The Mind-bending Spoon-bending Controversy President’s Piece for ASSAP October 3rd, 2003
Radio and TV work takes you into interesting places and connects you with even more interesting people. Working on a fascinating haunted site in Stonegate in York recently, I had the great pleasure of filming with Uri Geller. We were lunching together in a pleasant but perfectly normal café half way through the day’s investigating when Uri asked me – as President of ASSAP, and a professional investigator with forty years’ experience – if I’d like to test his spoon-bending powers. Do sharks eat meat? Of what happened next I am absolutely certain: and forty years of investigating the anomalous and the paranormal leaves a lot of cynical and sceptical scars on your mind! I was not distracted for even a split second and I watched Uri like a hawk the whole time as he picked up a spoon at random from the restaurant table. No more than a metre from my unwavering gaze, he stroked it as gently as an appreciative gardener strokes the petals of a rose. Within 10 seconds, with absolutely no undue pressure, and definitely with no substitution by sleight of hand, that spoon bent suddenly and silently as I watched it. It was the closest I’ve yet come to observing genuine magic. Uri smiled, signed it and gave it to me – one of us owes the restaurant the price of a spoon! The spoon’s in my china cabinet in the lounge as I write.
Later, during another break in filming in the haunted house that we were investigating together, Uri asked if we could do a telepathy experiment. Being an old hand at that game, I took care to hold the pad I was drawing on in such a way that my hand movements couldn’t be watched and used as clues to the symbol I was drawing. When I’d sketched something, Uri asked me to concentrate on it mentally as though it was an image on a TV screen, while looking into his eyes. I did. He drew the identical image – approximately the same size – and showed it to me.
Naturally, as open-minded, objective investigators, we’ve looked into the techniques that expert professional conjurers use to replicate what looks like spoon-bending. Uri didn’t do any of that.
I also teach a lot of science and lecture at science festivals: close observation tells me that something inexplicable happened to the molecules in the handle of that spoon. Spoon-bending and the phenomena associated with it would make a great long-term, in depth ASSAP investigation – and so would Uri’s telepathy.
Warmest wishes to all our friends and colleagues in ASSAP.
President and Lady One
(Lionel & Patricia)
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"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"