Interview – The Independent – August 16, 2000
August 16, 2000
You ask the questions (Such as: so, Uri Geller, I’ve got a bent spoon at home, can you straighten it?)
Uri Geller was born in Israel in 1946. After spending his teenage years in Cyprus, Geller returned to Israel where he served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army and fought in the Six Day War of 1967. In 1969 he began demonstrating his powers of telepathy and psychokinesis to small audiences around the country. By 1971 he had become a household name, touring Europe and the States giving demonstrations of his powers such as bending spoons and stopping a cable car in mid-air. Geller is a vegetarian who cycles 27 miles every day. He lives with his wife, two teenage children and five dogs in Berkshire.
I have written my question and placed it in an envelope which is being kept in Glossop in Derbyshire. What is the answer to that question?
Richard Fair, Glossop
Why do people constantly want to test my powers? Even walking down the street I am mobbed by ordinary people asking to have their mind read or their spoon bent. I constantly have to prove myself and I’m sick of it. I’ve been tested and studied in dozens of laboratories around the world: the University of London, Stanford University, the Max Planc Institute the list goes on and on. It would be a huge task for me to know what’s in the envelope. I would like to throw the question back. If it came from someone who is, say, a singer, would I ask them to start singing down the telephone? Of course not.
Is it true you advised the Israeli intelligence service, Mossad?
Trudie Harding, Sunbury
This is a question I always dodge because I cannot confirm or deny it. I can openly tell you, though, that I worked for the CIA. I have done some incredible tasks for them, mainly in Mexico. I sat next to two KGB agents on a plane and erased their floppy disks (which were contained in attaché cases chained to their wrists) with the power of my mind.
When did you get the first inkling of your psychic power? How did it manifest itself? And how did you cultivate it?
K Beeton, by e-mail
I was four years old, eating soup. As I was lifting the spoon to mouth it started bending; it actually snapped in half. That was the very first time. Then at school I discovered I could read minds. Not a whole thought, but whenever I had difficulties with an answer I would look at the back of the head of a good student and be able to pluck out the answer, particularly in arithmetic. I could move the hands of a clock as well. A few times we got let out an hour earlier because I moved the hands. By demonstrating my power in school I was exercising it – it’s like a muscle, you have to exercise it every day.
What were you like as a child? Were you popular at school?
Josie Potter, London N1
I was bullied at school because other children thought that I was a freak. I was beaten up and went home bleeding. I had a very tough childhood, because of my parents divorcing and because of my powers, but I guess it was a learning process that I had to go through.
If I hold a spoon while I read your answer to this question, can you make it bend?
Isabel Fowler, London W12
Now that you’ve reached this question, why don’t you put this newspaper down for a minute, and go and get a broken watch or clock, and a spoon. Firstly wind up the watch and place the two objects on my picture. I know to many of you this will sound ridiculous but you have nothing to lose, try it. On the count of three I want you to shout out the word “work!” and the word “bend!”. If your watch or clock starts ticking or the spoon moves or bends please let us know. If nothing happened, don’t be disappointed it doesn’t happen all the time and it doesn’t happen to everyone.
Have you ever bent the truth?
K Singh, Luton
I have a weekly column in the Jewish Telegraph called “Uri Geller Not Bending the Truth”. I try not to bend the truth although I am sure there have been times in my life when I have given a compliment to someone, especially women, which may have dented the truth slightly telling them perhaps that their dress was pretty when really it wasn’t. But that’s as far as it goes.
Why on earth were you offended by having a Pokémon character named after you in Japan?
Francis Webb, Taunton
It’s not fair for someone to steal your name and place it on a business venture without your permission. But aside from it being legally and ethically wrong, the other thing that bothered me about the card is that it is an evil character that induces headaches in people. I’m the exact opposite of that: I teach people to heal themselves. I don’t want a whole generation of kids growing up believing that spoon-bending is bad or that I induce headaches. Also, I’m the only character out of 151 that has a star on its forehead. And although it’s not a Star of David, it does evoke terrible emotions because I’m Jewish and part of my family were destroyed by the Nazis.
I’ve got a bent spoon. Can you make it straight?
P Smitherson, by e-mail
This is the most asked question. Physically I can, but mentally I can’t. Usually most of the spoons I bend continue bending and stop at 90 degrees. I have absolutely no explanation for it, I’ve tried many a time to straighten them, but it never works.
What did you do with your first wage packet?
Martha Sawyer, Reading
Before I was famous, I worked as a construction worker in Tel Aviv. I participated in the building of the El Al building, hauling cement in big pots and pouring them into the ground. The salary from that was OK, and the first thing I bought was a pair of working boots with fortified metal protectors on them. When I was 17, I joined the Israeli army, where the wages were next to nothing; but after that I became a male model. I was very successful and modelled everything from watches to shirts and underpants. That was very good pay and I managed to buy my mother a black-and-white TV, which was a luxury in Israel back then.
My first spoon-bending demonstration was in 1969 at a party in a small apartment owned by an Israeli general. The then-prime minister Golda Meir was there, and she recognised my ability. The next morning she was doing an interview on Israeli radio and she was asked to predict the future of Israel. She simply said: “Don’t ask me, ask Uri Geller.” That launched me to stardom and then came the big salaries. Managers started to call me and I was booked to do two performances a day for between 3-5,000 people. Although at the time I was being ripped off by managers, I was quite content with the leftovers.
Liberty Mountain or Elvis Presley: who’s the better singer?
Miles Key, by e-mail
I have an Elvis statue in my living room, which actually saved a woman’s life. It belonged to a friend of mine; one day two thieves broke into her house, tied her up and were about to slash her throat. One of the men caught sight of the statue in the corner; because he was a huge fan, he spared the woman’s life. Her husband gave me the statue when she died years later.
I believe in reincarnation – that a spirit survives and can enter another body. When I hear Liberty Mountain “impersonate” Elvis I get goose bumps all over my body. I truly believe that somehow he connects spiritually and physically to Elvis. So the answer to which one is better is “neither” I would say they are one and the same.
You must get through an awful lot of cutlery. Have you ever tried using chopsticks?
P Dallanegra, Swindon
Because my wife suffered so many bent spoons and forks throughout our marriage, we had to get a set of cutlery, which is almost unbendable, specially made for us in Switzerland. Waiters often come up to me in restaurants and say, “Mr Geller, we can’t afford you using our cutlery – would you mind using chopsticks?” I’ve even been given chopsticks in Italian restaurants.
If you could do one feat , anything at all – what would it be?
Angie Dent, Coventry
It would have to be levitation, which I have tried a million times but never achieve. That is why I wrote Ella, my second novel, about a 14-year-old girl who levitates. I could only create it in fiction.
I saw you on QVC recently selling magic power stones that claimed to “turn lives around”. Do you ever feel you’ve had your moment?
Elliot Saunders, Cambridge
Not at all. If I can create a beautiful, sparkling line of jewellery, is there a law that forbids me to do so? My crystal rock jewellery is a tremendous hit, it sold out in 40 minutes. The presenter of QVC only asked me to tap dance for the remaining time because we had nothing to talk about once all the jewellery had gone.
Motivational Inspirational Speaker
Motivational, inspirational, empowering compelling 'infotainment' which leaves the audience amazed, mesmerized, motivated, enthusiastic, revitalised and with a much improved positive mental attitude, state of mind & self-belief.
"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
"There is no spoon!"
"The world needs your amazing talents. I need them"
"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
"The Geller Effect is one of those "para" phenomena which changed the world of phusics. What the most outstanding physicists of the last decades of this country colud grasp only as theoretical implication, Uri brought as fact into everyday life.."
Dr. Walter A. Frank. Bonn University - Germany
"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"