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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