THE LIST GROWS
As I recently mentioned, I’m getting together a roster of quotations by and about Uri Geller that verify his frequent claim of not being a trickster, since I can see him edging toward a retreat from that stance, especially since YouTube has so effectively exposed his tricks. Continuing to try selling that line of nonsense now seems futile, and I think he’s seeing the old handwriting-on-the-wall warning in front of him. This matter was previously addressed at randi.org/joom/content/view/109/2, which I suggest you may want to go to before reading the rest of this item.
But, as I mentioned before, I believe that there’s a serious problem here. Geller, in the last 30 years, has cost government and private agencies literally millions of dollars in investigating what they believed to be his genuine paranormal powers. Naïve academics have invested their reputations in his assurance that he’s the real thing. Politicians, too, have opened doors for him based on his claims of authenticity, and the media have committed space to his affectations. A generation of young folks has changed their thinking about the real world because he told them he was giving them the truth about reality.
For him to now announce to the world that it was all just a joke and that he was, after all, only doing tricks, and they fell for the trickery, could result in some heavy action from those who were deceived – I would think. Of course, my impression that he’s getting ready to reverse his stance, may be incorrect; I base it on my observations that he recently stated he wants to be referred to as a “mystifyer” rather than as a “psychic”…
Here is a run-down of some material dealing with the matter, some of it having been garnered by my office, much of it from you readers, and still more from the JREF Forum denizens. I thank all of you for your help. And I’ll update this list from time to time. This is only a scratching of the surface, 19 bits from early 1973 to the present. It’s quite a history…
March 12, 1973, from TIME Magazine, "The Magician and the Think Tank":
After leaving SRI, Geller volunteered to demonstrate his powers to TIME'S editors. Last month he appeared at the Time-Life Building in Manhattan and projected thoughts and images, claimed to read minds and caused a fork to bend – supposedly by using psychic energy. After Geller left, professional magician James Randi, who had been present, duplicated each of his feats, explaining that any magician could perform them. The fork bending, said Randi, was accomplished by sleight of hand; after distracting his audience, Geller had simply bent it with his two hands.
July 2nd, 1973: In response to that TIME article, from a later editorial,:
Israeli Psychic Uri Geller was not pleased when our Science section disclosed in March that he had apparently hoodwinked researchers at one of the nation's leading think tanks by employing simple magician's tricks. But he has no reason to complain. Since the story was printed, he has been the subject of magazine and newspaper articles, has been called upon to demonstrate his "powers" at numerous public appearances, and was an honored guest on a television talk show.
September 19, 1973, from “Psychic Magazine” quoting Geller:
I've had telepathy since I was very small. 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.
And further down the page...
PSYCHIC: How were you billed there [in Israel], as a mentalist or a magician?
GELLER: The papers described me as a mind reader, and that I was able to do psychokinesis – moved and bent objects.
PSYCHIC: Is that what you're performances in Israel and here consist of?
GELLER: Yes, telepathy and psychokinesis. And I would always break a ring or a chain or anything that people brought to me.
June, 1974, Dr. Andrew Weil, writing in Psychology Today:
A few days later, I met with Uri privately at his East 57th Street apartment. I asked him what he thought about people who said he was a mere stage magician. "I am not a magician," he said vehemently. "Look, the people who are supposed to see these things will see them, and those who don't, don't. I don't care if people say I do magic tricks. I know that it's real. And it's all good publicity.”
September 2, 1975, from Geller’s own site:
I am not a magician, never have been and I am not competing with magicians, now or ever.
Autumn, 1990, on “The Best of Magic,” a BBC show featuring magicians, Geller was asked:
Why are we so honored to have you here, when you’re not really a magician?
In response, Geller said:
No, I’m not a magician, and I never have been.
September 10, 1991, on "CBS “This Morning,” with Paula Zahn and Harry Smith, “Psychic Uri Geller Discusses Lawsuit Against James Randi,” Geller said:
If I have ever found – I – I think that I am the only psychic – and if I may so say without hurting other psychics – I'm the only person that gave myself to scientifically controlled laboratory experiments all around the world. I mean, they've studied me at Stanford Research Institute, at Kent State University, at Max Planck Institute of the University of London. I can go on and on and on. Now let me tell you this – that I – I have an ability that I cannot explain. And when – and – and it's bad enough that Randi has been attacking my – my abilities, but now he's attacking the originality of what I do. Before I was born, there was no such thing as spoon bending, and I brought it to this world. Now he says, “No, this was on cereal boxes when I was a kid.” That is a lie.
Well, the trick did appear on a box of “Coco Puffs” cereal – though he misquotes me on the “when I was a kid” bit, and years ago I sent Geller his very own box from that cereal, to educate him. The Breaking Spoon trick – I believe – was first invented and published by a correspondent for Abracadabra Magazine in 1968 – not long before Geller started doing the trick.
September 8, 1994: In “The Jerusalem Report” by Calev Ben-David, titled, “A Life of the Mind," Geller is quoted on page 46:
“There were a few times when I did perform such tricks, and I have admitted it," Geller says today. But he insists his subsequent refusal to follow this path is the very reason he eventually left Israel. "Israel is so small that the same audiences started to come and see me two or three times, each time expecting to see something new. But I am not a magician who can constantly come up with new tricks, and how many times can you see a spoon being bent? So I had to go abroad to find new audiences."
"Like I told you, I'm not a magician," he says. "If something isn't working, I don't try to guess."
November 3, 1996, in The Independent newspaper (London), by Hester Lacey, page 2:
He first discovered his mystical talent when eating soup at the age of four; the spoon drooped, sending the broth into his lap. He has no idea why. "Maybe this does not come from me at all. Maybe this is something extra- terrestrial. Maybe it is a little alien baby run away from its parents and it's playing around with me," he says, completely straight-faced.
February, 1998, in an interview:
Interviewer: How is it best to describe your abilities?
Geller: Paranormal, mindpower, supernatural.
November 8, 2000, in “The Guardian” newspaper, a letter from Geller:
Your Pass notes (November 6) imply I am a magician and conjuror – but that this cannot be stated outright because I am such a litigious fellow. I can say with absolute certainty I do not cheat. I am not a magician.
December, 2001 in “The Telegraph”:
Uri Geller: OK, David. Here we [Geller and David Blaine] are on the train to Exeter, to the football club of which I am joint chairman, and where we're doing a charity show with Michael Jackson. You and I have both demonstrated some of the hidden powers of the mind and it would be interesting to hear, David, how you explain some of your incredible achievements.
See: "When Uri met David" at tinyurl.com/2t7ycz
Summer, 2003: A Channel 4/UK interview with Uri Geller:
Geller: It was 30 years ago this month. There was a show presented by David Dimbleby. He invited me from California, where I was being tested by the CIA at Stanford Research Institute, and he asked me to demonstrate my abilities, and suddenly stuck a fork in my hand. And I looked into the camera and asked people to get their broken watches and spoons, and I didn’t realize that I was sending 37 million people to the kitchen. And then the telephone system just blew up, because so many people were reporting that spoons were bending in their own hands. And that flashed worldwide, it put me on every newspaper, magazine and news broadcast worldwide.
Interviewer: It rapidly becomes clear that Uri is prone to hyperbole. For example, 37 million people is considerably higher than the highest ratings ever achieved on British television, and besides, they can’t all have gone into their kitchens, surely? Added to which, can he really have been on the cover of every magazine worldwide? Anglers Weekly? Playboy? But hang on a minute: Did he say something about the CIA? What’s that all about?
Geller: The American Defense Department lured me out of Israel. The US was concerned that the Russians were dabbling with the paranormal. They had people there that could move objects with the power of their mind. They had no one that they were testing in the west, so they sent a scientist, with a letter from an astronaut who had walked on the moon, to convince me to leave Israel, and that was in 1972. And I went through a lot of tests in America, and they actually validated these powers. And they were also published in Nature Magazine, and that of course gave me huge scientific credibility.
Interviewer: It’s not exactly been a dull life, then. What would he consider to be his greatest supernatural “feat”?
Geller: It depends what you mean. I’ve done a lot of quirky things, from stopping Big Ben – twice – to stopping a ship in mid-ocean, to getting a woman pregnant by bending their contraceptive coil while they were watching on television.” (Quirky?) But the serious stuff was when I was asked by the American government to convince and bombard the Russians to sign the nuclear treaty.
Interviewer: Yeah, of course they invited you along every the time two Cold War enemies met up to try and rid the world of the nuclear menace, Uri. Um, except it seems they did. Visit Uri’s website (www.urigeller.com) and you’ll see a picture of him at the Geneva Summit, standing alongside the Chairman of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee and the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Chief Arms negotiator.
December 15th 2003: On Jonathan Cainer's site, "Uri Geller's mind power," archived:
I am not a conjuror. I can barely shuffle a pack of cards, and I don't do tricks… I've come to believe that I was given these strange gifts to inspire others, to be a catalyst and help human beings tune in to their massive untapped potential. The more popular I am, the more people I reach. So yes, I'm an entertainer – and yes, it's all real.
January 1st, 2007, in Israel (translation):
Geller: I use the power of my mind… I left Israel because I was not a magician and could not do more effects in my repertoire, so people got bored and I had to leave.
January 22nd, 2007 TV interview:
Geller: I deal with energies.
January 28th, 2007, from an interview on BBC News:
Israeli-born Geller said the program did not involve sleight of hand. The participants did have supernatural powers capable of performing marvels, he told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency. “I am not a magician and have never been one," Geller said. "I keep my powers mysterious."
December 20th, unspecified year: From an interview with Geller by Wynn Free, found on “The Spirit of Ma’at” website:
Free: Uri, please tell us a little bit about your childhood and how you learned you had special abilities.
Geller: When I discovered the powers, I was about four years old. I was eating soup, and the spoon bent in my hand. It broke in half. My mother… thought that maybe I had inherited some powers… When I demonstrated these abilities in school, I was bullied, because some of these kids thought I was a freak. I would move the clock on the wall. I could read minds, too, but it was the spoon bending and the key bending that amazed everyone.
Free: Stanford University. Could you tell us a little bit about those tests?
Geller: I was tested there with two other people… My tests at Stanford were published as a scientific paper in Nature Magazine. You can find this on my website, uri-geller.com. Nature Magazine is one of the most prestigious scientific magazines in the world… These tests, by the way, were really financed by the CIA. Very few people know that. We set up a program for the Americans called Stargate, which was about remote viewing. And just recently, the CIA again activated the people who do remote viewing, to find out more about Afghanistan and where the next terrorist attacks would occur.
Further on, at this site:
Free: Do you have any idea how you do these things?
Geller: I have feelings. A British scientist, a Nobel Prize laureate named Brian Josephson, believes that what I do is quantum mechanics. I want to believe that it's more spiritual or even more supernatural in nature. I'm a religious man. I believe in God. I do want to believe that my powers are a gift. But there are so many mysteries out there in the Universe that it's very difficult for me to understand these powers. And it's a fact that not a lot of people have them. I keep traveling around the world. I write my books, and I get thousands of emails a week. I just finished my sixteenth book, and people know how to reach me. But I've yet to find others who can do this. Children seem to be the exception. When I have taught them how to focus their minds on a spoon, many children do surprise me. But then, as they grow older, it ebbs away from them.
November 24th, 2007: From tinyurl.com/2eqdom we get this vapid statement from author Brendan Burton:
In respect of Geller, there is too much credible witness evidence to suggest that he is just employing mere trickery. Indeed, if such were the case, he would be perhaps even more of a phenomenal person, having maintained a level of deceit so powerful it has managed to fool some of the most credible academics in history, people with high level security clearances, physicists, metallurgists, astronauts, magicians, politicians and world leaders, in short – the kind of people we tend to invest our trust into.
Such supposed “trickery” to such a large and grand scale has certainly never been done before, and leads even some of the most skeptical to consider: "This can't be possible....... can it?"
Well, “credible” academics are only credible in their specialties, Brendan. I don’t know of one “magician” who has been fooled by Geller, though a few once said so, then changed their minds after they were further experienced. And such scams have often been done before, many times, all over the globe. You need to have more experience of the real world. Anecdotes, no matter by whom they are recited, nor how loudly, are not evidence…