Max Christoffersen: The truth is out there

In this 1994 photo, once world-renowned psychic and spoon bender Uri Geller poses with his Cadillac and 5000 bent spoons.
In this 1994 photo, once world-renowned psychic and spoon bender Uri Geller poses with his Cadillac and 5000 bent spoons.

OPINION: The man sitting behind me was laughing out loud.

“How am I going to drive home,” he said in a voice full of bemusement.

I turned to look behind me to see what all the fuss was about. The man was waving his car key around for everyone to see. His car key was bent all right. I could see it. It was at about a 60-degree angle and it was bent because the man on the stage made it bend. The man had told it to bend and it had.

That man was world-renowned psychic and spoon bender Uri Geller. It was the night the mystical man from overseas who claimed to bend spoons and start clocks and watches all over Europe through the power of his mind visited Hamilton’s Founders Theatre. And I was there.

It was probably right at that moment that I became fascinated with the whole business of psychics and magic and the trickery of sleight of hand. I was all of 11 years old and fascinated by what I saw on TV with Uri Geller and the Amazing Kreskin.

I wanted to believe.

It was the 1970s. It was the era of psychic surgery in the Philippines where New Zealanders underwent life saving operations without a scalpel or scarring.

Medical quack Milan Brych became notorious in New Zealand for claimed cancer cures while other healers across the country wearing the colours of Christ, claimed miraculous healings.

And Hamilton, at least while Uri Geller was on stage, was caught up in it all. Meanwhile I was super-busy building model pyramids to see if I could get dad’s razor blades sharp. Because, well, that’s what Hamilton kids did in the new-age of the 1970s.

Later, on the same Founders Theatre stage, I also saw the Amazing Kreskin do his mentalist act based on his belief in the power of suggestion. In 2015, Kreskin predicted the Trump election, so maybe it was more than just the power of words after all.

Still, I wanted to believe.

If the 1970s was an era of fake healers and the gifts of god being bestowed on a chosen few who could relieve you of your pain and your money, it seems little has changed today.

It continues with the tale of Colin Meads and Te Kiri Gold, the magic water that cures all, including cancer apparently.

To read the claims made by proponents of the Te Kiri miracle water is so reminiscent of the past that it seems the 1970s golden age of miraculous psychic surgery and quackery cancer cures has returned.

Praise God or maybe Janola, because a big part of the magic elixir recipe of secret herbs and spices is apparently the way bleach manages to get into the skin and bones and kill off cancer cells.

But wait – there’s more; Te Kiri Gold’s website claims it’s an, “organic liquid, manufactured from the same ingredients and in a similar manner, to the way that your body creates your immune system components are.”

It’s an extraordinary claim made by the makers of the Te Kiri tonic who are farmers not scientists or medical researchers.

Health scams always have a get-out-of-jail-free-out clause: “Any claims of improvement in well-being, tumor [sic] reduction or cancer remission on this site are made by people whom have taken TKG and not by staff or shareholders of Te Kiri Gold.”

Adding to the modern day myth, a Te Kiri success story (no questions asked) goes a bit like this according to Te Kiri owner Vernon Coxhead: “A lady who had cervical cancer drank the water and was clear in 10 days. Another man with a melanoma on the top of his head was so bad you could see his skull. After drinking TKG for three weeks he came back, took his hat off – it was gone,” he said.

Which all sounds a bit like those New Zealand psychic surgery patients who had tumours removed while in the Philippines only to die from cancer weeks later or those travelling snake oil salesmen that can cure everything from baldness to gout.

The ready willingness to believe and not to remember medical scam history is what leads us to the 2017 equivalent of 1970s psychic surgery, a watery tonic worth billions, being created part-time on a farm in the Waikato.

Another modern health scam was the promotion of magnetic underlays for bedding. One sitting Hamilton city councillor should be embarrassed he was ever associated with it as the face and voice of TV advertorials promoting better health with magnets at work while you sleep.

Yes, it’s another health scam and always was.

Critical to the discovery of real health cures is correctly attributing cause and effect. Doing so may cure your gout or at least save you a walk home in the dark from the Founders Theatre after a Uri Geller show.

We all want to believe.

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“There is no spoon!”

The Matrix

“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”

Michael Jackson

“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)

“Absolutely amazing”

Mick Jagger

“Truly incredible”

Sir Elton John

“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”

Johnny Cash

“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.”

Clint Eastwood

“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”


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