Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter on Thursday, making him the minority opinion among his groundhog brethren who seem to think that spring is coming early.
Phil’s “prediction” came as he emerged from his lair to “see” his shadow on Gobbler’s Knob, a tiny hill in the town for which he’s named about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Yet groundhogs in at least five other states — West Virginia’s French Creek Freddie, Georgia’s Gen. Beauregard Lee, Michigan’s Woody the Woodchuck, Ohio’s Buckeye Chuck and New York’s Staten Island Chuck (full name: Charles G. Hogg) — did not see their shadows. Nor did Ontario’s Wiarton Willie or Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam.
The Groundhog Day celebration is rooted in a German superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says, spring will come early.
Phil has now seen his shadow 100 times and hasn’t seen it just 16 times since 1886.
– Associated Press