In two minds

August 1997

Ruth Steward was having difficulty psyching herself up for this year’s Flora London Marathon, so she called in therunner0 expert – Uri Geller. Nicola Dela-Croix met them both and discovered how the man of bendy-spoon fame has been sharing his powers of positive thinking.

The night before visiting Uri Geller, I searched through my cutlery draw for a suitable victim to hand over to the Metal Maestro. I was already one spoon down on my starter set, having previously snapped it on a deeply-frozen tub of mint choc-chip, and I didn’t think a fork or knife would be the done thing. So I left it – he was probably sick of bending spoons, anyway.

“Did you bring a spoon?” Uri asks me, not long after I arrive.
“Umm, no I didn’t,” l reply. Damn.

Last November, Ruth Steward, a 31-year-old political assistant from London was cycling to work in the city, when an object in the road jammed her brakes, throwing her over the handlebars. Before she could put her hands out to cushion her landing, Ruth hit the road head first, fracturing her skull in two places, and breaking facial bones and teeth. An ambulance took her to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where she needed emergency surgery to remove a clot from the surface of her brain.

“At the time, it was touch-and-go and my face reportedly looked like a blue and purple ball, with tennis balls where runner1my eyes should have been,” Ruth explains.

“But after the operation, I started to heal very quickly and, apart from facial scars and my left eye, which took the impact, being a little narrower than before, I was told there would be no lasting, serious problems.”

Leaving hospital a week later, Ruth arrived back at her flat to discover her Flora London Marathon acceptance waiting for her.

“The race was only five months away, but I knew then I just had to do it,” says Ruth, who works for the League Against Cruel Sports.
 It was to be her third consecutive London Marathon, as Ruth had run in 1995 to raise money for an Environmental Investigation Agency working for endangered species, and in ’96 to raise money for the Cancer Relief McMillan Fund.
“I had an uncle who was living with lung cancer and being cared for by McMillan nurses at a hospice in Wigan before he died. My dad also died from lung cancer when I was 1 5. “
This year, Ruth turned her fund-raising attentions to the London Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, a crucial organization which attends to accident scenes in the capital over 1,000 times a year, but is

currently under threat of fund withdrawal.

“I could hear the helicopter when I was on the hospital ward and decided it was a good cause to run for,” says Ruth. “And I would hate to think that someone could die because of lack of funds.”runner4

Although nervous at the prospect of wiggling her head around for four hours on race day, Ruth eased herself back into training. But as her body started to heal and she improved physically, doubts began to surface.

“I was beginning to wonder if I could really do it. Physically, I felt okay but, in my mind, I really wasn’t so sure.

“Then I saw a TV programme called ‘Bending Footballs’ with Uri Geller. He was helping to psyche up the players of a football club, giving them confidence and encouraging them to think positive. It was just what I needed, so l wrote to Uri and asked if he could help me.

“A lot has happened since then,” says Ruth, relaxing on the couch at Uri’s abode of Thameside splendour in Berkshire. Beside her, our host Uri has been listening intently.

“I get hundreds of letters every week asking

for help and, although I can’t respond to them all, Ruth’s letter really moved me, so I invited her to a lecture I was runner6giving in Battersea on ‘How to believe in Yourself,” he recalls.

“I told Ruth to make sure she came up to the stage to see me. I didn’t know what she looked like, but I spotted her immediately.”

Uri agreed to help Ruth prepare for London, beginning with the gift of an energised amethyst for her to carry during the race.

“I told her she could make it and I would be thinking of her. I energised an amethyst for Ruth because I believe you can transfer energy. But I knew she could do it. I knew that my presence on the day would motivate her and trigger her inner energies and that dormant power we all have in our brains. It would pull her through.”

So, true to his word, Uri left his home on marathon day at 5am and drove to London to meet Ruth.

“I didn’t realise it was going to be such an open area with thousands of people -everyone was asking me for autographs. Then I found Ruth and talked to her, then I touched her head and neck, held the amethyst again and runner7signed her T-shirt, which she could touch if she needed to. Then we went to the start line and I saw her off.”

Ruth couldn’t believe Uri had offered to meet her at the start.

“It was just amazing,” she says. “By being there, Uri helped me to take my mind off things and stopped me worrying. I’m a great believer in his powers.”

Uri had told Ruth to look out for him on Tower Budge, and, while most of us content ourselves with the ‘needle-in-a-haystack’ approach of looking for specific runners, Uri had a better method.

“I told her to look for me on the bridge and to make sure that when I yelled her name, she looked directly at me.

“First of all, I almost gave up because there were hundreds of people and I was thinking, ‘where is Ruth?’ But Irunner8 logged on to her telepathically before she came into my vision, so I knew she was coming. I pushed my way through the crowd and people started shouting at me, so I had to tell Ruth’s life story very quickly so they would let me through. I started shouting “Ruth! Ruth!” and she looked at me and said, “My knee hurts”. I said, “Forget your knee!” It was very exciting really.”

So, five months after undergoing brain surgery, Ruth crossed the finish line of the Flora London Marathon in just four hours and ten minutes.

“Uri helped me to get through it. I got my official photograph through the other day and I was actually smiling on the finish line. That’s the first time that’s happened!”
For Uri, Ruth’s success has a simple explanation.

“There is a point where you really have to motivate yourself on that adrenalin, that extra will power. You really can perform miracles if you know how to harness that determination and adhere to your target.”

“It’s easier for me to train individuals rather than whole teams at a time. But if one player can score a goal, that’s all runner9they need. It’s a good feeling working with sports people.”

Uri discovered ‘psychic coaching’ when he was 12-years-old, living in Cyprus with his mother who ran a small hotel, mainly for football trainers who came to coach local Cypnot teams.

“One day I bent a key for one of the trainers and it totally blew his mind and he said, ‘Could you do this for my players? Can you “will” the ball in the goal?’ I asked him to let me try, so he took me to meet the team. They were bottom of the league but, that year, they won the championship.

“The trainer believed I did it with mind control – training your brain. When they won the championship I realised that I had some sort of ability to train people in sport. “

runner3Uri’s reputation soon proceeded him and, by the mid-70s, he was training Mohammed All in NewJersey.

“He didn’t really believe in training the mind – he always thought I was a magician. I told him let’s go through certain techniques and I taught him how to concentrate and almost knock out his opponents with just a stare and sending energies to push them over with the power of his mind.”

“Did you see the bike in the entrance hall?” Uri asks, pointing to the next room where a custom-built bike is mounted onto the wall.

“Bruce Bursford broke the Ultimate Bike world record on it after I psyched him up. He couldn’t go more than 180mph but, after I trained him, he finally broke the world record in 210.9mph.”

An impressive list of achievements, which most people have probably never associated with Uri. To many, he is still Mr Bendy-Spoon.

“I bent my first spoon when I was four-years-old, eating soup and it went on from there really. I loved it because it was a form of entertainment and everyone was astonished. I became a household name when David Dimbleby interviewed me for the BBC in the 70s and I bent people’s spoons in their homes and fixed watches. People cannot forget that. They’d never seen anything like it before, it was headline news.”

Ruth opens her bag and produces a small silver spoon. I pretend I forgot mine and we all head off into the other room for a bend-fest. Within seconds of stroking, the spoon handle begins to bend and continues bending, long after Uri has let go of it. Most impressive.

In addition to spoon bending and Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), Uri has also found fame and fortune by dowsing – finding oil, gold and minerals for large corporations, simply by using his fingertips to feel magnetic sensations.runner2

“I don’t think I’m unique. We all have these abilities but I do have to practice. I often wonder what would happen if one day I woke up and didn’t have my powers any more. But I’m not surprised I still have them, I always knew it would be this way. Everything and anything is possible.”

Even you and I can train the dormant energy within us, using the new ‘Uri Geller Mindpower Kit’, complete with your very own empowered crystal.

“I believe everyone has a dormant energy within them,” Uri explains, as Ruth nods in agreement. “Your mind is like a muscle that needs training. It’s something everyone takes for granted,” she says.

One exercise Uri recommends you try is when you are in a bus or a plane, focus your eyes on the back of someone’s head and command them to turn around telepathically.

“You will amaze yourself,” says Uri “Eight times out of ten they will turn around.”

Just don’t try it on the driver.

“You will know if you have a psychic ability, because too many coincidences happen. You know what someone is going to say, or you think someone is going to call you and they do. Everyone has something odd, which has happened to them that they cannot explain. It can’t be coincidence.”

Proof of this can be found in the successful ‘Encounters’ magazine that Uri promotes.

“We gather paranormal stones from around the world and I get thousands of letters from people who say, this really happened to me.”

Being a psychic phenomenon can be stressful, but Uri has it all under control.

“Cycling 40 miles a day keeps me fit, but I find running or walking a form of meditation. It sounds strange but I can almost float my mind, sending my imagination anywhere I want – nothing else does that for me.”

“If you know your spiritual self, your physical self, your mental state, your soul, your inner spins, if all these are in harmony you can put yourself onto this incredible high, this nirvana that runners do feel.”

His love of running has certainly enabled him to understand exactly what Ruth was going through during this year’s London and he has agreed to help her prepare for November’s New York Marathon, where she will be running again to raise money for the London Helicopter appeal.

“I come from a very poor family, total poverty, so l know my background,” Uri says. “I used to be on a big ego trip, obsessed with money but now, although I live in a nice house, that’s where it stops. I have a healthy, happy family and that’s what’s important.”

“We are all lucky to be walking around, in good health. You only need to ask Ruth just how fragile we are.”

We say “goodbye” and I head towards the car, with my Uri Geller Mindpower Kit tucked under my arm. I check my watch – it’s still working. On the way home, I try to guess the colour of the next car that passes me. I think blue – it’s white. I think red – it’s blue. But I’m undeterred, even Uri has powers he hasn’t quite mastered.

“I wish I could levitate. I would love it. It’s like a dream – floating in the air. I have tried so many times, but I just can’t do it.”

Oh well, you can’t have everything.

If you would like to raise money for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, call Pat Swaby on 0171-247-6722.



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