Has 16th century doomsday prophet Nostradamus reincarnated in the person of a 22-year-old Spanish man named Alejandro Rodriguez de Cabo? The question is now tickling the Catholic and Twitter worlds since Senor de Cabo appears to have correctly predicted the election of Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis.
The proof of his correct prediction was tweet made by Mr de Cabo's 22-year-old girlfriend Yolanda De Mena of his dream about the papal election on Feb 11, 2013, more than a month ahead of the just concluded conclave and on the same day that former Pope Benedict XVI announced he would resign as pontiff effective Feb 28.
The tweet, in the original Spanish text, stated, "My boyfriend woke up last night at 4am saying that he had dreamed of a new pope called "Francis I" and today Benedict resigns."
The accuracy of the papal name caused a stir in Twitter, resulting in more than 83,000 retweets as of Saturday.
While fans think Mr de Cabo is the new Nostradamus, others believe he is the reincarnation of Paul the Octopus which correctly predicted the result of seven matches at the 2010 World Cup, including the finals game won by Spain over The Netherlands. The eight-armed sea creature died in October 2010.
However, there are some unbelievers who insisted the couple changed the date of the original tweet to make it appear as a correct forecast.
"We have not changed anything. Things happened exactly the way we have told them," The Sun quoted Ms De Mena's response to doubts.
Twitter reactions ranged from disbelief to a plausible explanation such as this tweet by Mike of Brighton, UK, which read: "Everything you dream of is probability of the future. It's a subconscious perception of forthcoming events being perceived from a conscious point of view, making the experience confusing and surreal. Because of this it's most likely we are misinterpreting dreams during the dreams themselves and then waking and attempting to interpret misinterpretations. Occasionally, we have clear, lucid dreams, as in this case above, everyone has them, most people refer to them as having a 'déjà vu.' They are not special messages, they are just another amazing ability of the mind."
However, it appears that it is not only Mr de Cabo who foresaw the future, but also Vatican expert of the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen Jr., who, based on analysis of papabilis after years of covering the Holy See, wrote, quoted by Time Magazine: "The general consensus is that Bergoglio was indeed the 'runner-up' last time around. He appealed to conservatives in the College of Cardinals as a man who had held the line against liberalizing current among the Jesuits, and to moderates as a symbol of the church's commitment to the developing world."
Prior to March 14, Cardinal Bergoglio was not considered a frontrunner candidate for the papacy.
Because of Mr de Cabo's forecast, tweeters have been asking him for the correct number of the next lottery draw.