Sun precognition

I was on a late train to Huntingdon when I saw someone reading the Sun and was struck by the front page. The headline was "PC's MISSUS HAS SIX OF THE BEST," and reported that a policeman's wife had given birth to healthy sextuplets. Photos of six babies, side by side, were underneath it, each with a policeman's helmet superimposed on it. Underneath it said, "Hello, hello hello. Hello, hello, hello." It was very clever and funny, and I found myself wishing I worked for the Sun to produce ideas like that. In the following week I told several friends about it.

About ten days later I saw the paper lying around in the office, and reproved the staff for not throwing out old newspapers. They told me it was that day's paper, not an old one. I stared in disbelief. Yes, it was that day's paper, and had the front page I had seen, except that the "Hello, hello, hello. Hello, hello, hello" was not there. It was otherwise identical. The friends I had told confirmed that I'd done so, and were bemused. How was this possible?

I suppose many people would have rated this as psychic, a case of precognition. Being more anchored in the real world, I tried to think of a rational explanation. I'd worked part time with a newspaper and seen how they work. Stories that are known to be coming are prepared in advance so they can be rushed out when the event occurs. Obituaries of celebrities, for example, are on file for when they die. Maybe the Sun had signed up the policeman and his wife for an exclusive, and prepared the story for when she gave birth? Obviously they would only run it if the babies survived. It could have been one of the Sun's staff on his way home, reading the mock-up they had prepared in advance. I dread to think what the alternative explanations might imply.