I WAS WELL aware that the European events were not happening under the controlled testing needed by scientists to verify whatever forces were at work. And yet the happenings were later going to suggest to some scientists a way of approaching the “Geller Effect.” When thousands of other people, and not just me alone, were involved, there would be other checkpoints for researchers to work on, to compare and measure, and to follow up with the controlled conditions they, as scientists, needed. Even if the broadcasts just triggered the forces in other people temporarily, they provided a chance for the scientists to carry their studies beyond me and to satisfy themselves that the “Geller Effect” was not just some kind of trickery they were being skillfully fooled with.
On the way to Denmark, I tried to analyze the spreading of the effect. A theory began coming to my mind that I still haven’t developed as far as I’d like. I was becoming convinced that everybody has some kind of hidden power deep inside him, and that it could be brought out in three possible ways: (1) psychologically, maybe by suggestion, (2) by actually seeing a demonstration of such power, or even by just hearing it described (as happened in the case of Texas and the BBC radio show), or (3) simply by developing a full belief in it.
I thought that many things might be able to trigger phenomena like those I was demonstrating. In adults, the power seemed to last only a short time. But children, I felt deep inside, could be stronger in reflecting these forces because they haven’t accepted the negative attitudes that all of us pick up in life.
While the powers may be hidden in all of us, there has to be what you might call a cosmic connection that can be tuned in to. The main key, I think, is believing. It works like an ignition key to open up these energies in the body. Seeing or hearing about these unusual possibilities can establish, I think, a direct channel to this cosmic connection. I think that very few people go so far, of course. But when the belief is strong, a person might be able to click on to it.
I don’t mean this in any arrogant way, but I believe that I’m tuned in to what I call the cosmic connection all the time. Why, I don’t know. But because I’m in touch and cling to it, it gives me the opportunity to pass it on to others, even if only for brief moments. So when I go on a television program or give a lecture-demonstration, it’s a good way for me to connect with other people and help them make the connection with the forces outside ourselves. It’s like exploring a whole new world. and it’s very exciting.
There were to be three panelists on the air with me at the Danish television studio in Copenhagen. One was the head of the Watchmaker’s Guild; another was a psychologist; a third was introduced as a businessman, but later I discovered that he was a skilled Danish magician named Leo Leslie.
What I didn’t know and didn’t learn until later was that Leslie had gone through elaborate preparations in an attempt to throw me off. First, he had obtained a chemical called mercury bichloride, which is supposed to soften metals. His idea was to bend a key on the program with the chemical in a way that would match the way the keys bent when I concentrated on them.
In addition, he had arranged with the director for one camera to focus on my hands and never to leave them for even a fraction of a second. Further, he had the watch expert deliver five alarm clocks that were so tricked up that they couldn’t start up under any conditions. In one, they placed a piece of cement; another was soaked with salad oil; a third was jammed with a paper clip, and so on.
Leslie had also prepared several nails and keys by nickel-plating them so that if I used a chemical – which I never do – the objects would resist it. There were other preparations as well, and I knew about none of them. I also found out when I arrived that the program was to include a very frank discussion of sex, which I didn’t want to be involved in – not that I’m against sex, but it had nothing to do with the type of demonstration I was going to do and probably would detract from it. They agreed to separate that segment of the program from mine. I have to admit I was tempted when they challenged me to concentrate on the bra of one of the girls in the studio, which was held up by metal clips. She was gorgeous and beautifully built. Werner Schmid immediately said no to the idea and reminded me that the prank would be bad for my image. But I often wonder what would have happened if I had done that on the air. The Danes are very liberal, and it would have been interesting.
I was to appear with the panel on two segments of the show, with an intermission in between The show began, and they brought out the jammed-up clocks that couldn’t run. Of course I knew nothing about what Leslie had had done to them, and I concentrated on them as usual, at the same time suggesting to the viewers throughout the country that they concentrate on their own watches or keys or whatever at home.
As I tried, nothing at all happened to the clocks in the studio. I was surprised, because certainly some of the five clocks should have started running. It was an embarrassing moment for me, as it appeared that I had failed completely. It made me uncomfortable. It’s an awful feeling to sit in front of a TV camera knowing that millions of people are watching you fail.
I had better luck with the metals they had brought, because the energies have nothing to do with any chemicals or nickel plating. I felt very let down, though, still not knowing what was wrong with the clocks.
At the intermission, while the other part of the program was on the air, I went into another studio with the panel. While we were alone there, I demonstrated several things for them, and they began to lose their skepticism. Meanwhile, the TV people told me that the switchboard was being flooded again with phone calls reporting the same kinds of things that had happened in England, Norway, and elsewhere on the tour even though the clocks had not started. As before, the switchboard couldn’t handle all the calls. I began to feel a little better, and then Leo Leslie confessed what they had done to try to throw me off.
Skeptics in Austria had tried to block me once before. But when they told me they had used various tricks to block the movements in watches and clocks, I applied extra concentration and effort, and the timepieces began to work in some cases anyway. I told Leslie he should have let me know what he had done, but it was too late now to do anything about it because we only had a few minutes on the second segment. When we came back on the air, the psychologist, the watchmaker, and Leslie told the audience what they had done, and what had happened during the intermission. The panel told the viewers they were completely convinced that my achievement was not the result of illusion or magician’s tricks, and we all had a good laugh about it. Meanwhile, the phone calls were still coming in from all over Denmark. So in spite of the tricks played with the timepieces, the program was as successful as in the other countries.
Leo Leslie told me that he had tried the mercury bichloride to bend keys and spoons and other metals, but that it was utterly unable to produce the same type of bending effect, so they threw out that idea before the program went on the air. It worked partially on aluminum, but how many keys are made of aluminum? He also told me that my hands were never outside the range of the TV camera especially set up to stay on them. Later, Leo Leslie was to write of this experience in a book. Even though he was a magician, he became one of my strongest supporters.
The Danish newspapers were as extravagant as the newspapers elsewhere. They described in detail the strange happenings all across Denmark, and one of them, the Berlingske Tidende, wrote: “Now the doubters and the skeptics are beginning to give up. It has been clearly indicated that Uri Geller has talents which must be described as the greatest revolution in the history of man.” With words like these, I would have to watch my hat size, but I doubted that the doubters and the skeptics would give up so easily. Also, I always keep in mind that the forces or energies are not really mine; they are just on loan from the cosmic forces that have been sending them my way.
Just before I left Denmark and headed back to England, a leading Danish magazine, the Billed Bladet, asked me if I’d try an experiment with them like the one I had done from Paris to England: I would concentrate at a certain time, and the magazine would ask its readers to do the same.
I was very interested in this type of long-distance test, because if it worked it would back up the test that had been done across the English Channel from France. It would give a better idea of how widely the energies could operate, and I hoped it would increase the interest of scientists in learning more about them. If people all over a country would continue to give strong evidence that the forces could spread out over long distances, science just couldn’t afford to ignore it, as the editorial in Nature had suggested.
Of course, I had no way of knowing whether it would work or not. I knew my critics would all say that it was a commercial promotion for the Danish magazine and for my future lecture tours. Well, it was. There was no doubt about it. If it worked, it would be good for the magazine, and it certainly would help my future lecture tours, and I’m not against that at all. But there was nothing tricky about it; it was perfectly above-board in every way. We set a time for representatives of the magazine to be with me in London, when I would concentrate on their readers, while the magazine readers would concentrate on broken watches and metal objects in their houses in Denmark.
When I got to London I planned to stay with friends in an apartment in a quiet residential area. By this time, the press was constantly following me everywhere, and it seemed I couldn’t get a minute of peace and quiet for myself. I tried wearing dark glasses, but they always managed to spot me. They traced me to my friend’s apartment and waited outside. One time, I had to go to another part of town, and I knew it would be impossible to slip away without their following me. We peeked out through the curtains, and the house was practically surrounded. My best friend, Shipi Shtrang, and Yasha Katz, who along with Werner Schmid were handling all the details of an eight-city lecture-demonstration tour in England, were with me. We decided they would pull coats over their heads, run to the large Land Rover outside, and drive off fast. We hoped the press would follow them while I slipped off. Shipi was photographed in dark glasses and was mistaken for me. It worked, and the next day the press told all about my “vanishing trick.”
There were more serious reasons for me to stay as much out of sight as possible. We had received several threats on my life in the past, believed to be from an Arab terrorist group. We had to keep an alert watch on the mail. Werner Schmid had received another threat by phone the day we arrived in England from Denmark.
I constantly hope for peace, and in fact I’ve had a dream of being the first Israeli to give a lecture-demonstration in Egypt. I know instinctively that whatever forces or intelligences exist would never be able to be used for war. But there have been many jokes in this vein. One cartoon in a European paper showed two tanks locked together and tied in knots around each other. A commander is saying to his opponent: “No-you bend it back.” Another showed a plane with its fuselage bent in half, and the pilot is saying to the copilot: “So I said to this guy Geller, okay, smarty-pants, what else can you do besides bending spoons?”
It’s probably all to the good that the energies can’t work in a negative direction. I have been through war as a paratrooper, and I know its horrors. I was wounded in both arms and my forehead while raiding a pillbox in the 1967 Six Day War. After being wounded, I entertained the troops in the front lines. But there was a controlling force somewhere that didn’t want these powers to be used for any purpose but peace, and never to harm anyone, apparently.
This latest threat sounded serious, and we immediately had a meeting to discuss what we were going to do about the eight-city tour. Werner Schmid got in touch with Scotland Yard, which immediately sent several men to us. A decision was made to move to a large hotel in London where security guards were set up while we tried to figure out what to do in the face of the threats. Both the entrance and the halls of the hotel were guarded.
Since the Danish correspondents, Torben Dahlvad and Ulla Ave. had arrived to observe the tests we had promised, we notified them of our change of address. They arrived while we were trying to decide about going on with the English tour or not. They were going to monitor the long-distance test and take some photos of it at the prescribed time, which was 1:00 P.M. Danish time on a Sunday.
We set up for the test in the hotel room just as if it were going to be a television program. I was looking forward to it, not only because I was curious to see if the same things would happen again, but also because it was something to take our minds off the threats for a while, and the fact that we had to have security guards from Scotland Yard all over the place.
The Danish correspondents had brought with them from Denmark several broken watches and a big collection of knives, forks, spoons, and keys. They were all placed on a table, and I sat down at it and got ready to concentrate. I knew I would have to concentrate strongly if the test was to work at such a distance. At exactly noon British time, which was 1:00 P.M. Danish time, I began concentrating. I picked up one of the broken watches and squeezed it hard. Then I placed it lightly back on the table, and it began ticking away. I did the same with two other watches, at the same time sending my thoughts toward Denmark.
For some reason I don’t understand, I can tell when the energy is high, and on this day it felt very high. After the third watch on the table started up quickly, I told the Danish journalists that I was convinced it was going to work, and already thousands of broken watches were beginning to run again in Denmark. Then, turning my attention to the forks and spoons on the table, I placed my hands over several of them. They soon began bending. A knife and a fork broke in two, one of them with a very loud crack. The Danish reporters and the Scotland Yard men were really startled by this. One of the reporters gave me the key to the main door of the magazine’s office building. It bent quickly.
After about ten minutes, I told them that it was going to be very successful – fantastic, in fact. I had no sooner said this than the phone rang. It was the first report from the magazine office in Copenhagen. Its switchboard was already jammed with phone calls from readers, telling the magazine about things happening in their homes. In a matter of minutes, there was more phone traffic than it could handle. I was really happy, in spite of all the problems in England, with threats still coming in on the phone.
I put the success of the Danish experiment out of my mind, as Yasha, Shipi, Werner, and I tried to come to a decision about the British tour. It was a hard one to make. But the climate in England at that time was very tense. A department store executive active in Jewish charities had been shot in the street, and the terrorist group had published a list of twenty prominent English Jews who it said would be assassinated. I didn’t want to cancel, but Werner Schmid insisted that it would be too risky to go on with the tour.
It was some time later when the Danish magazine published the full report about what took place on that Sunday afternoon: 1,098 people phoned in, each describing fantastic experiences. One woman complained that nothing had happened when suddenly her metal glasses frames bent on her nose. Again, there were hundreds of reports about broken watches starting up. Lights went out in some homes or even began to blink on and off. A broken oil furnace suddenly started up. And remember, this was all without the benefit of radio or television – it was just me concentrating at the exact time that thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Danes concentrated with me.
So it was not all my energy, it was theirs as well. One fact suggested to me that the people reporting were not telling their stories just for publicity: The magazine received reports from many people who refused to reveal their identities. One woman whose old watch restarted told the magazine: “NO, I will not divulge who I am. I am still shaking from the experience.” Another left Denmark that Sunday to visit her grandmother in Sweden. She brought a copy of the magazine with her and an old gold watch that hadn’t run for years. She put it on top of the magazine, and it started going. So, apparently the test worked even outside the boundaries of Denmark. Mrs. R. Smith of Glostrup, Denmark, forgot all about the test at one that Sunday afternoon, but an old alarm clock that she had put on a copy of Billed-Bladet started up anyway.
But the most startling occurrence was one I hadn’t expected at all. A telephone call came into the magazine office in Copenhagen from a little island called Oro, in Holbeck Fjord. A seventy-six-year-old woman, Elisabeth Sorensen, who had just become a great-grandmother, was visiting her son-in-law, C. V. Brunn, and her daughter there. The family decided just for fun to try concentrating on the magazine and get a few old watches running again. Suddenly, according to the phone call, Mrs. Sorensen found she could bend her knee for the first time in two years. Danish reporters went out to interview her and found that she had some kind of degenerative arthritis. Instead of concentrating on the broken watches, she had concentrated on her knee.
In this particular house, the watches did not start up, but to the surprise of her family, Mrs. Sorensen got upand began walking normally for the first time in twenty-four months. When the reporters arrived, the little island was still talking about the event.
I was very happy that Mrs. Sorensen seemed to feel better after the experience, but I have to repeat that, if her case was real, she herself was responsible, like those who concentrate on keys, spoons, and watches. I am far from being a mystical prophet, even though healing sometimes seems to be triggered when I concentrate. Sometimes I want to try to help people heal, and wish I could do better, but I know I’m not ready for healing yet. I do have a feeling, though, that such a day might possibly come, so I shouldn’t be so surprised when I get a report like the one from Denmark.
Also, if and when I reach the point where healing can be done on a regular basis, I would want to develop it fully in a controlled and organized way, and I would want to work with doctors. Especially to prevent raising false hopes in people, I would want to work with this kind of thing openly, and only under medical supervision, just the way I’m working now with scientists at Stanford Research Institute and the University of London in trying to understand just what these forces are, how they work, and what they eventually might be able to do for the world.
Healing, I feel, is another form of these undiscovered energies. Any kind of healing that involves a new force should be done not as a challenge to medicine, but with it. It is not something to be played around with. I’m convinced that I must not deliberately attempt any kind of healing until a lot more experiments have been done in cooperation with scientists on the things we are exploring now – telepathy, psychokinesis, and clairvoyance. Then the healing could be explored the same way, with medical scientists instead of physicists and psychologists. If the scientific studies continue to show the same steady progress in verifying these energies that they are showing now, I’m sure that the results will encourage medical men to lose their fears about exploring and testing things that have been considered unscientific.
I’m convinced that we all could be healers of our own bodies if we knew how to find the key to unlock these powers. Somewhere there may be some way to open up certain cells in the brain so that they could be directed into self-healing, if the process could be found. Doctors have told me that for the most part it is nature that does the healing. They do everything they can for emergencies and to help things along, but the body processes really do the final healing. I think that nature and God combine to help us do our own healings and that we will someday learn how to hurry this along. I know it sounds far-fetched, but I believe it may be possible in the future for machines or computers to be designed that will trigger the necessary immunology systems in the body to bring about self-healing. Once that is developed, we will make even greater progress in medicine. Being healthy, I am sure, is within us.
But I also believe that love is one of the keys to health. If you have love deep inside you, it becomes an incredible power. I think it’s the main key to curing things. A person in a hospital gets well much quicker when love is involved, but that is only a small part of what might be possible. I want to avoid giving anybody the impression that I think these healing energies are simple, easy, and
available without slow development and without combining them with modern science. That would be a big mistake. The experience with the Danish test was unintentional and might be only a hint, and it was interesting for that reason only. It’s a little bit like the reports you read of medical research in the laboratories, where they’ve had success with animal tests, hut the new discovery is not at all ready to try out on humans. If some benefits come by coincidence right now, that’s fine, but that’s as far as it should go at the moment. I want to be always aware of my limitations.
With the lecture-demonstration tour in England called off, I was able to get some rest in the United States and had some time to prepare to go on to Japan for some appearances in that country. It gave me a chance to think over where I was going and what all this meant to me and to the rest of the world. What had happened in both the distant and the recent past convinced me that there was a plan behind it all, though its outlines faded mysteriously from sight at times. What was to develop in the next several months, however, was as much a surprise to me as it was to the scientific world.
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