Sixteen years ago, an episode of “The Simpsons” predicted that Donald Trump would one day become US president.
And this wasn’t the only time the writers had managed to predict the future.
“The Simpsons” has been running for over 25 years, so it’s inevitable that some themes that crop up in the show might occur in real life. But some of the plotlines are eerily close to events that have happened throughout the world.
We’ve listed some of the strangest predictions the cartoon’s writers have made since the show’s launch in 1989.
From Homer discovering the Higgs boson to animators drawing The Shard in London almost 20 years before it was built, here are 11 times “The Simpsons” predicted the future.
11. Faulty voting machines — Season 20, Episode 4
In 2008, “The Simpsons” showed Homer trying to vote for Barack Obama in the US general election, but a faulty machine changed his vote.
Four years later, a voting machine in Pennsylvania had to be removed after it kept changing people’s votes for Barack Obama to ones for his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
10. The invention of the tomacco plant — Season 11, Episode 5
In 1999, Homer uses nuclear energy to create a hybrid of tomato and tobacco plants: the “tomacco.”
This inspired US “Simpsons” fan Rob Baur to create his own plant. In 2003, Baur grafted together a tobacco root and a tomato stem to make “tomacco.” Writers for “The Simpsons” were so impressed that they invited Baur and his family to their offices and ate the tomacco fruit themselves.
9. Ebola outbreak — Season 9, Episode 3
Some people maintain that “The Simpsons” predicted the 2014 outbreak of Ebola 17 years before it happened. In a scene from the episode “Lisa’s Sax,” Marge suggests a sick Bart read a book titled “Curious George and the Ebola Virus.” The virus wasn’t particularly widespread in the 1990s, but years later it was the top of the news agenda.
Ebola was first discovered in 1976, and though this latest outbreak has been the worst yet, it killed 254 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 and 224 in Uganda in 2000.
8. The discovery of the Higgs boson equation — Season 8, Episode 1
In a 1998 episode called “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace,” Homer Simpson becomes an inventor and is shown in front of a complicated equation on a blackboard.
According to Simon Singh, the author of “The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets,” the equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson particle. It was first predicted in 1964 by Professor Peter Higgs and five other physicists, but it wasn’t until 2013 that scientists discovered proof of the Higgs boson in a £10.4 billion ($13 billion) experiment.
7. The invention of The Shard — Season 6, Episode 19
The “Lisa’s Wedding” episode from 1995 came with a lot of unexpected predictions. During Lisa’s trip to London, we see a skyscraper behind Tower Bridge that looks eerily similar to The Shard and that is even in the right location. Construction on the building started in 2009, 14 years later.
6. Robotic librarians — Season 6, Episode 19
In “Lisa’s Wedding,” we discover that librarians have been replaced with robots in the “Simpsons” universe.
More than 20 years later, robotics students from the University of Aberystwyth built a prototype for a walking library robot, while scientists in Singapore have begin testing their own robot librarians.
5. Horsemeat scandal — Season 5, Episode 19
— dr Bart (@dobowet) February 7, 2013
In 1994, Lunchlady Doris used “assorted horse parts” to make lunch for students at Springfield Elementary.
Nine years later, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found horse DNA in over one-third of beefburger samples from supermarkets and ready meals, and pig in 85% of them.
4. Siegfried and Roy tiger attack — Season 5, Episode 10
The Simpsons parodied entertainers Siegfried & Roy in a 1993 episode called “$pringfield (Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalised Gambling).” During the episode, the magicians are viciously mauled by a trained white tiger while performing in a casino.
In 2003, Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy was attacked during a live performance by Montecore, one of their white tigers. Roy lived but sustained severe injuries in the attack.
3. Letter from The Beatles — Season 2, Episode 18
In 1991, an episode of “The Simpsons” saw The Beatles’ Ringo Star diligently answering fan mail that had been written decades ago.
In September 2013, two Beatles fans from Essex received a reply from Paul McCartney to a letter and recording they sent to the band 50 years ago. The recording was sent to a London theatre the band was due to play at but was found years later in a car boot sale by a historian.
In 2013, the BBC’s “The One Show” reunited the pair with their letter, plus a reply from McCartney.
2. The censorship of Michelangelo’s David — Season 2, Episode 9
An episode from 1990 titled “Itchy and Scratchy and Marge” showed Springfieldians protesting against Michelangelo’s statue of David being exhibited in the local museum, calling the artwork obscene for its nudity.
The satire of censorship came true in July 2016, when Russian campaigners voted on whether to clothe a copy of the Renaissance statue that had been set up in central St Petersburg.
1. Three-eyed fish — Season 2, Episode 4
In this episode from 1990, Bart catches a three-eyed fish named Blinky in the river by the power plant, which makes local headlines.
More than a decade later, a three-eyed fish was discovered in a reservoir in Argentina. Strangely enough, the reservoir itself was fed by water from a nuclear power plant.