The Ancient and Clairvoyant Groundhog Predicts More Winter… Again



Ava Paulsen, Editor in Chief

Groundhog day is a national day of importance. Held in Pennsylvania, masses gather to see the infamous Punxsutawney Phil (paraded around by men in Abraham Lincoln-style top hats) declare whether or not spring will arrive early. 

The day before Groundhog Day was met with anguish as Punxsutawney Phil was presumed to be dead. Despite these rumors, Phil is in good health and saw his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. 

Phil’s New Jersey counterpart, Milltown Mel, did pass away, inciting this confusion between the two groundhogs. 

“We Wranglers are sad to report that Milltown Mel recently crossed over the rainbow bridge,” the Facebook post from @miltownmel. Consequently, the groundhog day celebration in Miltown was canceled due to Mel’s untimely death and the lack of any baby groundhogs to replace Mel since it is still hibernation season. 

The community of Miltown is coming together in mourning. Many people on Facebook offered their condolences, like Judith Waidlich who commented, “So sorry, we’ll miss him.” Another commenter, Bob Smith, offered his help, “If I trap one [groundhog] under my shed I’ll be glad to give him to you,” his comment reads. 

Fortunately, the infamous Punxsutawney Phil is still alive and well despite working as the nation’s clairvoyant groundhog for the past 137 years. According to The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club FAQ, “There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making predictions since 1886!”

However, PBS claims that groundhogs live up to 14 years in captivity, and a maximum of 6 years in the wild. Apparently, Phil’s “elixir of life” is the key to his longevity, The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club claims. 

An avid reader of The Daily Howl brought up an excellent point: If Phil can see his shadow, then doesn’t that mean the sun is out and it should be spring — not winter? Apparently the logic behind the forecast is derived from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that claims “if a groundhog emerges from its burrows on this day and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.” Although, the superstition fails to offer any explanation or logical reasoning for conclusion. 

“I can’t do six more weeks of this,” Mia Souther, Chief of Staff of The Daily Howl says. “Phil needs to be more considerate.”

Phil has predicted 107 winters and only 20 early springs which, according to Stormfax Weather Almanac, gives the groundhog a 39% accuracy rate. 

Even though Groundhog day is historic, one must ask, does Phil really know what he’s doing? It wouldn’t be baseless to assume that 137 years at the same job will make a groundhog go bonkers.