THE STANFORD Research Institute tests led to some important conclusions, which were to be announced to the public at a colloquium sponsored by the Columbia University Department of Physics in March 1973. SRI was preparing a report to the colloquium. Among the data to be presented was evidence of my success in hidden object experiments, against odds of a trillion to one; and of my ability to influence a gram weight to weigh more, then weigh less, when measured with precision lab instruments.
SRI’s most important findings for the Columbia meeting were: “As a result of Geller’s success in this experimental period, we consider that he has demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner.” And this: “We have observed certain phenomena . . . for which we have no scientific explanation. All we can say at this point is that further investigation is clearly warranted. Our work is only in the preliminary stages.”
For conservative scientists these were startling statements. I myself soft-pedaled the results, because I started sensing that Nature would be cautious about publishing the results in spite of the presentation at Columbia. Even if nothing was published, I had SRI’s reaction, and knew I had to keep going. But I was also happy deep down that I could succeed with scientists under controlled conditions.
I had succeeded. It was real. Scientists could see that it was real. No chemicals, no laser beam, no sleight of hand. And there was more to it than just bending keys, telepathy, and starting up watches. I was now convinced that the phenomena were symbols, clues from enormous intelligences that seemed to be revealing themselves through the tapes, through the materializing and dematerializing objects, and through living things. There was also evidence coming through about UFOs and spacecraft.
Neither Russ Targ nor Hal Puthoff knew what to think about the UFO picture I had taken on the Lufthansa plane or about the voices on the tapes. They had their hands full testing the material that could be repeated over and over again in the lab. They didn’t want to get into speculation. Even if they had wanted to explore the voices, they couldn’t have gotten far, because the tapes had dematerialized or had erased themselves.
It was still hard for me to accept those voices. But Shipi, Melanie, Solveig, Byron, and Maria, as well as Andrija and I, all heard them at one time or another. I can guarantee that none of them is a psychotic or fantastic liar. We were not deluded or imagining or kidding ourselves. Most of us saw the tapes dematerialize right in front of us after hearing them, or found them automatically erased after hearing a message. What scientist or layman would believe that? I wouldn’t, if somebody just told me about it. I would have to have the evidence in front of me. And a name like “Spectra” makes the whole thing sound like bad fiction. But it was heard clearly on the tapes.
And yet the tapes bring with them a tremendous message to the world, even though they do sound like science fiction. For instance, a portion of one of the tapes made approximately this statement to Andrija in 1973:
You see, the procedure is this. We accept the thesis that we are here and that we want these things done, we can do them through you. You also have to struggle – we have also to struggle. Supposing all healthy biologic events surround the birth of a child. It will take nine months and it will take mating. The greatest of men are not born in an instant. All the birth pangs that any other mother would undergo, their mothers had to undergo, too. But the point is this: Supposing tonight I sit down here – which is perfectly possible – I can sit here for an hour and tell you what is going to happen to the minutest detail – how often you are going to sneeze, how often you will sit – that can be done, but that is not the way to do it. What you are doing is just the right thing. Struggling a little, getting creative imagination into exertion, awaiting a certain little point for guidance….
We have to look upon this as a long-term contract between you and us. Your cooperation is so urgently needed. If we develop these techniques, we shall have taken long strides: Indicate the formula and the method. But we understand how rich labor, application, patience it involves to get into operative forces. So our plans are definite. We feel that you must put in some real effort. We shall cooperate, but your will has to exert itself.
Or sometimes the voice would talk more about theoretical matters, like this one in 1973:
The ultimate powers, whether on the particle level or the cosmic level, are in rotation and drawing off the gravitation power from the center of the system. There are special rays . . . where the skin of the envelope of the cosmic rays is utilized for power. The computerized beings in space vehicles draw on this energy. This rotation energy can be used from outside the galaxy. It does not exist in a usable form at the particle level. The computerized beings are under the direction of the “controller,” or what earth man calls God, or gods. In the future, this general idea would be formulated in rigorous mathematical language.
Is it hard for a reader to believe that all this and much more actually came through on a cassette tape recorder that automatically activated itself? Of course it is. But it is part of the story and can’t be ignored. The voices are also a clue to the source of the energies that flow through me, energies that are directly confirmed in the physics labs.
Andrija has recorded much more than these brief portions in his book Uri. Many of the other tapes affirm for me the existence of God, although I believe that anyway, tapes or no tapes. Some of them describe the vastness of a universe that never ends. Some emphasize the importance of the free will of the human individual. Some talk about previous explorations of the earth by spacecraft and predict another large spacecraft probe of the earth in the near future. Not an invasion, just a contact. Some indicate that the owners of the voices have been observing the earth because all the universe is interrelated, and every small event affects everything else. On this subject, the tapes stated that they were out to stop the earth from destroying itself.
I don’t know whether these voices are beings or cosmic computers. I do think they are intelligences of some kind. They were so persistent that I have come to accept what they said, because – at the same time – actual, down-to-earth, material things were taking place while the scientists were studying the energy forces.
All this, as well as my own instincts, was pushing me to go beyond the scientific tests and continue to make the energy forces known to the masses of people, if only to show them the small but unbelievable symbols found in the bending of a key or other phenomena. I think the symbols might suggest that we’re on the edge of big discoveries of new energies, new intelligences, and new contact with other forces or superior beings in the universe, which will help us join together instead of tearing ourselves apart. It isn’t all that illogical. I think every astronomer today accepts the theory that there are millions of other planets with the high probability of intelligent life on them.
Time magazine was still pushing for more information as the time for the Columbia University meeting got nearer. Andrija and I agreed to go to their offices for an interview. Neither of us liked the idea, because it looked to us, from what we had heard, that Jaroff, the senior editor on the project, was skeptical almost to the point of hysteria.
Our hunch was right. At Time, the atmosphere was hostile and negative. There was no sign at all of honest skepticism. There were a couple of magicians there, and one of them brought up the fact that I had appeared in Germany on the same stage with magicians. The atmosphere was not at all good for any kind of demonstration, but I did some and they worked, including the bending of a key and fork supplied by the editors. Andrija remarked after we left that the entire meeting had the atmosphere of a lynch party.
I was very down when we left the Time offices. It was less easy to sense what they were going to write, and the atmosphere at the meeting confirmed that the rumors we heard were true. The article appeared under the heading “The Magician and the Think Tank” in the March 12, 1973, issue, just about the same time that the SRI results were presented at the Columbia University colloquium.
It was a strange conjunction of events. The Time article was vicious, filled with outright falsehoods and innuendoes. Without even knowing what the SRI conclusions were, the writers tried to make it appear that I had pulled the wool over the scientists’ eyes with a series of tricks. They always seemed to want to do this – to make it appear that I was more clever than a whole group of top scientists. If I were, I would have to be a lot more brilliant than I am.
But at the same time that the Time story appeared, the results presented at Columbia confirmed the authenticity of the tests under controlled laboratory conditions. Newsweek covered the colloquium with a cautious but fair article that said the evidence showed the need for serious follow-up study. My confidence that Nature would eventually accept the paper that Targ and Puthoff were preparing began to grow.
So it was a mixed reaction. Actually the Time story started my name circulating around, and I got invitations to appear on some of the top TV talk shows in the United States.
Jack Paar was the first. It was my first big television appearance in America, and I was really excited about it. It went fantastically well, the demonstrations worked, and the appearance helped set up some of the lecture-demonstrations at colleges that Yasha and Werner were working on.
I was pleased when I was invited on the Johnny Carson show, because I knew he commands a huge audience. I wanted very much for things to go well, and because of that I was unusually tense and nervous. Nothing seemed to work at first, although a spoon did bend as Ricardo Montalban held it, and I was uncomfortable because they were hurrying me along. Very little happened on that show, and I felt terrible. I’ll never forget it. Millions of people were watching, and I had to pretend that I was happy and smiling. Inside I felt this awful depression.
It was terribly embarrassing. The funny thing was that after the show, backstage, things really started happening. A medal disappeared and reappeared, objects flew around the room, everyone was astounded.
On the other hand, I was on the Merv Griffin show twice, and each time it went beautifully. Rings broke in half, the telepathy worked. With Mike Wallace on “Sixty Minutes” the results were good in spite of his skepticism. The Carson show was the only failure, perhaps because I wanted so much to succeed.
Meanwhile, I was getting restless living at Andrija’s place out in Ossining, even though it was beautiful. I have always liked to be active, and I felt the strain of being hemmed in. I wanted to meet more people. I liked the excitement of New York and wanted to live in the city. Yasha and Werner had set up an office in their apartment there, and it had enough room for Shipi and me.
Andrija was beginning at that time to write his book on our experiences. We had our fights and our differences, sometimes quite intense. But I loved Andrija, and I still do. He is like a father to me. But there comes a time when the son grows away from the father, and this happened with us. We agreed that, even under these strange conditions, he could not possess me and I couldn’t possess him. I wanted to work for myself, to think for myself, to grow up, and to advance alone.
I told Andrija this, and he agreed. I said I wanted to test myself, at least for awhile. When I moved into New York to stay with Yasha and Werner, I felt a new independence and a new sense of security. I began to understand that, no matter what happened, some people would always be against the idea of the powers, and nothing I said or did would change their minds. This situation would continue until the scientists confirmed that the forces were real. But I was learning. I began to see that even critical articles served a useful purpose, because the detractors were offering publicity to me and keeping the events much in the public eye.
Meanwhile, I was doing follow-up experiments at SRI and making the rounds on a lecture tour of colleges and universities. I visited Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Kent State, Bowling Green, North Carolina, and many other schools. The student audiences were alive, enthusiastic, and open-minded. They wanted things to happen.
While I was in Hollywood for the Carson show, Maria Janis asked her old friends Jimmy and Gloria Stewart if they wanted to meet me. I went to the Stewarts’ house with Byron and Maria for drinks early one evening. Jimmy asked me to bend a key for him, which I did. Then he took us down the lawn to his garden, quite a way from the house. Suddenly we all heard a loud thud, like something heavy falling on the grass. Maria ran in the direction of the sound, about 20 feet away, and came back carrying a stone carving of a hippopotamus, about 5 inches long. Both the Stewarts recognized it as an artifact from a shelf in their library. Their two golden retriever dogs kept jumping up and sniffing at the statuette and continued to behave excitedly after it was put into a tool shed at one end of the garden. They stood there, pointing at it, until we went back to the house. Many other startling events took place with other famous people.
It seemed that phenomena would often happen when I was with Maria and Byron. They were always sympathetic to the whole possibility of life in other worlds. Maria’s beautiful abstract paintings, which are shown in galleries in many countries, reflect the endlessness of the galaxies and stars. I have always felt since meeting her that a big part of her soul and body and mind belong on higher levels. Byron’s music affected me the same way. When he plays the piano, whether it’s Chopin or Rachmaninoff, he seems to carry the music far beyond the keyboard or even the composer.
The same strange things would constantly happen with the staff who worked with me in lining up the details of the tours and lectures, the motion picture that was brewing, and the album being planned. Shipi, Melanie, Solveig, Yasha, Werner, my lawyer Larry Lighter, and Trina Vatter, who joined us later – not one of them was interested in only the business side. Each was intrigued by the mystery of these forces, and nearly every day at least one of these friends was part of the strange events that seemed to be increasing instead of decreasing as time went on.
Each of them feels that experiencing the phenomena has changed his life – especially Shipi, who has always been all over the place, handling details, following them up, keeping things running smoothly. I have never forgotten that, if it weren’t for Shipi, I would probably still be a clerk with an export company. He was the one who kicked me in the tail and told me to get out and show people what was going on.
The rest of the group worked as hard as Shipi, because, I guess, they all believed that the new energies, the new forces, were more important than what could be shown on the television screen or on the lecture platform, what could be discovered in the science labs. What happened in those places would happen every day in our office.
Can you imagine your shock if during the week a glass suddenly jumped off a desk at your office and landed on the floor without breaking? If a light switch clicked off by itself and then clicked on again, with no one near it? If the head of a spoon just broke off when you were sitting at your desk and stirring a cup of coffee? If your office clock jumped ahead a few hours? If a paperweight lifted off your desk, disappeared, and then instantly rolled over in the far corner of the room? If a priceless Chopin manuscript vanished in front of your eyes, as happened to Byron, and showed up inside a newspaper soon after? If a cigarette lighter disappeared from one office and reappeared in another, with all the doors in between closed?
This happens all the time, day after day, among us. There is no accounting for these appearances, and we simply had to grow used to them. I tried to analyze why I was being pushed from inside my mind to communicate with as many people as I could, whether on TV or in a lecture hall, or through an album, a motion picture, or a book. I guess my inner feeling, my inner voice, will tell me when to stop. In the meantime, I am compelled to let people know more, to educate them somehow.
There are others I’m very close to, so much so that we all feel part of each other. We are all of different religions and backgrounds, but we all believe in one God. Bob Williamson, who managed the Hyatt Hotel near SRI, became a close friend, and we are in touch with each other constantly. Dr. Louis Shenkman, on the Bellevue Hospital staff, and his wife, Edna, have made me feel I’m part of their family. I don’t have to demonstrate to friends and associates to convince them that the powers exist, yet whenever I’m with them the most extraordinary things take place. For instance, I was in the Shenkman apartment overlooking the Hudson River when I decided to try out a Polaroid camera I had just bought.
There was nothing at all visible in the sky above their balcony except a nice view of the New York skyline. I pointed the camera nowhere in particular and clicked the shutter. The Polaroid print I developed a minute later showed a well-defined UFO in the sky.
How can things like this be explained? As isolated events, they could be considered freaks or accidents of nature. But when they become part of a pattern that goes on and on, practically every day in the year, there is no way they can be dismissed, especially when the effects are being confirmed by several scientists in different parts of the world.
As 1973 went on, the list of confirmed tests, often with scientists present, was growing, albeit in less formal situations than at Stanford. In a demonstration, I had cracked a gold ring for Andrija, who sent it to Professor William Tiller of Stanford University. He had it analyzed by the Stanford Department of Metallurgy. They used a scanning electron microscope. The break was not at all similar to the normal kind of fracture. They tried but couldn’t duplicate it. What they saw under the microscope, they said, “sheds little light on why the ring failed.” I had touched the ring only lightly.
Eldon Byrd, a physicist from the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, performed one of the most interesting tests.
The lab was working with a new metal called Nitinol, which has a strange property. If Nitinol is bent by hand and then put in hot water, it springs back to its original shape so quickly that it almost jumps out of the water. I bent a piece by stroking it lightly. It continued bending after I stopped, to a right angle. Byrd was surprised, because the metal usually bends in an arc. But the biggest shock was to follow. He placed the bent Nitinol in hot water, and it immediately curled up in a manner exactly opposite to the property the metal had always shown. The test was run over and over again, with the same results. They are still studying what happened to search for the reason.
Experiments with “psychic photos” continued. I did them with several leading photographers. In each case, I took a picture of myself through a solid lens cap tightly taped on the camera. In nearly every case there would be at least one image on a roll of their own film.
Movie films recorded the end of a fork breaking off with light pressure. The Modern Churchman published a series of tests on metal-bending conducted by Dr. Ted Bastin of Cambridge University. The Kent State University Department of Physics issued a scientific paper by Wilbur Franklin and Edgar Mitchell on metal I had fractured; again, a scanning electron microscope had been used to examine the peculiar way the metal broke. The report concluded that the “Geller Effect” was new and unexplainable and that there was definitely a connection between physics and ESP.
Momentum continued to build fast in 1973. Newspapers and magazines joined the broadcast media in reporting on what I was doing: not just Time and Newsweek, but Business Week, Science (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science), Paris Match, Stern, Spiegel, Physics Today. Today’s Health (an AMA publication); Human Behavior, Psychology Today, New York Times Magazine, Technology Today (MIT’s publication), and scores of others everywhere, to say nothing of the leading newspapers and the scientific journals all over the world. Many of the magazine articles were cover stories.
The most important part to me was that the coverage in the media helped prod scientists into giving the forces serious consideration. Science had to react, and I was glad that it did, now that I was rid of my fear of it.
By the fall of 1973, I knew that the energies would eventually be validated by science, even though it would take some time for science as a whole to accept them. The scientists had to be cautious and could take only one small portion of the “Geller Effect” at a time. For instance, the first SRI paper concentrated only on the telepathy part of the phenomena, even though all kinds of effects with metals and instruments had shown themselves. And it took months before the paper was finally published in Nature. The University of London tests at both Birkbeck and Kings colleges concentrated on the metals and instrument experiments, and it would be a long time lag before their papers would appear in scientific publications.
Important as all the scientific confirmation was, it wasn’t the whole story. The whole weird experience with mechanical voices on tapes, the links with the UFO appearances, the photographs of them, the unexpected materialization and dematerialization of objects – these could not be controlled and brought into the laboratory. Scientific verification of the controlled tests could do no more than suggest that the other fantastic, incredible, unearthly phenomena were not as insane as they sounded. In addition, documented facts resulting from TV demonstrations all through Europe and from the playing of my album on the air would soon show that these powers could be triggered in other people all over the world.
This was, of course, the most mind-blowing thing of all, because it meant that the unknown energies were being transferred to others, who could in turn be examined in the laboratory under repeatable conditions.
So there is no question in my mind that the earth is on the verge of discovering a whole new power, a real and unquestionable power that goes far beyond me or Andrija or Shipi, who helped bring it out, or the scientists who are brave enough to test it at the risk of being ridiculed. That’s why it seems important to bring the word to people everywhere, so that it can be accepted and all of us in the world can put it to good use. I am convinced that it is a power only for the good of man and the earth. I do not think – and maybe I’m naive about this – the intelligences, as awesome as they are, creating these energies will permit them to be used for harm.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, of all the strange things that have happened to me since that day in the Arabian garden was so dramatic and awe-inspiring as what happened to me on the late afternoon of Friday, November 9, 1973.
As I tell it in all its detail, I may have to ask you to suspend your disbelief, as I have had to do.
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