Punxsutawney Phil death rumours debunked: He's alive and well

Jane Corscadden February 2, 2022
Punxsutawney Phil death rumours debunked: He's alive and well
Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Punxsutawney Phil death rumours debunked – the famous groundhog is alive and well on Groundhog Day 2022. After news broke that Punxsutawney Phil’s New Jersey counterpart, Milltown Mel, had died right before the yearly tradition, people were worried about Phil.

Happy Groundhog Day! Yes, that’s right, although the past couple of years have made us all feel like Bill Murray in the movie of the same name, today, 2 February, is officially Groundhog Day in the US. But is the all-seeing groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, dead?

What is Groundhog Day 2022?

Groundhog Day is a North American tradition celebrated every year on 2 February.

The groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is coaxed out of his burrow on this day in Gobbler’s Knob – a park just outside Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania – by top hat and tuxedo clad members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

According to tradition, if the groundhog comes out of his burrow and sees his own shadow, he’ll get scared and run back – signalling six more weeks of winter weather.

If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, it means an early spring is on the cards.

So far, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted 103 forecasts for winter and just 17 for an early spring.

Last year, the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter for 2021 – however, he sadly wasn’t able to predict the crazy year we’ve all had!

Punxsutawney Phil death rumours

No, the rumours of Punxsutawney Phil’s death aren’t true – he is thankfully very much alive and still predicting!

In fact, today he made his prediction for the year ahead.

Although Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, he also promised we’ll see one of the most beautiful springs ever after that. Hope you’re right, Phil!

The rumour Punxsutawney Phil was dead may have emerged after it was announced Phil’s New Jersey counterpart, Milltown Mel, died just before Groundhog Day 2022.

However, an earlier version of Punxsutawney Phil was caught up in an incident involving the then-mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, in 2014.

Mayor de Blasio was invited to the Staten Island Zoo for Groundhog Day festivities in 2014. While there, he accidentally dropped the zoo’s ten-month-old groundhog, Charlotte, who sadly died of “internal injuries” a few weeks later.

However, the zoo didn’t blame the New York mayor for Charlotte’s death.

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Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.