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More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Punxsutawney Phil, Wiarton Willie, And Pothole Pete

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posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 01:50 AM
Today is Groundhog Day. And from the weather a lot of us have been having lately we will be watching to see if our furry friend sees his shadow. I was curious myself to see where this tradition originated, and if the U.S. was the only place that practiced this fun seasonal ritual. I decided to share it with my fellow ATSer's if they wished to read it.

Groundhogs are used because they are known to hibernate like bears in the winter. When they start waking up and venturing out, it is generally a sign that warmer days are on their way. The tradition started in 1887, but sources say it's origins are unknown.

Why this time of year?

February is midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Throughout history numerous holidays have marked this seasonal crossroads. Among these is Candlemas Day, February 2, a Christian holiday that celebrates Mary's ritual purification. Early Christians believed that if the sun came out on Candlemas Day, winter would last for six weeks more.

The ancient Romans observed a mid-season festival on February 5, and the pagan Irish celebrated one around February 1. In many parts of Europe early February might herald the start of spring, when crops could be planted.
Punxsutawney Phil and Friends

If the groundhog sees his shadow then the prediction is 6 more weeks of winter. If the groundhog doesn't see his shadow then it predicts an early spring.

For the past 2 years Phil has kept up with technology. Now he can text you!
This is Punxsutawney Phil himself!

Punxsutawney Phil has definitely adapted to the times. He can now text you his Tuesday weather prediction. Just text "Groundhog" to 247365 on Groundhog Day.

Canada does join in the fun with a groundhog of their own.They use an albino groundhog named Wiarton Willie.

According to sources the groundhog's predictions are written down in the Congressional Records of our National Archive.

These celebrations/rituals are done out of fun and a tad bit out of superstition. Some enjoy it.... a lot

a superstition it is. But there's a grain of truth: the winter days when you can see your shadow clearly are often especially cold, because there are no clouds overhead to insulate the earth.

How accurate are the chubby guys? Wikipedia states...

Groundhog Day proponents state that the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time.[24] A Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years puts the success rate level at 37%.[24] Also, the National Climatic Data Center reportedly has stated that the overall prediction accuracy rate is around 39%.[25]

That is as good if not better than my weatherman.

Other states are adopting their own form of the day. Texas uses an armadillo. And New York named it's groundhog Pothole Pete. I wonder why?

As for this groundhog day, USA Today has a prediction of it's own.

With cloudy skies and freezing rain in the forecast for western Pennsylvania on Wednesday morning, it's unlikely that famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow when he pops out of his burrow.

I just thought this was kind of fun to look into. I hope it interests someone.

Happy Groundhog Day!


posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 01:58 AM
This is the 500th day I read this same thread.

How do I make Groundhog Day stop???!

Please ATS help!

(It's a Joke, in case you haven't seen the movie.)

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 01:59 AM
Happy groundhog day!!!!
and thanks to you i now
know more about it.
until now it was just
some dumb low budget movie
with bill murry that stuck out
in my brain . star and flag!
thanks for putting time into this.

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 02:01 AM
Great thread!!! I'm thinking they're all going to stay in their holes this year?

reply to post by muzzleflash




posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 02:04 AM
Enjoyed learning the possible origins of the tradition. Thanks!

I used to live near "Punxsy" myself. In return for your offering of truth, I can offer you some trivia and rumors!

There are actually two Punxsutawney Phils, so they have a back-up if something is wrong with one I guess. They live at the Punxsy library, their habitat is referred to as the groundhog zoo if I remember correctly. According to a local that I knew, they generally give the groundhog some sort of alcohol before the event, so it doesn't get spooked by the crowds.

Happy Groundhog Day!

reply to post by muzzleflash
I lol'd.
edit on 2/2/2011 by eMachine because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 02:09 AM
Interesting thread.
I felt like adding that right now the Groundhog Day movie is on Encore and EncoreW (i think thats Encore Western idk), but anyways its on both of those movie channels all day long. over and over and over and over and over and over, again and again.

Ive never heard of Pothole Pete. I think I'll choose to believe his prediction over that of the others.

reply to post by eMachine

they generally give the groundhog some sort of alcohol before the event

lmao. I don't care if there's any truth to that or not, I am choosing to believe that 1.

edit on 2/2/11 by BrokenCircles because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 02:23 AM
reply to post by muzzleflash

I was like WTH? Was I typing that long? Face palm!
I have to do everything from my phone so it was a possibility. lol

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 02:29 AM
reply to post by BrokenCircles

Pothole Pete was new to me as well.
He certainly sounds ummm... manly?


posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 05:58 AM
I don't give a rodent's rectum who sees his shadow; this is Saskatchewan! We're gettin' 6 more weeks of winter no matter who sees WHAT! LOL.

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 06:07 AM
reply to post by ~Lucidity

If they are smart and if the creepy guys would quit pulling them out!

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 06:28 AM
I didn't do it on purpose, but I just clicked on CNN to see what they were talkin about and there was good ol fat Phil. he didn't see his shadow and they claim spring will be here soon. I either missed, or its a conspiracy and they didnt show it
, but I did not hear about the more important, Pothole Pete's prediction

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:05 AM
reply to post by eMachine

Thanks for those. It seems Phil is living the high life.... literally!

I watched it this morning and he did seem suspiciously calm. lol

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:22 AM
reply to post by BrokenCircles

Oh no!

I tried to look up his prediction for this year and couldn't find it.I suspect Pothole Pete may be MKUltra and he is undercover. I did run across a whole herd of imposters...

· Arkla-homa Will – Arkansas

· Balzac Billie - Balzac, Alberta

· Birmingham Bill - Birmingham, Alabama

Bill, the groundhog, lives at the Birmingham Zoo in Birmingham, Alabama. He makes his annual weather-predicting appearance at 10 am on Saturday, February 2 - His appearance is later than everyone else's, but he is a Southern Groundhog, after all... sleeps in late and parties late!!!

· Buckeye Chuck - Marion, Ohio

A February tradition for many years, the Ohio General Assembly declared 'Buckeye Chuck' from Marion, OH, the State Groundhog in 1979.

· Chester from St. Louis

Chester, the official weather prognosticating groundhog for the St. Louis Zoo, is known for his accurate predictions.

· Chilly Charlie - Woodstock, Ontario

Woodstock, Ontario, Canada had its first Groundhog Day in 2003 at South Gate Centre, a meeting place for adults 55+. Woodstock's groundhog is a puppet named Chilly Charlie.

· Chuck Wood - Stickney, Illinois

Chuck is The Committee for the Commercialization of Groundhog Day's official mascot. Although he doesn't exist outside their Website and merchandise, he still would like to offer his prediction for the Chicagoland area.

· Claude the Crawfish

Louisiana gets into the action with its very own weather-prognosticating crawfish?

· Cloudy - Brookfield, Illinois

Children’s Zoo is home to Cloudy, the annual participant in the Groundhog Day celebration at Brookfield Zoo. Cloudy now has some new company: a recently acquired groundhog named... Sunny.

· Connecticut Chuckles - Manchester, Connecticut

Chuckles resides at the Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester Connecticut. He is a local celebrity and takes his job predicting the weather very seriously.

· Dixie Dan - Tupelo, Mississippi

Dixie Dan, Jr. is a miniature groundhog and is really a hit with the children who come to Rainbow Farm. Folks there are trying to get the legislature to name him the official ground hog for Mississippi.

· Dunkirk Dave - Dunkirk, New York

· Essex Ed - Essex, CT

· Florham Park Phil - Florham Park, NJ

· Florida Phyllis - Apopka, Florida

Phyllis is a Florida Groundhog... she sees things a little differently. And since she lives in Florida, she said " I can't waste that sun! I need a tan after all that hibernation stuff. Let those northern Groundhogs do what they must. I've got places to go and things to see. First thing is to head down to Tom and Joani's veggie garden for a little snack.. then it's off to the beach. This weekend it's off to Disney World to see a few of my friends! Florida's a great place to be a groundhog!”

· French Creek Freddy - French Creek, West Virginia

Freddy, who makes his home at the West Virginia Wildlife Center, has predicted West Virginia weather for about 25 years.

· Furby the Wonder Chicken - Vancouver, British Columbia

From Ground Chicken Central in Vancouver BC Canada, Furby took on the equal opportunity title of "Official Ground Chicken."

· General Beauregard Lee – Liburn (suburban Atlanta), Georgia

Gen. Beau Lee, Ph.D., Georgia’s "As Real As It Gets" Groundhog, is expected to emerge from the swinging door of His Official Mansion on February 2nd, National Groundhog Day.

· Holland Huckleberry - Holland, Ohio

Holland Huckleberry's favorite food is peanut butter on toast for breakfast with the rest of the family with whom he lives. He also enjoys red clover blossoms, lambs quarters, salted peanuts in the shell, potato chips and sweetened iced tea.

· J.B. (short for Just Because) - Holland Township, NJ

J.B. is served by the Eastern Extension of the Slumbering Groundhog Lodge; the original Slumbering Groundhog Lodge, Lancaster, PA, was founded in 1908.

· Jimmy the Groundhog - Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Jimmy hails from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the true Groundhog Capital of the World according to the natives.

· Lander Lil - Lander, Wyoming

Lander Lil is back! After her unfortunate kidnapping, community-wide efforts were made to retrieve her. Lander Lil is back home in her burrow near the Lander Post Office, and is expected to predict the weather for a long time to come.

· Malverne Mel

As if New York didn't already have enough weather-predicting groundhogs, Malverne Mel began his prognosticating career in Long Island in 1996.

· Metompkin Max - Delmarva Peninsula, Virginia

Max is the nephew of the famed forecaster of southeastern Pennsylvania, Octoraro Orphie (who is listed below). Both are of the Marmotus rex clan, noted forecasters and general shunners of publicity.

· Mr. Prozac - Oxford, Michigan

Noah John, Oxford’s beloved one-eyed weather prognosticating groundhog passed away on April 22, 2002 as a result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident in 1998. Before Noah John died, he met several times with his llama friend Mr. Prozac and instructed Zac in the art of weather prognosticating.

· Octarara Orphie - Quarryville, Pennsylvania

Punxsutawney Phil's neighborly rival, Octarara Orphie, is claimed in Lancaster County, PA as the king of the whistle pig prognosticators. Groundhog Sighting Squads are dispatched to observe and consult with live groundhogs in the woods. They report back to the Chateau at White Rock Lodge located along the banks of the Octorara Creek in Eastern PA.

· Peewee, the Woodchuck - Mile Square Farm, Vermont

The newest weather predicting groundhog on the block, in Vermont's Green Mountains.

· Pennichuck Chuck - Hollis, New Hampshire

Pennichuck Chuck, the Granite State’s own groundhog, has discovered a new method of predicting the weather. This discovery will enhance New Hampshire’s reputation as a state of innovators.

· Petaluma Pete - Petaluma, California

To show that Petaluma Pete is up to his unusual forecasts, he will be giving golf lessons to Bill Murray just a little south of Petaluma at Pebble Beach.

· Pierre C. Shadeaux - New Iberia, Louisiana

Those who are familiar with the history of the local Cajun Groundhog will recall how Pierre considers himself much more civilized than some of the other weather predicting animals, especially that Yankee groundhog up in Pennsylvania. That's why Pierre usually makes his prediction after 8 a.m. on Groundhog Day, while others get out at sunrise to make their predictions.

· Pothole Pete – New York, New York

· Ridge Lea Larry - Buffalo, New York

Larry is a stuffed Groundhog who represents the Geology Department of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

· Shubenacadie Sam - Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia

The Shubenacadie Wildlife Park's local meteorologist in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the first groundhog to make a prediction every February 2 in Canada!

· Sir Walter Wally - Raleigh, North Carolina

Sir Walter Wally and Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences invite you to participate in their annual statewide celebration of Groundhog Day.

· Spike - Duluth, Minnesota

Okay, he's not really a groundhog, but if we can have Llamas and Chickens standing in, certainly a porcupine (a.k.a. a Groundhog with a perpetual bad hair day) is welcome.

· Staten Island Chuck - Staten Island, New York

Does every "burrow" of New York City have its own groundhog? We're not sure, but we do know that Staten Island is proud of Chuck, who has an accuracy rating of 84 percent! Staten Island Chuck's handler has noticed some whisker twitching and believes that it is because he is getting anxious. 02-02-02 was a special day for Chuck because he completed his 20th year of weather-forecasting.

· Tennessee Groundhog - Silver Point, Tennessee

UPCHUCK, INC. is an organization dedicated to the commercialization of Groundhog Day in Silver Point, Tennessee. They were founded in 1979. The work's been slow but sure and they press on, tired of that Phil guy. "He's okay for those with the same latitude and longitude as him, but for the rest of us, he is actually quite useless," Tennessee says.

· Two Rivers Tunnel - Two Rivers, Nova Scotia

Groundhog Day is a special event at Two Rivers Wildlife Park. This is when Two Rivers Tunnel comes out to give his forecast on the remaining winter. He's never been wrong. On Groundhog Day the community hosts fieldtrips for school kids and provide many activities for all visitors.

· Unadilla Bill - Unadilla, Nebraska

In January 1988, the Lt. Governor signed a proclamation declaring Unadilla "Groundhog Capital of Nebraska." It is celebrated with a Wild Game fee, and (weather permitting) a parade.

· The Virtual Groundhog - Bonn, Germany

· Wiarton Willie - Wee Willie – Wiarton, South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

Wee Willie, the newest Ottawa groundhog to take on the Wiarton Willie name, is probably Punxsutawney Phil's most famous competition.

Who would have thought? The more I look the more hilarious it gets!

edit on 2/2/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:23 AM


I don't know where your headed, But can you call in?

Best Quote's from Groundhog Day
edit on 2-2-2011 by Gom3z because: Best fit

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

OH NO!!!! is right
That's a lot to take in.
I do however, feel an urge to pick a few favorites.
Such as-
· Claude the Crawfish, the weather-prognosticating crawfish?

Furby the Wonder Chicken - Vancouver, British Columbia
· Mr. Prozac - Oxford, Michigan - May he rest in peace

and of course· Pothole Pete – New York, New York, as I have previously stated.

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 09:59 AM
reply to post by BrokenCircles

I have to go with...

Balzac Billie
PeeWee the Woodchuck
And Wee Willie

They may have gotten on well with Mr. Prozac if he had not met his demise.

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 10:13 AM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

Uumm. sorry to point this out
, but I'm wondering if you are aware of the seemingly random coincidences within the names of your picks? There is sort of a commonality within those 3 names dont ya think?

Balzak(sounds slightly different than its spelled), PeeWee, and Wee Willie

I'm just curious if you were aware of a certain trend within the commonalities of these names. Was that a conscious or unconscious decision?

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 04:00 PM
reply to post by BrokenCircles

It was a purely conscious decision. I was having a bit of fun with it.


posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 07:58 PM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

. Ok. I was just curious lol.
Actually, the only reason I asked, was because I was a little slow at noticing.
It took a few seconds after 1st reading it, for it to click in my brain, then I had to look again.

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