Sports fans everywhere might not realize that for the past twenty years, the success of their favorite football teams was dependent on the will and predictions of an unlikely source: a 2,000 pound camel named Princess.
A resident of the Popcorn Park Zoo in New Jersey for the last ten years of her life, Princess was known for her uncanny ability to predict — or perhaps even decide? (okay, probably not really, but let us dream) – the victors in football matches.
Though she first gained notoriety as part of a radio publicity stunt, Princess’ eerie abilities soon took on a life of their own. Her Highness accurately predicted the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory in 2013, and in 2008 correctly called 17 out of 22 games, including the Steelers’ Super Bowl win.
Like any capricious god, Princess made her will known using graham crackers. Zoo manager John Bergmann would present the psychic camel with two crackers, and Princess would select the one with the victors’ name on it.
Unfortunately, the twenty-six year old suffered from arthritis so chronic she could no longer stand, and after the failure of extensive treatment she was sent to the great gridiron in the sky last Tuesday, surrounded by veterinarians and other caretakers whose lives she had touched. “Her absence leaves a big void in the park,” says Bergmann. “It was not just her size, but her personality.”
Princess’ final prediction was, of course, correct. She called Denver beating San Diego last Sunday in the playoffs.
With the Super Bowl barely two weeks away, football fans must find another animal on whom to focus their superstitions. If anyone has a cockatoo or terrier with opinions, please let us know, it’s a matter of national importance.
In the meantime, let us all take a knee in honor of a life well lived. Rest In Peace, Princess. The good are gone too soon.
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