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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Life + Arts

No shadow, early spring promising

Members of The Inner Circle of Punxsutawney, Pa., said Groundhog Day’s biggest star, Punxsutawney Phil, didn’t see his shadow Tuesday morning when he reluctantly stood atop his home (a large stump with a double door cut out of it) indicating an early spring.

The Inner Circle — often seen wearing top hats — made their way through a brisk crowd in predawn darkness with a police escort and gathered around the stump, Phil’s home. A firm tap on his door with a walking stick rattled through the cold air.

“We want Phil!” said various members of the croud.

The lights were turned off and the stage was lit for Phil to do his work.

He emerged and relayed the forecast in Groundhogese — a language specific to the ground hog and members of The Inner Circle. Once the message is passed from the groundhog to the men in black, it is then passed on to the rest of the world.

“Did you ever have a spiritual passage of thought?” asked Groundhog Club President Bud Dunkel. “Phil communicates his prediction to the Inner Circle telepathically.”

The tradition of Groundhog Day originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and is a widely celebrated event throughout the US and Canada. The most notable celebration, however, occurs in Punxsutawney, Pa.

The townspeople of Punxsutawney have been taking care of Phil since he first started making predictions in 1887. Every summer Inner Circle members feed Phil green groundhog punch that adds seven years to his life.

According to a study by the National Climatic Data Center, Phil has a 39 percent accuracy rating, though The Inner Circle claims an accuracy of 75 to 90 percent. Either way, this far exceeds any weatherman — the only individual that is paid to be wrong.

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