We live in capricious, contrary, and careless times. Moments of unpredictability, therefore, are best balanced by creating a foundation of predictability and predictions.
This week, at the end of an interview with British journalist Thomas McGrath, the last question I was asked was to name three or four "predictions" that I had made, which, as the writer characterized, might be considered "especially accurate."
Global predictions are often wrong, needless to say.
In general, I don't think of myself as foreseeing the future. Making predictions is a tricky thing to do, anyway. After all, look at a few bad predictions some people have recorded:
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." -- Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.
In contrast to those types of incorrect "projections," you have a televised cartoon program that screened between 1962 and 1963, which correctly forecast "futuristic technologies that exist today," as Matt Houghton wrote in his "6 Current Technologies The Jetsons Predicted."
The Jetsons was quite early in their predictions, as well as rather persistent. Video chat is used frequently in every episode I watched. Clearly, with webcams and Skype, as well as the iPhone 4′s new FaceTime, this has quite clearly come true.
Being a futurist, I was intrigued by this journalist's request and the resulting exercise. Developing a list to point to would be instructive, historically interesting, and helpful in illustrating what I do. So, I came up with a list of ten predictions, which I shall share completely with you.
The list may seem banal, being framed from Bigfoot to baseball, with many examples of violence in between. But they all are keyed to feelings I had that something was on the horizon that needed to be shared. There are other areas I decided to not explore, such as my writings on self-immolations, which are also predictable, and often result in great social change, as happened with the Arab Spring, see here and here. With the significance of what is going on this summer, in the wake of Aurora, I knew I wanted those kinds of events to be the core of what I examined.
So, here then is my list of ten examples of my "predictions" - in historical order, from most recent back to 1989 - which, in relative terms, have been "hits."
1. August 20, 2012; Highway 93, Montana; Randy Lee Tenley incident. - Prediction, earlier on August 20, 2012.
Apparently, I make predictions all the time, without even knowing it. Sometimes they are about shootings, red dawns, Jupiter, and other events, due to perceptions that literally come into my head and get typed out onto the screen of this computer. Let me give you a minor but intriguing illustration.
Recently, correspondent Guy Edwards (who writes a popular hominology blog, Bigfoot Lunch Club, and also enjoys my twilight language writings) pointed out my serious "masks" reference at the end of a somewhat humorous posting.
I included an image paired, on purpose, with a mismatched graphic novel quote, reproduced here:
Edwards then left this comment at the TL site: "The Edward Blake/Watchmen quote about masks paired with the Guy Fawkes masks from V for Vendetta, another great graphic novel, is either serendipitous, a form of synchronicity or just plain clever."
To which I felt compelled to privately send him a thank you email, and let flow this reply/explanation to Edwards on Sunday, August 26, 2012, at 6:43 PM Eastern time: "Totally my creative streak. It all made sense. Harmonic and all of that. I look to it being a prediction too. I expect some kind of masked event next week, for some reason."
What was being highlighted was the incident that happened late on Sunday evening, August 26th. Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell, Montana, reportedly was wearing a Ghillie suit, dressed up as a Bigfoot, trying to create a popular cultural hoax, got hit, and got killed on Montana's Highway 93. Tenley was struck by two innocent teenage girls in two separate cars, who were unable to avoid Tenley. The death sent shockwaves throughout the cryptozoology and related research communities, because it was the first time that a hoax had ended so tragically. Most people had thought someone in a Bigfoot costume would first be killed in a forest faking event by being shot, not struck on a road.
Coincidence, haphazard remark, prediction? We best know our own works, sometimes, by how others internalize them.
2. August 5, 2012; Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh Temple; Wade Michael Page kills 6 + self; plus other copycats. Prediction, July 23, 2012.
I said people should watch for copycats, in the wake of Aurora. The copycats, in general, did occur. But something bigger and more specific took place.
wrote on July 23, 2012.
3. July 20, 2012; Aurora, Colorado, Century 16 theater; allegedly James Eagan Holmes kills 12. Prediction, July 19, 2012.
On July 19th, I wrote we all should expect something dramatic and perhaps deadly linked to the release of The Dark Knight Rises. I said, more specifically:
Now that the date of the release of The Dark Knight Rises and this visual Bane is upon us, let's look at the fact the film is opening on July 20, 2012. 7.20.2012. 20.7.2012.
What are the significant memorable themes associated with past July 20ths? There are two major motifs that leap forth from history: space and assassinations.
[Then I looked at a short history of events associated with the date.]
***I've detailed these facts here (which has the source prediction blog quotes and citations), and then put this in context, biographically.
Will any events take place on July 20, 2012, of any import?
Dates of movie releases have had strange links.
The day of neo-Nazi Breivik's massacre in Norway (July 22, 2011) was the day of the release of the film Captain America (July 22, 2011), with the first scene taking place in Norway, to the sound of Nazis' rapid fire machine gunning. A bizarre coincidence, to say the least.
The British journalist asked me, "what time exactly on the nineteenth did you post that Aurora prediction."
The posting was time-coded on this blog, when the final edit was published:
4. Post-July 2008; Post-The Dark Knight release; Joker copycats.
In general, I wrote about and projected that Joker copycats would occur in the wake of the release 2008's of The Dark Knight. The deadly copycats of The Joker have been rather constant from 2009 through 2012, from the Dendermonde Joker, through James Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, infamy, to the most recent minor former resident of Aurora Park, Florida.
5. February 14, 2008; NIU, DeKalb, Illinois, Steven Phillip Kazmierczak kills 5 + self. Prediction, February 9, 2008.
On February 9, 2008, I wrote (see here and here):
"If we have learned anything from the recent past, awareness of the shifting patterns are often instructive in predicting the near future. Look for major surprises in school shootings and similar mass rampages..."
The Valentine's Day Northern Illinois University shooting happened five days later. It is the fifth-deadliest university shooting in United States history.
6. April 16, 2007; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia; Seung-Hui Cho kills 32 + self. Prediction, October 3, 2006.
During the fall of 2006, in emails to Canadian media, I shared some specifics pointing to the coming scope and date of the Virginia Tech massacre:
In that article, I was quoted as noting the psychological process that these shooters appear to be 'competing for the highest body count.' Sadly, we've seen that come true today [on April 16, 2007].The Virginia Tech event is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history and one of the deadliest in the world.
Also, the news item from last fall  noted: 'He says that while the Pennsylvania shootings may not be the last in this cluster, the copycat crimes will likely slow down as we near winter. He says spring, and the anniversary of Columbine [April 20th], could be enough to spark another cycle of tragedy.'
Again, my prediction of a reigniting of the school shooting wildfire during this very week was revealed today [on April 16, 2007].
7. September 27 (Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado), September 29 (Weston High School, Cazenovia, Wisconsin), October 6 (Old Order Amish one-room school, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania), 2006, series. - Prediction, September 18, 2006.
8. March 21, 2005; Red Lake, Minnesota, Jeffrey Weise kills 9 + self. Prediction, March 18, 2005.
I predicted on March 18, 2005 that we all needed to watch for a school shooting of some import in 2005, from March 20th through April 20th, probably involving a Neo-Nazi, as per The Copycat Effect.
Widespread media credit was given to me for predicting this incident. Of course, no one who read my prediction was in any position to prevent what happened at Red Lake, so the media recognition carried with it an emptiness, unless people pay attention to the next time. (See more documentation on this prediction, here, here, and here.)
9. Post-April 20, 1999; Post-Columbine copycats. Prediction, April 1999.
Working as a youth suicide and school violence prevention consultant for the State of Maine, I had been predicting (from 1996-1999) that the ramifications of the copycat effect from school shootings were being greatly underestimated. After the Littleton, Colorado shootings at Columbine High School, on April 20, 1999, I predicted there would be a wave of school incidents occurring in the wake of Columbine. One fatality did take place a week after Columbine, at the W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta, and 450 copycat incidents happened across the USA in the month after the Columbine school shooting. I have continued to document the Columbine copycats into 2012.
10. Major League Baseball player suicides, Summer 1989. Prediction, October 4, 1988.
The Copycat Effect, pages 208, 212-216:
In 1987-88, I undertook a study of baseball player suicides, which led to a
significant statistical prediction. At the time, I was a project director and
principal investigator of a three-year quarter-million dollar federal project
on suicides at the University of Southern Maine. And having had a passionate
interest in baseball all my life, I wondered if the databases that existed for
ballplayers could provide any clues, in terms of stories or statistics, which
might inform the trends and patterns in baseball players’ suicides and suicide
…[After a decade of no Major League Baseball players dying by suicide, I saw the likelihood of that changing was going to be immediately upon us.]
At the end of the baseball season in 1988, I predicted that, as the decade ended, a major league baseball player would die by suicide. I wrote a letter dated October 4, 1988, to then commissioner Peter Ueberroth and every team owner noting that a baseball player suicide was statistically likely in 1989 or 1990, and asking that a study be undertaken to see if a retirement counseling program for ballplayers would be justified.
As Sports Illustrated detailed in the July 31, 1989 issue (pp. 7):
“Sadly, Coleman's prediction came true last week. On July 18, at his home in
Anaheim, Calif., former All-Star relief pitcher Donnie Moore drew a gun, shot and critically wounded his wife, Tonya, with whom police say he had been arguing, and then shot and killed himself. Moore, 35, had been released on June 12 by the Kansas City Royals' minor league affiliate in Omaha. Friends say that Moore was haunted by memories of the two-strike, two-out, ninth-inning home run he gave up to Dave Henderson of the Boston Red Sox while pitching for the Angels in Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series. If Moore had retired Henderson, California would have won the series four games to one. Instead, Boston won Game 5 in extra innings and then triumphed in Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series against the Mets.”
In 2001 ESPN Classics noted that Moore had told reporters in 1988, "I'll think about that [pitch] until the day I die."
My earlier findings showed Moore's death fit the typical pattern for baseball player suicides. Moore, like half the players who took their lives, had used a gun. He was, like more than half of baseball player suicide victims, between his late 20s and late 40s. And like 15% of the victims, he died within two years after their major league careers had ended. Moore's final big league season was 1988. But perhaps most notable of all, Moore, as with all pitchers before him in the 20th century who had killed themselves, was a right-handed pitcher. Curiously, teammates had given Moore the nickname “Lefty” because he seemed perhaps a little unpredictable, just as the mythic left-handed pitcher is said to be. One wonders if it is the left-handed pitchers’ flexible style that produces an acceptable coping mechanism for their stresses and serves as a protective factor against suicides.
While the media tend to always discuss the Moore suicide, it was only one of many in 1989. It was only after Moore’s suicide that we learned that three other Major Leaguers and one college player had killed themselves earlier that year. Dan Haycock, 19, a sophomore pitcher for Virginia's James Madison University's baseball team shot himself on February 12, 1989. He had been charged with drunk driving at 2:00 a.m. the morning of his death. His body was found near home plate with the 12-gauge shotgun he had used. He had left a note. On April 5th, the day after the Pittsburgh Pirates opening day, Carlos Bernier, an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953, hung himself in Puerto Rico. Mike Reinbach, 39, a Baltimore Orioles outfielder for one year in 1974, drove his car off a San Diego, in a suicide on May 20th. On May 30, 1989, Virgil Stallcup, a pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds in the late 1940s and early 1950s, shot himself.
Then within a week of the Moore suicide, a rising African-American college basketball star, Ricky Barry, 24, of the Sacramento Kings, killed himself using a gun in August 1989. How many other young African-American ball players died by suicide after the Moore death is unknown, because no one in MLB was tracking what was going on in 1989. The baseball establishment and the sports media circled their wagons, and little was heard of Donnie Moore or other suicidal players for years.
While Barry’s suicide may have been modeled on Moore’s suicide, those that preceded Moore’s suicide clearly were not. But was Donnie Moore’s death was a copycat itself? Certainly those prior suicides would have been well known within the small fraternity of baseball players.
In any case, the suicides have continued.
On May 31, 1990, almost a year exactly to the day of Stallcup’s suicide,
Charlie Shoemaker, a Kansas City second baseman in 1961-62, 1964, shot himself.
I take no joy in my predictions being true, but to ignore the patterns that are there and to not try to communicate them to those who would listen, I feel, would be the greater irresponsible act.
This way a storm comes....