Article in Kennel Gazette – November 1999
Could it be magic ?
Uri Geller, also known as ‘the man who bends spoons’, talks to Nick Waters about his paranormal powers, his life and how his fame and love of dogs has helped raise money for many dog and children’s charities. Pictures by Marc Henrie.
Uri Geller is a quiet family man, but one who has captured the imagination of the world, attention from world leaders and scientists and been the inspiration for heated debates over the capabilities of the mind. For he is the ‘man who bends spoons’, for which he will forever be remembered.’ Small wonder when a spoon bends before your very eyes and continues to bend when you yourself are holding it.
He describes himself as a ‘paranormalist author’ and is the world’s most investi gated and celebrated paranorrnalist. Dr Werner von Braun, NASA scientist and father of the rocket, said this about Geller: “Geller bent my ring in the palm of my hand without even touching it. Personally, I have no scientific explanation for the phenomena.”
Professor Arthur Ellison, Erneritus Professor of Electrical Engineering, City University, London, said: “The Yale key at no time left our sight from the moment it was removed from the key ring and placed on the typewriter frame to the time when the thin end had bent upwards. We were all looking carefully for magician’s tricks and there were none. I am able to state with confidence my view that Mr Geller has genuine psychic capability.” Marc Scifer PhD, psychology lecturer, New York, commented: “He [Geller] is a living symbol of the potential future evolution of the human race.” There are others who have been less kind and who have questioned the paranormal powers of the mind.
MIND OVER MATTER
Uri Geller says that he first became aware of his unusual powers when he was five. “One day, during a meal, my spoon curled up in my hand and broke, but I
had applied no physical pressure to it.” His parents were somewhat shocked and Uri did not mention the incident to anyone else at the time.
In 1969 he began to demonstrate what he calls “his powers of telepathy and psychokinesis” to small audiences.
By the end of 1971, his was a household name throughout his native Israel thanks to his numerous stage appearances. When asked on a national radio programme what she predicted for the future of Israel, the Prime Minister, Golda Meir, replied, “Don’t ask me, ask Uri Geller”.
In 1972, Uri left Israel for Europe, where he immediately attracted widespread attention. His appearance on David Dimbleby’s Talk-in brought him overnight fame in Britain that spread throughout the world.
Uri Geller performs in front of scientists and highly specialised technicians in addition to the general public and TV viewers. The many feats credited to him include stopping Britain’s most famous clock, Big Ben and rendering a computer non-operational in Switzerland by garbling up a floppy disk.
He is the mind-power coach to footballers, industrialists, Formula one racing drivers and racing cyclists.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
More than 15 books have been written about Uri Geller and over 500 published since the early 1970s have mentioned him prominently, including encyclopaedias and dictionaries. In 1995 a film inspired by Uri’s life was made. Titled Mindbender, it was directed by Ken Russell and starred Ishai Golan and Terence Stamp. Uri himself has written many books, the latest of which, Mind Medicine, has just been published.
With his friend Meir Gitlis, Uri has developed a number of inventions that are already in production, one of which, the Moneytron, distinguishes a fake
bank note from a genuine one.
He is also an artist, taking his inspiration from the works of Salvador Dali whom he knew. An exhibition of his paintings is currently being held in
Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 20 December, 1946. His parents had moved to Israel from Hungary to escape the Nazis. His mother was born in
Berlin and is related to Sigmund Freud.
Uri cannot remember a time when he has not had a special affinity towards animals. He says that his powers extend to his dogs, for they will instinctively know his plans many days before they happen. I think that many of us experience something similar with our own dogs, some plans needing to be made with military precision to prevent them anticipating too much too soon.
The Geller family lived in a one-room apartment in Tel Aviv where Uri’s father was a taxi driver. One day he found a small puppy wandering around the streets which he took home. Uri was four years old, and his father woke him and said “go and look on the balcony”, and there in a shoebox was the puppy. Uri named him Tzuki and for the next three years they were in inseparable.
One day, tragedy struck. Uri and Tzuki were walking along a street when Tzuki’s lead broke and he ran into the path of an oncoming car and was killed instantly. This was Uri’s first encounter with grief and he remembers it vividly to this day. Tzuki one was replaced by Tzuki two, another mixed breed from the streets of Tel Aviv. Uri remembers these aogs as being very intelligent with a good street- wise mentality.
When he was ten, Uri’s parents’ marriage broke up and he was taken to a Kibbutz. He missed his parents and he missed Tzuki and every night he would look at the moon with the knowledge that Tzuki could see the same moon and somehow the moon kept them together.
IT’S NO JOKE
When he was 11, his mother remarried and went to live in Cyprus. Uri went with her and Tzuki was found a home with a family in Tel Aviv. Having to leave Tzuki behind is etched on his memory. Uri’s stepfather had two dogs, joker, a Wire Fox Terrier and Peter, a Smooth Fox Terrier. joker became Uri’s pet and he has Joker to thank for being here today.
Under the school he attended in Cyprus were a succession of caves and tunnels in which two boys had died through getting lost and not being able to find their way out. Uri, being adventurous, found himself in the same predicament, when suddenly, as if telepathically, joker appeared and led Uri to safety.
In 1964 the Cypriot War caused them to move on and they returned to Israel. Peter, by this time, had died of old age, but joker went with them. He was
already loaded on to the ship, but in the confusion the ship sailed without Uri, his mother and stepfather.
Three days later they managed to get on a plane going to Israel and found joker still in his metal crate on the ship. There was a great reunion.
Uri served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army and fought in the Six-Day War in 1967 during which he was wounded in action. From 1968 to 1969 he worked as a photographer’s model. He used to travel around on a Vespa scooter, Joker travelling with him and the pair became a familiar sight on the streets of Tel Aviv.
Joker became old and the kindest thing was to put him to sleep. In those days in Israel there were no such things as injections at the vet, any animal needing putting down was shot. The shot that took joker’s life is still clear in Uri’s mind.
After the army and modelling, Uri went into show business. For a while there would be no more dogs. in 1972 he left Israel travelling first through Europe and then around the rest of the world. He finally settled in America and bought a house in Connecticut. The time was now right to have a dog again and another Joker joined the family. When they left America in 1984 tee settle in England, Joker came with them and while in quarantine he was visited nearly every day.
A DATE WITH DESTINY
Uri, in and around his house, relaxing with his dogs JonJon, a rescued Greyhound, Joker the Wire Fox Terrier, Chico, the Chihuahua and Medina, the Doberman.
In 1985 the Geller family – Uri, his wife Hanna, who he met in 1968 in Israel and their children Daniel, now 18 and Natalie, now 16 – moved to their present imposing home set in nine acres of grounds beside the River Thames.
They were now looking for a larger dog, one that would act as a guard, but at the same time would be affectionate with the children. A Swedish friend suggested a Dobermann, so they were joined by Destiny.
The friend’s advice proved to be good advice, for Destiny was everything they wanted from a dog, an excellent deterrent and devoted pet. Destiny was followed by Tina and she in turn was followed by Medina who is now ten years old.
For his Bar-Mitzvah, Daniel wanted his own dog, something small, and his parents surprised him with Chico, a cream smooth coated Chihuahua who is now six. Small he may be – although in truth he is large for a Chihuahua – but he makes his presence felt and does not miss out on anything.
The Fox Terrier has always been a special breed for Uri, and three years later
another joker joined the family. One only has to go into any ‘doggy’ household and there are give-away signs as to which breed is special and the Fox Terrier models in the Gellers’ house say it all.
Some time ago, the Gellers were at the Walthamstow Greyhound Track in London and saw the fawn dog, Jonjon, injure a leg in a race. Jonjon is now the fourth canine member of the family. His kind expression, the way he nuzzles up to you and the manner in which he reclines to survey his surroundings, so typical of all long dogs, proves just what excellent pets ex-racing Greyhounds can make.
ALL IN A GOOD CAUSE
Uri with his wife Hanna,
who he met in 1968 in Israel
As a result of what happened to Jonjon and the thought of what the future could have held for him, Uri now helps Greyhound Rescue. He is particularly concerned about the plight of retired Greyhounds which are then sent overseas to a very uncertain future.
Uri is aware of the work a band of dedicated enthusiasts undertake and the money needed so to help with their fundraising he donates signed copies of his books for auction and bends spoons which he then signs. One spoon recently sold at an auction for the Exeter Greyhound charity for £150.
Another dog charity to which Uri lends his name is the Canine Supporters Charity and its annual fundraising Contest of Champion Showdogs. As President he likes to see as much money as possible being raised on the night and one way he can do this is by bending spoons which are then auctioned. Last year he won one of the main prizes in the raffle, a television set.
Uri is equally passionate about raising money for children in need and is an Honorary Vice President of the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Part of his income from sales of his books helps children’s charities and children’s hospitals.
One of his latest books, Ella, is a story about a 14 year old girl with supernatural powers who is bullied and abused and gives her love to her pet mongrel. The royalties from this book will go to the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Uri is giving away a car to help save the children of Kosovo, but it will be no ordinary car, it will be painted by Uri and that will make it very unique.
A FAMILY MAN
Uri Geller is a fervent promoter of peace who knows first-hand what it is like to live through conflict. When at home, he enjoys nothing more than walking with his dogs through the local fields and beside the River Thames.
“The dogs are our family,” Uri says, and for someone who leads such a busy life, having them about no doubt helps him to relax.
Uri Geller’s novel Dead Cold is published by Headline Features at £9.99 and
Ella is available at £5.99. Mind Medicine is published by Element Books and is available at £6.99. Jonathan margolis’ Uri Geller, Magician or Mystic? is published by Orion Books at £6.99.
Visit Uri Geller at www.uri-geller.com and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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“There is no spoon!”
“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”
“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”
Tannens Magic Blog
“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”
James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)
Sir Elton John
“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”
“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”
“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”