The beginning of the controversy started back in Israel about
five years ago when I did lecture-demonstrations in the Negev
city of Beersheba. Several days after this appearance I read in
a newspaper that somebody went to the local court demanding his
money back, which was about two dollars, saying that what my posters
stated was contrary to what actually happened on stage. He claimed
that what he had seen was not real telepathy or psychokinesis.
I personally did not take this seriously and the next thing I
knew was that one of my fans sent the money to this man accompanying
it with a short poem.
But as I became more popular in Israel I was surrounded by more
critics. I was a perfect focal point for one sensational weekly
called HAOLAM HAZE that started printing negative stories. They
even featured me on the cover, titled "URI GELLER A CHEAT."
This was my first introduction to negative press. Actually all
this only helped in raising people's consciousness of me and it
never affected my position and never will. As this was going on,
some closed-minded Israeli scientists and professors joined in
the controversy claiming that I was using tricks. Of course among
those scientists was an amateur magician. That's when I reaised
that wherever I go magicians will probably be out to get me. Managers
in Israel were making a lot of money from my lectures. When I
left them they turned against me. One of them even threatened
to blackmail me, if I didn't pay him twenty thousand dollars.
He said he would make up the dirtiest lies.
My friend Shipi has also been dragged into the controversy and
has been made the target as allegedly the man who helps Uri deceive
the public. Yet I have made hundreds of public appearances when
he was thousands of miles away from me. He is not allowed to enter
any laboratories where I am being tested. As a matter of fact,
as I am writing this, I am in a plane heading for the west coast
to tape the Mike Douglas Show. Shipi is in New York. Accompanying
me are Frida, my secretary, and my mother who is visiting me from
Israel. Will Shipi sneak me the answer of a drawing in Glenn Campbell's
head? Or will it be my secretary or my mother who will signal
from the audience? It's ridiculous.
The same Israeli weekly went on further with an unbelievable fabricated
interview with Hanna Shtrang, Shipi's sister, with headlines "THIS
IS HOW WE HELPED HIM CHEAT."
I have been tested by several professional magicians. Here is
a letter from one of them:
TO: Executive Committee
Society of American Magicians, Assembly 30
FROM: Occult Investigations Committee
Society of American Magicians, Assembly 30
Artur Zorka, Chairman
SUBJECT: Investigation of URI GELLER
As chairman of the Occult Investigations Committee of this society,
I hereby submit the findings of this committee regarding its investigation
of Uri Geller.
On June 2, 1975, I, Artur Zorka, and several fellow magicians,
witnessed a taping of a television program where Mr. Geller was
interviewed as a guest. Unknown to Mr. Geller, five magicians
were seated at various locations in the audience for the purpose
of detecting the methods by which he claims to be able to produce
his "phenomena." Although we were impressed by his ability
as an entertainer, conditions were less than ideal to make
any final judgement.
Following the taping, however, Mr. Abb Dickson, a member of this
committee, and I, were able to meet with Uri Geller privately
for a personal interview and some controlled experiments.
I underline controlled because the type of control put on by a
magician is different than that of any other investigator. It
is a control designed specifically to prevent fraud, by those
who are trained for a profession in the art of deception.
Being a specialist in that particular area of magic which deals
in the psychic, I took special care to set up tests under conditions
which I believe could not produce results through trickery.
The tests took place in a room which contained no mirrors, no
windows, and one door, by which we entered. The door was locked
behind us. Mr. Dickson, Mr. Geller, and I sat facing each other.
No one else was present or in the near vicinity of the testing
The first test involved Uri Geller's attempt to bend a fork which
I provided. The fork was made of forged steel, with a nylon reinforced
handle. I specifically selected this fork because of its extreme
resistance to physical stress. I placed the fork into Mr. Geller's
out-stretched left hand. His fingers curled around it, and
in moments, without the fork leaving my sight for even
an instant, it literally exploded, sending fragments of the handle
across the room.
In tests for Uri Geller's telepathic abilities, he was asked to
turn his back while the committee, in turn made simple drawings.
The object was for Mr. Geller to duplicate the drawings without
having seen them. After a few false starts, Geller was able to
make remarkably accurate facsimiles of the target drawings The
target drawings were made on plain sheets of white paper, and
when the drawings were finished they were covered. While the target
drawings were being made, Geller was being carefully watched by
the other member of the committee to make sure that there was
no way for him to see the drawing. The person making the drawing
was extremely careful as to what paper was used, how the pen was
held, and to keep hand and arm movements to a minimum. In later
tests Geller was able to duplicate on paper target designs of
which I merely thought. No drawings on my part, in these
later tests, were made.
In another test, I watched from a distance of no more than five
feet, as a key bent beneath Geller's touch. I was able to see,
under these controlled conditions, the bending process actually
Therefore, it is the unanimous finding of this committee that
although we, as magicians, can duplicate each of these test results
using methods known by us, under the
proper conditions . . . there is no way, based on our present
collective knowledge, that any method of trickery could have been
used to produce these effects under the conditions to which Uri
Geller was subjected.
2685 Harrington Drive
Decatur, Georgia 30033
Of course he was condemned by the Society of American Magicians
for writing this. Another professional magician wrote a positive
book about me. After he tested me he concluded that what I effect
is authentic phenomena.
I will state very simply that if I were cheating or using sleight
of hand, chemicals, laser beams, or collaborators, by now I would
have been caught red handed in the act a thousand times during
my many radio shows, press interviews, in laboratories, in lecture-demonstrations
in front of thousands of people or on TV appearances. To my knowledge,
many times hidden cameras are filming my hands and magicians are
planted in the audience to expose me. All accusations against
me are allegations without basis in fact, misinterpretations and
malicious charges. I have been shocked by how many times negative
sources have tried to link my name with completely false circumstances
(people, events, and situations that have been exaggerated or
never existed). These are some of the things that are written
and said to discredit me, but this is the price I apparently must
pay for being a public figure and demonstrating the inexplicable.
To readers who are interested in the scientific experiments that
I underwent, all documents, reports and papers from various universities
and institutes are gathered in a book edited by the science writer
[ The Geller Papers, edited by Charles Panati Houghton
Mifflin Co., Boston, 1976.]
Well, I have tried to sum up the debate that surrounds me. Sometimes
to me it looks like a conspiracy raging. It seems as if some very
prominent people are putting a lot of effort into trying to prove
that what is real is merely children's magic. I wonder are they
threatened? Are they fanatics? Is there a sinister political motivation?
Or is there a supernatural explanation to this controversy? hopefully
one day I will know the answer. The following is a letter I wrote
that was read by Tom Snyder on the "Tomorrow" show.
September 2, 1975
Dear Tom and Viewers of the "Tomorrow" Show:
Probably the two magicians who are being interviewed tonight will
duplicate through magic tricks and deception the things which
I cause to happen genuinely.
Many a time I have been challenged but I refuse to accept any
challenge from seemingly pathetic, desperate, jealous magicians.
They distort the facts, misinterpret me, call me fraud and charlatan
and one of them, Mr. Randi has even used my name and Adolf Hitler's
in the same breath - and most importantly they refuse to submit
themselves to scientific controlled testing - on one occasion
they did so and failed - this they don't talk about! I on the
other hand gave myself to at least a dozen credible institutes
and universities throughout the world such as Stanford Research
Institute, UCLA., Kent State University, University of London
etc., where I have passed all scientific controlled conditioned
experiments In most cases the work has been published in prestigious
scientific journals throughout the world.
It is also interesting that one American magician who is also
a guest of the show this evening, put me under his own controlled
tests where I have proved beyond a doubt that what I do is real.
As a matter of fact many five and six year old children in different
countries are being tested by scientists because they can also
produce genuine metal bending phenomena - are they also magicians
with concealed laser beams and chemicals who use sleight of hand
? ? ?
I am not a magician, never have been and I am not competing
with magicians, now or ever.
Thousands of years ago Moses, with his given powers, turned his
staff into a snake in front of the Pharaoh -
the court magicians duplicated this with a magic trick, but then
the snake of Moses devoured the magicians' snakes. I believe the
truth and the facts will devour trickery and lies.
So, to all my detractors I send love and good wishes as long as
you spell my name correctly. Just keep pouring out all your duplications,
angers, frustrations and lies - you are just making my name and
the real phenomena a household word.
Love and Shalom
. . . Los Angeles Times, Monday July 28, 1975 . . .
physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of Menlo Park's Stanford
Research Institute admit their kind of research invites chicanery
and trickery. They have taken special precautions, they said,
to conduct the Stanford Research experiments under doubly strict
"Under these conditions, they said, no magician has been
able to duplicate through trickery the psychic feat performed
by Uri Geller and others. Some won't even try."
I do not include these few pages to defend myself, I don't believe
that I have to. I wrote them merely for the general knowledge
of readers who may have been misled and confused by falsehood.
If what is happening is worth this much opposition, then there
must be something to it.
Either the people accept MY STORY or they don't. There is no in
URI GELLER April 1976
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