans was said to be able to count, read, and spell. Hans was enormously popular with paying crowds, and seemed a genuine mystery for several years. A skeptical researcher, however, eventually discovered that Hans was responding to unconscious cues from his trainer, who would make subtle movements when Hans had selected the correct answer. It wasn't a hoax or fraud but instead what psychologists call "unconscious cueing."
Animals do in fact have superhuman senses that can appear mysterious or even paranormal. Dogs have a remarkable sense of smell that can track fugitives and detect minute quantities of drugs or explosives (even through heavy masking agents such as perfume or ammonia); birds can migrate using celestial cues; and elephants can detect faint vibrations -- including other elephants' footsteps -- for miles.
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Many people believe that animals can predict earthquakes, and there's some scientific truth to it. Animals may sense unusual vibrations or changes in air pressure coming from one direction that suggest they should move in the opposite direction. If a herd of animals are seen fleeing before an earthquake, all that is needed is for one or two of them to skittishly sense danger and the rest will follow.
Folklore is rife with superstitions and omens based on animal behavior. Perhaps the most famous is that crossing a black cat's path brings bad luck, but there are many others across eras and cultures. Some people believe, for example, that encountering other animals (including bees, crickets, and ladybugs) brings good luck.
Ancient Romans believed that animals could tell the future by spilling their guts-literally. Haruspication, a popular fortune-telling practice, involved disemboweling a recently butchered animal (usually poultry or sheep) and spreading its intestines on the ground to see if the bloody entrails formed any symbols that could be interpreted as omens about a specific question, or the future in general.
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Aside from Otto there are many predicting animals, including a camel named Shaheen, an elephant named Nelly, a dog named Roy Dog-son, and Pele the Psychic Piranha. To be fair, some seemingly psychic animals do predict outcomes at a statistically higher rate than would be expected by chance. But we need not invoke some paranormal powers to account for this, since with enough animals making enough predictions, some will outperform others merely by random chance.
The best-known "psychic" animals are known precisely because they succeed; local prognosticators who perform significantly below chance aren't likely to make the news. And while things didn't work out on the Brexit vote, whether Otto has a future predicting European soccer games may be decided soon.