If you’re into sports gambling, it might be time to buy a pig. As the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia, bookmakers and gamblers around the world are scrambling to pick their tournament winners in order take home their own pieces of World Cup glory. While most bets are based on teams’ prior performance and rosters, some people turn to more eclectic means of placing their bets. For a few gambling football fans, the difference between winning and losing this year might come down to Mystic Marcus, an allegedly psychic pig from Derbyshire, England who is known for successfully predicting the outcomes of sporting events.
Stevens claims Marcus’ abilities stem from the fact that he is a seventh son of a seventh son. In folklore and legends around the world, the seventh sons of seventh sons from unbroken lines of male heirs are believed to have magical powers or special abilities. When Stevens first tested Marcus for any unique abilities, she says she was surprised to find that the pig was actually able to predict football matches:
A few years ago I was invited on a radio show because of Paul the octopus predicting results and they wanted to see if I had any animals that had the ability. I hadn’t tried the seventh child theory out so thought I’d give it a go. They used apples and oranges and Marcus predicted the football results, it was amazing.
Stevens says Mystic Marcus then went on to predict the UK’s Brexit vote and even the election of failed steak peddler Donald Trump in the United States. Once, Marcus refused to choose either of the teams for an upcoming football match, which ended in a draw.
To predict the semi-finalists of this year’s World Cup, Marcus was placed in a circle of apples, each of which sported a flag from the 32 nations competing in the tournament. This year, Marcus chose the apples representing Belgium, Argentina, Nigeria and Uruguay as his semi-finalists. We’ll have to wait until July 6th and 7th, the dates of the semi-final qualifying matches, to see how Mystic Marcus fares this year. “He has a 100 per cent track record, I think he’s got to get it wrong one day but he never does," his owner says. "Let’s hope he can do it again this time round.”