XXVIII

 

THE ENIGMA

OF URI GELLER

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum of those who exert themselves greatly when they attempt to move objects by PK is Uri Geller, who experiences no trauma whatsoever. He actually believes it is a force outside himself which causes objects to bend and break, materialise and dematerialise in his presence.

 

Currently the victim of magicians who are attempting to get publicity by making sport of him, Uri Geller is complacently going about his own business, producing phenomena that excite the imagination of all who encounter him. Because they have heard that he bends keys, and without examining the many articles, books, and eyewitness reports which describe his supernormal activities to learn what else he can do, the magicians and "exposé artists" are announcing that he is a fraud. Illustrative of our times is the fact that anyone who wishes to make unsubstantiated statements against him can get a hearing in the press, while the conclusions of legitimate researchers who have examined Geller under controlled conditions are made light of by the same media. And, as pointed out by Jean Mayo in her review of Andrija Puharich's book Uri: A Journal of the Mystery of Uri Geller,1 " . . . after all, nothing is ever published without passing first through the censorship of an editor with preconceived emotionally biased ideas." 'Twill not always be thus, hopefully.

 

As an example of the type of responsible reports coming about Geller is the statement from Dr. Ted Bastin, a physics professor of Cambridge University:2 "The things I have seen him do are quite remarkable ... bending metal objects without ever actually touching them, and moving objects across rooms. This is a phenomenon we have stumbled across that might blow apart the reigning orthodox scientific views."

 

"Geller directs his attention to an object or set of objects," Bastin goes on. "He may put his hands over the object as if he were blessing it, or he may do it from a distance. It is all very open. He is genuine." Dr. Bastin tells that he secretly bought a set of screwdrivers before he met Geller. Metallurgists later told him that to break those screwdrivers with a human hand would have been impossible, and difficult even with the necessary tools. He says: "I left the screwdrivers in a locked bag in my bedroom. I asked him to direct his attention toward this set of tools upstairs. Sometime later the screwdrivers were found at the foot of the stairs, and every one of their blades had been snapped off. I checked my bag and it was still locked upstairs in my room."

 

Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv, on December 10, 1946. He has had telepathic ability since he was very small. He says, "I can remember when I was about four, my mother would come home from playing cards with friends and I would always tell her exactly how much she won or lost." He first became aware of strange physical activity when he was about seven years old. He says in a Psychic interview:3

 

In class I noticed that my watch would show a different hour than what it really was, which began to happen fairly frequently. I complained to my mother about the wristwatch being broken; she examined it and said that it kept good time for her. But it continued to happen; so one day in class, I took it off and held it in my hands, watching it very closely. I began to notice that the hands would change their positions almost instantaneously - very fast - like dematerializing from one hour to another. When I tried the same thing alone, outside of class, it wouldnít happen, so I reaised that I had to be in class Ė arround people - for it to happen.

Not long after that, the wristband bent and broke. That was actually the first time I became aware of something bending and breaking near me. I wasnít clever enough at the time to start thinking that it was some power in me or coming through me. And although I thought it was something unusual, I also thought that maybe everybody had it at that age. Connecting this to myself I think happened around my mid-teens when I reaised it was very unusual.

 

Uri was asked if this disturbed him and replied, "No, because it seems to be natural for me. Besides itís been with me for many years and Iíve grown accustomed and comfortable with it."

 

Through a friend, Uri was invited to perform his feats of ESP and bending and breaking metallic objects at a local grade school in Tel Aviv. This was his first professional performance, in 1969, which catapulted him in three short months to major performances before large audiences throughout Israel. Soon after that, he came to the attention of Dr. Andrija Puharich, a physician-inventor who holds fifty-two U.S. and foreign patents in medical electronics. Among other things, Puharich has devised unique equipment to aid deaf children to hear through bone conduction. He has also studied and experimented in the psychic field for over 25 years. Puharich brought well-known Dutch psychic Peter Hurkos to this country and studied the Brazilian healer José Arigo. He observed Uri for several weeks in August 1971, in Tel Aviv. Becoming acquainted with the Israeli youth and eventually conducting several experiments with him, Dr. Puharich ultimately became convinced that Uri's powers were genuine. He now says he is satisfied that Geller is the most remarkable person he has ever found.

 

One of the most spectacular of Uri's alleged feats occurred in December 1971. On a trip to Israel to study Geller, Andrija Puharich took along a valuable movie camera but left the case home in Ossining, New York, because of excess

weight. After he got to Israel, particularly when working in the desert, he discovered he badly needed the case to protect the camera.

Puharich says:

 

I asked Uri if he could bring the case to me. He told me he would put his mind to it and try to do so. About 14 or 15 hours later, it was in Israel. It showed up in his room and he brought it over to my hotel. It was definitely mine, having special markings on it which I identified. There was no question about it.

You have to stretch your mind far, far, far to imagine how his brain in Israel could locate in the United States, where he had at that time never been, focus on, and dematerialise an object in my home in Ossining, and bring it thousands of miles to Israel, where it was reassembled and brought to me.

 

It will not be too difficult for readers of this book to consider the possibility of such dematerialization and rematerialization, because we have seen that such things have gone on over the years in seances and even as apports to private citizens. What will really cause us to have to stretch our minds far, far, far is Uri's explanation for his abilities.

 

Geller has become convinced that his power is given to him by the Hoovas (intelligent energies from beyond our space and time who travel around in UFOs). When Uri told him this, Andrija had to try to encompass it in his thinking. His acceptance of the idea was facilitated one night: After a drive in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, Andrija saw a disk-shaped, metal object with a blue light flashing on top Ö what is called a UFO. He said, "Ah, now I have some evidence!" He had some night film in a movie camera and started shooting from 50 yards away. Andrija was not allowed to enter, but he believes he saw Uri go into the ship. While he waited for him, he excitedly shot movies of the spaceship; but afterward the cartridge in his camera vanished ... dematerialised in about ten minutes. "There was my evidence," he says, "so I don't really have any evidence, just a lot of weird experiences, nothing tangible." However, because he did not doubt the reality of these experiences, Dr. Puharich has put himself way out on a limb by writing about it in Uri.4 He went ahead and brought Geller to this country in October 1972.

 

Geller has since given demonstrations before groups of various prominent scientists, including former Apollo astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, all of whom were astounded and impressed. Arrangements were subsequently made for him to undergo scientific examination at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California, where he was tested for six weeks. Some tests at SRI were conclusive, others inconclusive, in trying to establish validity of his ability to send and receive thoughts, materialise and dematerialise objects, and bend and break metallic objects by direct brain action.

 

The Stanford Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit research organization founded in 1946. It is supported by research contracts and grants from U.S. and foreign government agencies and industrial organizations. The scientists there who investigated Geller were Dr. Harold E. Puthoff, an expert in quantum physics who holds patents in the area of lasers and optical devices, and Russell Targ, pioneer in laser research and a specialist in lasers, plasma research, and paraphysical phenomena.

 

In the "cheatproof " experiments Geller conducted with SRI, the probability of what he accomplished was one in a million. In another test, the probability that anyone could have done what he did was one in a trillion.

 

Without touching anything, he moved a balance in a bell jar as though force had been applied to it. A chart recorder monitoring the balance showed that Geller produced a force ten to a hundred times greater than could be produced by striking the bell jar or the table it was on, or by jumping on the floor.

 

He correctly identified, eight out of eight times, the numbers shown on a die shaken inside a closed metal box. Only the researchers handled the box; and no one knew what number was on the die until after the die had been shaken, Geller had made his prediction, and then the box had been opened.

 

He made a magnetometer, a sensitive instrument which measures magnetic fields, register when passing his empty hands near it.

 

Edgar D. Mitchell, now a supporter of scientific and scholarly research in parapsychology, introduced Uri to the SRI scientists; and through him, the funding was raised to underwrite the cost of the laboratory work. Mitchell has observed Uri in action and he says:5

 

There is no question in my mind that Geller's abilities are genuine. We have thousands of feet of film taken during the experiments. In our minute scrutiny of the film, frame by frame, we didn't see anything that looked like trickery in any way.

At any time where Geller's hands were out of view of the film or it appeared he could have done something in any way to influence a test, we threw out the results.

We threw out a lot of things that were probably real events just because we couldn't be absolutely certain of them - but what is left we are completely certain of.

 

In ordinary social circles, you may see forks and spoons or keys held lightly in Geller's hand bend, apparently of their own accord. Ed Mitchell has observed Geller a number of times in such situations. He says:

 

In addition to the rigidly controlled experimental work that has been done with Uri Geller and appropriately reported, there are many startling events that take place when he is around and in the proper state of mind. An evening with Geller is likely to produce an assortment of bent rings, bent and broken silverware, mysteriously lost articles, and mysteriously found articles.... For example, it is not unusual to see Uri pick up a normal spoon to stir his coffee and have the spoon come out of the coffee twisted or broken.... On one particular evening, approximately twenty such bizarre events ... took place in less than three hours, in the presence of three well-qualified observers.

Dr. Mitchell makes the emphatic statement:6 "I have personally worked with him and know his abilities are genuine, powerful, and consistent. I hope our laboratory work will give us some hard data on the mechanisms involved."

 

I have not personally seen Geller in operation, but I trust observers like Ed Mitchell, Puharich, Puthoff, and Targ and think it is stupid of those who have not seen him under similar situations to give them the fatuous arguments they do. I have seen him on television several times and was impressed. The amazement of the MCs and assembled guests at his feats have belied the argument that the whole performance could have been set up as a trick. Although Geller does not have the poise and gloss of a stage magician or professional entertainer, his sincerity and naturalness are compelling to those who watch him. On the Merv Griffin show, he asked singer Alfred Drake, who was sitting next to him, for a ring from his finger. Drake removed one, held it with his own thumb and first finger, and Uri gently stroked the band with one index finger. It soon split in half. When Uri was asked if he had been influential in causing the lights to dim several times just before he came on stage, he said he was not sure. He didn't want to take credit if he wasn't responsible, but so many strange things occur around him all the time that he never knows what might be his fault and what might be a normal, mechanical failure. He added that he prefers to work as he did at the SRI, under controlled conditions which give him the reassurance that it is he, himself, who is causing the phenomena by the power of his mind.

 

Jean Mayo, who watched him being tested at SRI, writes in her review of Uri, "Uri is very intense, and his mood swings rapidly from uncertainty and depression when the metal doesn't bend to bursting enthusiasm when it does. He does not have this power under control, and it appears to confuse him greatly. He has not become highly spiritually evolved from the power; rather he has become a bit hung up by it. But he is young and growing."

 

An interesting similarity to poltergeist phenomena is noted as Uri explained his abilities to Psychic:

 

When I bend a fork, if you watch it immediately after I bend it, it will continue to bend. But if you try to observe the actual bending to record it, nothing happens. Also, it seems when you don't care if it will bend or what happens, it bends.

I ask myself, why does it happen in unimportant places, in front of just anybody, but when itís important for me to prove it to people at SRI, then it doesn't happen under the conditions they must record it happening. Maybe it's not supposed to happen for them yet, I don't know. But I do know it's really frustrating and depressing for me.

 

Some investigators believe that Uri's failures are also significant. An ordinary stage magician would always be able to produce; and so if Uri sometimes fails, this is a good sign of his genuineness. His experience at SRI was the first time Uri had to operate under controlled conditions. It took a lot of time because someone would come into the room and tell him they were ready for him to produce something. "If I didn't feel I could do it or feel like doing it, then nothing would happen," he says. On the stage it is different, because he believes everyone is with him. So he can relax, and then things start to happen. But even under favorable conditions, he never promises people he can do anything on demand. He has to feel it. "If it happens, it happens; if it doesn't, well, there's always a next time."

 

Geller says he thinks he is a channel for power that comes from higher intelligences - that is, extraterrestrial beings - from a civilization that has been monitoring our planet for thousands of years. He says he is not a psychic, because he thinks psychics use their own forces. He believes these things are being channeled through him as signs "that more things are going to happen; that we are capable of greater things." He goes on, "My feelings and theories of this thing concern a super civilization that learned how to understand and control time - the past, present, and future - and that evolved beyond

our comprehension. They could have left a control unit - like computers - which have a mission and help direct people to accomplish it. And I think this mission concerns us for sure, as well as a lot of other people."

 

Among those who have interviewed this amazing young man and have seen such phenomena is Bryce Bond who wrote:8

 

I first met Uri when he came to the editorial offices of Beyond Reality Magazine in the latter part of 1973. During this meeting, we performed a number of experiments.

First of all, he bent metal objects, my key for one. Both the publisher, Mr. Belil, and I kept a sharp look out for all the tricks that my magician friend had told me to watch for - and they simply were not there. The key was in plain sight at all times. It bent, and even when Uri stopped his concentration, the key kept bending. Also, there was an iron ruler in the office. Uri bent the iron ruler. He held his hands about two inches above it, concentrated, and the ruler bent, right in the middle.

 

Ray Stanford, is research psychic of the Association for the Understanding of Man in Austin, Texas, and uses his ESP abilities for psychical research purposes only. Rex G. Stanford, Ph.D., Ray's twin brother, currently President of the Parapsychological Association, is associated with the research of Drs. Ian Stevenson and Gaither Pratt at the University of Virginia. Ray wrote an article9 relating some remarkable phenomena that occurred during Uri Geller's visit to Austin on July 21 and 22, 1973. Although the manifestations were spontaneous, precluding rigid scientific control, some of them, says Ray, "contain significant self-substantiating elements."

 

When Uri was visiting at Ray's home, he saw a meteorite sealed in a Pyrex glass container on Stanford's desk and asked to see it. Ray writes: "I took the meteorite from the case and handed it to Geller. He stared intently at it for a few moments. That caused me to wonder if he might be trying to psychokinetically bend it. It was somewhat of a relief when Uri put the object back in its container and I resealed it. I was not sure I wanted the meteorite deformed."

 

When they were eating dinner, Uri picked up a bite of food with a thick stainless steel fork. As Ray and his wife watched, the fork started bending and the food dropped off.

 

"Let me see it!" Stanford exclaimed.

 

Geller handed him the still-bending fork. While Ray held it, they all watched the fork handle steadily continue to bend a full 40 degrees more, then the bending motion slowed. Ray placed the fork on the table between himself and his wife. They watched it continue bending a bit more without anyone at all touching it.

 

Later in the evening, when a group of people were assembled, an object came crashing down onto the asphalt tile entrance-way just inside the front door. It was the meteorite, which made a big dent and cracks in the asphalt tile, but was not damaged in any way whatsoever. "There were eleven persons in the room at the time, including Geller," says Ray. "Everyone seemed sure he could not have tossed the meteorite without being clearly seen. Furthermore, the meteorite would have been obvious if it had been hidden in Uri's tight-fitting jeans and shirt."

 

Stanford rushed back to the room in which the meteorite had been to check the condition of the Pyrex container. It was sealed just as be had left it.

 

Uri Geller tells everyone that his greatest desire for the future is to be able to bring back the camera Edgar Mitchell left on the moon. There are pictures that verify the position of the camera on the moon so no one can say the astronauts smuggled it back and that Uri faked it. Besides, a physicist told him it would be radioactive by this time and the radiation could be definitely measured. Still, it will have to be returned under the right circumstances and with the right witnesses so that people can't say it was a big hoax.

 

"I don't know when it will come back, but when the time is right it will," says Uri. "I know I will be able to do it."


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