The Uri Geller Effect. (Part 2)
Evaluation of the Authenticity and Evidentiality of the Reports on the Uri Geller Effect
When discussing the genuineness or authenticity of the Uri Geller Effect, we must remember that we are not concerned here with authenticity or genuineness of Mr. Uri Geller, the man, or his purported psychic ability. Thus, all the arguments levelled against Uri Geller, namely, that he is a magician, that he uses sleight of hand, misdirection, or that certain magicians claim that they can perform similar “tricks,” is irrelevant when evaluating the Uri Geller Effect. Uri Geller was never near the experient in a physical sense to influence directly the phenomena reported. The experiences were, however, indirectly associated with Uri Geller but they may have been merely triggered off by him. Furthermore, the power of suggestion may act as a triggering mechanism, the psychokinetic ability being within the experient. This would be analogous with the hypnotist and the hypnotized. Some of the reports would suggest that in certain instances this was the case (response to pre-recorded broadcasts).
In the evaluation of the reports that reached us, we soon reaised that our main problem is to assess the honesty and integrity of the “reporter” or “experient.”
Laura Dale (4) in discussing the evidentiality rating of “spontaneous” cases, quotes J. Fraser Nicol as stating that top-quality cases, which would be graded as A cases, must meet three minimal criteria:
1. That the experience be veridical, i.e., that it relate to an actual event that was occurring, had occurred, or would occur.
2. That there be an independent witness who would testify that recipient related his experience to him before he came to know by normal means that the experience had been veridical.
3. That not more than five years have passed before the experience and a written account of it.
From the above it became clear to us that the first and last criteria were met by all our cases. That is to say, all presented a definite physical event and were reported to us within weeks or months of their occurrence. None longer than five months.
The second criterion does not apply to the Uri Geller Effect reports, as none of the experients could possibly know, and hence relate, the possibility of their psychokinetic experience to an independent witness before it actually happened.
What remains to be assessed, therefore, is the quality, the honesty, and the integrity of the experient in the case of adults, or the writer of the report (usually a parent) in the case of children. In each case we have asked for corroborative evidence by witnesses. In many cases we have such corroborative statements. However, in many instances, no witnesses were present. Take the instance when a key bent in a person’s pocket or by the bedside lamp following on Uri Geller’s broadcast and the person lived alone and hence there could not be any witnesses.
In an effort to remedy this situation, I, with the assistance of two of my colleagues, read and reread each case. Those that we felt were vague or fragmentary, or were irrelevant or not referring to the Uri Geller Effect, we excluded from this series. I reaise the inadequacy of such an assessment and I also reaise that such reports are not conclusively evidential of the existence of a paranormal phenomenon. The reports’ value, however, lies in their stimulating others to continue collecting and reporting such experiences. Various patterns and characteristics may become apparent, and conditions under which they occur may be identified. It is the volume and the quality of these reports that will ultimately shed more light on these phenomena, which in my mind are genuine and of tremendous importance in parapsychological research.
Analysis of Questionnaires and Case Reports
As no previous similar investigation was ever undertaken on this effect, I had no guidelines to follow. The present investigation has some similarities with various analyses of spontaneous cases as reported by Henry Sidgwick (12) and others in the Census of Hallucinations, 1894, or in the book written by Louisa E. Rhine, (10) Hidden Channels of the Mind, and her various articles in the Journal of Parapsychology; and by Celia Green (6) in the Proceedings of the Society of Psychical Research (November 1960), where she reported her analyses of 300 spontaneous cases that were collected over a period of a number of years. This followed the conference on spontaneous cases, which initiated a project undertaken by the American and British Societies of Psychical Research.
However, their methods and classifications were not quite applicable to our material and hence I attempted to devise my own method of analysis. I fully reaise the shortcomings of an analysis of questionnaires and case reports. Nevertheless, I hope that future researchers will find this analysis useful and will greatly improve and enlarge on this method in the future.
I was very fortunate in obtaining the assistance of Mr. John Shochot, senior lecturer of the Department for Applied Mathematics of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, who, after discussing the aims and purpose of this analysis, proceeded to write a computer program for it. The data were collected from questionnaires, reports, and letters, and were recorded on the “take-on” forms according to Mr. Shochot’s instructions. The coding was performed by two psychologists, Mrs. H. Pienaar and Mrs. J. Nestel. The analysis of the data was done as follows: The first card was not used, except for reference. The data on the second card is being stored on magnetic discs for future reference. A program was written in FORTRAN for running on an IBM 370 computer and this program was used to count and calculate the percentage of the various results, e.g., the absolute number of people reporting within an age group and the percentage of people within the age group, etc. The data are being kept for future reference.
Results of the Analysis
One hundred and forty-four individuals sent us written and signed reports of their experiences. One hundred and thirty-seven questionnaires were analyzed. A total of 183 experiences were reported, some individuals having reported more than one experience. The analysis was made on the 137 questionnaires. The specimen questionnaire will be seen in Appendix B (pages 309-311).
Age of Experients
The ages of the experients were analyzed in order to determine how many of them were children (0-10 years old), adolescents (11-20 years old), adults (21-50 years old), and middle-aged and elderly people (51-99 years old). Most ages of the experients were known accurately. Table 1 and Figure 1 represent the proportion of
|Age in years||Percentage in sample||Number of age group in population||Percentage of group in population||Percentage of sample / percentage in population|
|* The white population (male and female) according to the 1970 census was 3,726,540. The white population only was related, as all experients were white.|
experients in each age group as mentioned above, calculated in proportion to the population percentages of these groups according to the 1970 census.
Fig. 1. Proportion of experients in different age groups divided by the corresponding proportion In the 1970 census
A study of the above table and histogram suggests that the number of Uri Geller Effect experients increases with age. This may be due to the fact that the older the person, the greater his interest in the paranormal, and the more likely he is to take the trouble to send in a report. However, it is also possible that the psychokinetic ability increases with age.
One has to point out, however, that almost all the so-called mini-Gellers, who claimed they could continue metal bending and had other psychokinetic ability, were children and adolescents under twenty years of age.
Sex of Experients
|Sex||Experients expressed as percentage of total sample||Percentage in general population||Percentage in sample / Percentage in population|
It would seem from the above that the sex distribution of the experients matches very closely that found in the general population. This is rather different from that found in studies of spontaneous psychic cases in England and reported by Celia Green (6) in the Proceedings of the Society of Psychical Research (November 1960). She reported an incidence of 18.74 percent males and 81.16 percent females in her large series of cases. The American Society for Psychical Research study of spontaneous cases reported an incidence of 24.47 percent males and 75.53 percent females. There appears to be a preponderance of female percipients in both series of cases. Louisa Rhine (10) states that, in her series of collected ESP experience, an estimate of ten psychic experiences for women to one for men would not be too high. Our series of cases, however, shows that the activation of psychokinesis and telepathy in the population by the Uri Geller Effect is proportional to the sex distribution in the general population. The Uri Geller Effect, therefore, does not seem to appear sex-linked.
Marital Status of Experients
|Marital status||Percentage of experients||Percentage in general population||Percentage of experients divided by corresponding proportion in population|
Comment: That the proportion of experients who were never married is small is probably due to the fact that children and adolescents form a large segment of this group in the general population. In our previous analysis of the age groups (see Table 1) only a small percentage of the total sample were in the 1-20-year age group.
Fig. 2. Proportion of experients of various marital states divided by corresponding proportion in 1970 census
An interesting observation that comes out of this analysis (see Figure 2) is that there is the relatively large proportion of widowed and, especially, divorced experients. The possibility exists that certain psychological factors, such as tension, stress, frustration, and loneliness, may play a part in facilitating psychokinetic ability or stimulating greater interest in the paranormal.
The distribution in the married group is very close to that in the general population (1.17 to 1). That would indicate that being married does not significantly influence psychokinetic ability.
The Profession and Occupation of Experients
|Occupation||Percentage of experients|
|5. Civil servants||2.19|
It was difficult to compare with any accuracy the numbers and percentages of certain occupations within the general population from the statistical tables of the 1970 census. Nor was it considered that this information would contribute significantly to this paper. Thus, for example, the 1970 census does not list housewives or students as an occupation.
What is significant, however, is that the number of professional and technical workers based on the 1970 census is 202,390 white persons, or 5.43 percent of the population, whereas in our sample of experients the percentage is four times as high (23.36 percent). (See Table 4.)
This would suggest that a considerably larger proportion of professional persons than is present in the general population responded to the Uri Geller Effect. A rather small proportion of tradesmen and civil servants, on the other hand, reported such an effect.
Another significant observation that can perhaps be made is that, judging from their occupations, the experients would appear to belong to a socially reliable and responsible group of people.
Educational Qualifications of Experients
|Qualifications||Percentage of experients||Sum of rows 2,3 and 4 experients||Percentage in population||Sum of rows 2,3 and 4 population|
|1. Primary school||10.22||–||13.53||–|
|2. High school graduates||27.74||59.86||22.84||32.24|
|3. University undergraduates||24.09||1.46|
|4. Diplomats and postgraduates||8.03||7.94|
Comment: From the above table it can be seen that 32..12, percent were university graduates or postgraduates, while 2,7.74 percent were high school graduates. This is almost twice as many as in the general population (59.86 percent in our group and 18.104.22.168 percent in the population) and would indicate a fairly high percentage of reasonably educated people among those who reported the Uri Geller Effect experiences. The educational qualifications correlate well with the high percentage of professionals as seen in the analysis of occupations. This should not be taken to mean that the Uri
Geller Effect is more common in the more educated. It does, however, suggest that reporters of these experiences are reasonably good and reliable observers.
Classification into Types of Experiences
|Type of experience||Percentage|
|2. Metal bending||36.41|
|3. Fixing watches/clocks||30.00|
|4. Moving the hands of watches by PK||12.14|
Comment. It can be noted from this table that only 16.99 percent were telepathic experiences. The remaining 83.01 percent are of a psychokinetic nature.
Where and When Did the Experience Occur in Relation to the Whereabouts of Uri Geller?
Comment: It would appear that only 18.25 percent of the experients were close to Uri Geller when the possibility of sleight of hand, misdirection, or other conjuring tricks could have been employed by Geller. In 81.75 percent of the cases there was no possibility of Geller personally being able to influence the experience by trickery.
In a number of cases there was delay in the manifestation of the Uri Geller Effect, but in a smaller number of cases the manifestation of the effect occurred prior to contact (audience or radio) with Geller. The total number of experiences that showed a “time-lag” was twenty-two (16.4 percent). This number is larger than stated in Table 7 because some of the delayed experiences were included in the other groups.
|Relation to Uri Geller||Percentage|
|1 . When experient and Uri Geller were together||18.25|
|2. When experient was in the audience and Uri Geller was on the stage||15.33|
|3. When expedient was at home and Geller’s whereabouts were unknown to experient||3.65|
|4. When Geller was on the radio and experient was at home||23.36|
|5. Delayed occurrence of the Uri Geller Effect||7.30|
|6. Experience occurred prior to indirect contact with Geller||2.19|
|7. When experient was told about Uri Geller but neither saw him nor heard him on the radio or in the theater||3.65|
|8. Multiple experiences following more than one type of contact with Geller (radio stage or private meeting)||25.55|
Figure 3 (page 291) gives a breakdown of the time intervals involved in each of the cases where this “time difference” was reported.
It is difficult to understand this time difference in the manifestation of the effect in relation to the activation of it by Uri Geller. Tex G. Stanford,13 in his article in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (October 1974), “An experimentally testable model for spontaneous psi events: II psychokinetic events,” states that the cessation of focusing on the desired objective and the abandoning of the effort may become effective in producing psychokinetic phenomena. This may well be the case in the above group, which demonstrates the time-lag phenomenon. This does not, however, explain the experiences that occurred prior to exposure to Geller.
Fig. 3. Experiences manifested prior to (anticipated) or after
(time-lag) exposure to Uri Geller
Experients Who Had No Contact Whatsoever with Geller
In five cases (3.65 percent) the experient was merely told by his parent, or read in the newspaper, about Uri Geller. It would seem that in certain cases the mere knowledge that it can exist resulted in psychokinetic ability being released or activated.
A large number of experients (25.55 percent) reported multiple experiences. This would suggest that repeatability occurred in a significant number of experients, and opens up the possibility of developing a repeatable experiment. The development of a repeatable experiment is the dream of all psychical researchers. In this series of cases, 20.44 percent of the experients claimed that they have repeated on numerous occasions the psychokinetic effect without the help or presence of Uri Geller. An additional 4.38 percent of the experients believed that they could now produce their psychokinetic phenomena on their own without the presence or assistance of Uri Geller, but have not attempted it. Thus, it would appear that 2o percent to 2,5 percent of the experients who responded to the Uri Geller Effect could be subjects for a repeatable experiment. To our question as to whether the experient would be prepared to undergo laboratory tests in order to obtain further evidence, 17.52 percent replied that they would. Here, then, is a method by which, if a huge net (mass media) and the correct bait (a true psychic or even an apparent psychic but who has a convincing personality of a Uri Geller) were used, an enormous number of “psychic fish” can be caught.
Visualization of the Psychokinetic Event
From the literature, one gains the impression that psychokinetic and poltergeist effects are rarely seen at the very moment that they occur. As J. Gaither Pratt states, in his report of the “Miami Case” (January i967) mentioned in his book ESP Research Today:(8) “The disturbances persistently took place at points in space at which no one was looking at the precise moment when the motion occurred . . . As already stated, the actions were typical of poltergeists in that they seemed deliberately to hide from us.”
In this series of cases, 22.63 percent of the experients stated that they saw the psychokinetic effect taking place, and some watched it for a few minutes as it continued. However, 35.77 percent of the experients stated that they did not see the effect at the moment when it occurred. In 41.61 percent of the cases, it was not possible to determine this fact either from the questionnaire or from the letter.
One has to mention that one should view the above figures with caution. It is always difficult to determine whether the experient who completed the questionnaire understood the importance of being absolutely certain that he noted the very moment at which the metal bending had taken place or the watch had started to work.
The Response to “Live” Radio Broadcasts as Compared to “Pre-recorded” Radio Broadcasts
Uri Geller was on the radio four times and invited listeners to fetch watches, clocks, spoons, and keys and stroke them gently, repeating the words bend, bend, etc. Only one of these four broadcasts was a live broadcast: the other three were pre-recorded. The experients who listened to the pre-recorded programs were activated not by Uri Geller but by the taped electronic voice of Uri Geller.
Eighteen experients responded to Uri Geller’s live radio program and fifteen responded to the pre-recorded program.
I think this is one of the most significant findings that has emerged out of this investigation. It strongly suggests that it is not only the paranormal powers of the psychic Uri Geller that activated the psychokinetic response among the numerous experients scattered throughout the country. The mere belief that it was the psychic Uri Geller who was speaking to them was sufficient to activate and release the psychokinetic ability in the experient.
Rex G. Stanford (13) in the JASPR of October 1974 describes a number of inhibitory factors as well as enhancing factors that influence the appearance of psychokinesis. One such factor he calls “ownership inhibition.” He claims that psychokinesis tends to be blocked when a person regards himself as responsible for the effect. He also describes a stimulating or activating factor that he refers to as “imitation or copying factor.” In some of the experimental sittings of Batcheldor(1) and Brook-Smith,(2) these researchers deliberately employed deception. They arranged that one member of the group, unknown to the other sitters, intentionally produced phenomena by normal means (unbeknown to the others) after which presumably genuine paranormal psychokinetic phenomena took place.
The activation of the Uri Geller Effect by both live and pre-recorded broadcasts suggests that a similar imitation or copying factor is manifesting itself. The ownership inhibitory factor may also be cancelled out, as the experients believed that it is Uri Geller who is responsible for the effect and not they themselves. The presence of such a belief is confirmed by our finding that 78.10 percent of all experients stated that they are convinced that the paranormal (PK or telepathic) effect was induced by Uri Geller.
Associated Sensory or Emotional Subjective Feelings
Only 43.15 percent of the cases had an associated sensory or emotional experience coupled with the psychokinetic experience; 56.20 percent experienced nothing.
|Sensory or emotional feeling||Percentage|
|1. Feeling of warmth or tingling||13.87|
|2. Other emotional experiences||17.52|
|3. Tingling, warmth, and other emotional experiences||8.76|
|4. No sensory or emotional experiences||56.20|
These findings are somewhat similar to those found by Celia Green(6) as described in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (November 1960) in her analysis of spontaneous cases. In 51.7 percent of her cases the percipient experienced no sensations.
Sense of Conviction
We were interested in determining the sense of conviction and the attitude of the experients, before and after the experience, toward the possibility that such a phenomenon would take place. The following tables were drawn up to analyze the incidence of this factor.
|Type of attitude||Percentage before||Percentage after|
|3. Well disposed||37.96||27.74|
|4. Confirmed believer||13.13||53.28|
|Change of conviction||Percentage|
|1. No change||40.88|
|2. One step of change, e.g.,||41.61|
|i. sceptical to doubtful|
|ii. doubtful to well disposed|
|iii. well disposed to confirmed|
|3. Two-step change||12.41|
|i. sceptical to well disposed|
|ii. doubtful to confirmed|
|4. Three-step change||3.65|
|i. sceptical to confirmed believer|
|5. Negative change||1.45|
Comment. Only 13.13 percent of the experients were confirmed believers. This percentage is almost equal to the number of complete skeptics (12.41 percent). When the number of skeptics and doubtfuls (48.91 percent) are compared with the well disposed and confirmed believers (51.09 percent), one has to conclude that individuals with a negative attitude were closely balanced by those who had a positive attitude. There was, therefore, no obvious preponderance of sheep (believers) to goats (doubters), as so often occurs in ESP experiments and was so well described by Schmeidler and Murphy.(11) Our findings strongly suggest that a negative previous attitude need not be a bar to the activation of the PK abilities within an individual. This is further supported by our finding that the percentage of experients who had previous psychical experiences was only 37.96. (This percentage, which is identical to the percentage of individuals who were well disposed before they had the experience, is merely fortuitous.) Two thirds of the experients, therefore, had no previous psychical experiences. This finding is contrary to the general impression held by many people that it is mostly the so-called psychics who would either have such experiences or write letters reporting such phenomena.
The dramatic change in conviction following a personal experience is well demonstrated in Table 9 and Figure 4. While 13.13 percent were confirmed believers before they experienced the phenomena, this percentage changed to 53.28 (almost quadrupled) after they had their personal experience. Once again this demonstrates a fact well known amongst parapsychologists, namely, that nothing will more readily convince an individual of the existence of the paranormal than a personal experience. Table 10 further confirms this observation. It indicates that 55.67 percent of the experients changed their attitude one or more steps up toward greater conviction. The negative change (1.45 percent) shown in this table is the result of two experients’ having stated that they became less convinced after their experience.
Fig. 4. Sense of conviction before and after the experience
A psychological study of the personality of the experients would be useful in the investigation of those who responded to the Uri Geller Effect. It is, however, doubtful whether such a study can ever be carried out successfully on as large a number of experients as reported in this survey. Psychological investigations could be done on individuals who demonstrate a repeatable Uri Geller Effect ability, as seen among the mini-Gellers, if they could be persuaded to undergo the arduous and extensive psychological and neurological tests.
Activated Spontaneous Psychokinesis (ASPK) and Activated Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (ARSPK)
These are new terms, which I would like to coin in order to describe the Uri Geller Effect. This effect, as the above new terms imply, is not limited to Uri Geller. Any activating agent or object, whether he or she be a genuine psychic, a plausible showman using the power of suggestion to influence the experients, an able and clever experimenter, a tape-recorded voice or video-taped image, etc., may activate and precipitate a latent ability, present in many people, to demonstrate PK ability. In some of us this ability is greater than in others. It would appear to be produced more readily and to persist for longer periods in children and adolescents. When demonstrations of this ability are regularly repeatable over a period of time without further activation, one should refer to it as “activated recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis” (ARSPK).
Comparison of the Poltergeist Phenomena (SRPK) and the Uri Geller Effect.
1. In the poltergeist cases the events generally center on a single person. This is also the case in the Uri Geller Effect, where it centers on the experient.
2. Ordinarily, someone who is approaching, or has recently reached, puberty is found to be the agent responsible. In the Uri Geller phenomena almost all mini-Gellers are children or adolescents.
3. In the poltergeist cases nothing ever happens when the person on whom it centers is absent. The event starts unexpectedly, runs an unpredictable course, and suddenly fades away. The same type of behavior pattern is seen in most cases of adult Uri Geller Effect. In the mini-Geller phenomena, however, the effect did not fade away suddenly but persisted and even improved over a time.
4. Unexplained disturbances of the poltergeist phenomenon usually occur when they are not under direct visualisation. This is also true of manifestations of the Uri Geller Effect; 77.4 percent of experients did not report seeing any changes taking place at the very moment they did occur.
5. As far as could be determined from a careful perusal of the reports of our cases, there was no evidence that suppressed hostility or release of pent-up feelings played a part in the production of the Uri Geller Effect. In individuals associated with a production of poltergeist phenomena, such hostility and release of pent-up feelings are said to be present.
Inhibitory and Enhancing Factors That May Play a Part in the Production of ASPK
Stanford(13) in his paper described certain inhibitory and activating factors that influence the production of PK. This is based largely on the work of Batcheldor(1) and Brook-Smith and Hunt.(3)
“Witness inhibition” appears to play a part in the production of the Uri Geller Effect, particularly in mini-Gellers. They find difficulty in getting started while observed, but once they have started without being unobserved, their metal-bending often continues under observation. However, the difficulty the experient encounters in demonstrating the effect while being observed often gives rise in others to the suspicion that cheating is taking place.
“Ownership inhibition” tends to block the production of PK when the person involved knows himself to be responsible for this effect. This ownership inhibition was probably cancelled out in the experients, as the majority (78.10 percent) of all people reporting the phenomena were convinced that it was induced by Uri Geller and not by themselves. Owen & Sparrow(7) discuss this factor in their paper, “The generation of paranormal physical phenomena in connection with an imaginary communicator.”
Factors That May Enhance the Production of PK
“Imitation or copying” factor: It is reported by Batcheldor(l) that genuine PK phenomena are often produced when the sitters observe such phenomena being produced by the leader or a member of their group. Batcheldor, unknown to the other sitters, sometimes deliberately produced phenomena by normal. means, following which ostensibly genuine physical phenomena were produced by the rest of the sitters. This was particularly well observed and is possibly the most important factor responsible for success in the production of the Uri Geller Effect throughout the population. People listening to, or viewing, Uri Geller’s performance (whether it was genuine or not), and believing that psychokinetic phenomena are taking place, were able to release their own inhibitions and successfully produced similar PK effects. Perhaps the pre-recorded radio program response is the best example of the importance of this imitation or copying factor.
Other features that are present in the demonstration of PK ability were also noted in the production of the Uri Geller Effect. One of them is that both PK and the Uri Geller Effect occasionally become demonstrable after efforts to produce it are abandoned, e.g., the cessation of focusing on the desired objective. This would seem to have occurred on many occasions when delayed phenomena took place. Is this similar to the psychological block many of us have experienced when trying to recollect a name or event? No matter how hard we try, it eludes US. Then later, when we have abandoned the attempt to recollect, suddenly the memorized event surfaces in our consciousness.
How Can One Explain the Uri Geller Effect?
In truth, the method by which a given end-result is accomplished in the PK or the Uri Geller Effect phenomenon is uncomprehended The question is: How could any conceivable energy-form be directed to accomplish what is accomplished?
Certain explanations and theories are put forward by various people:
1. The Rationalist Explanation. The rationalist claims that the Uri Geller Effect does not exist. He maintains that Uri Geller is a clever conjurer, and by known or unknown techniques of misdirection, sleight of hand, and other illusionist’s methods, he produces his apparently paranormal telepathic and psychokinetic results. Similarly, he maintains that the Uri Geller Effect in the population is a mass hysteria phenomenon, and the people who are reporting it are consciously or unconsciously cheating or lying.
Although it is possible in principle that in one or a few cases people may be cheating or lying, it is unreasonable to expect us to believe that literally thousands of responsible people -many of whom are of the highest academic, professional, and social status, and live in all parts of the world – who claim to have had these experiences personally, and were witnessed by independent observers, are suffering from illusions and hallucinations and are either consciously or unconsciously cheating. The perusal of our reports indicates that in most cases the phenomena occurred all over the country, very often in good light and in the presence of responsible, outside observers.
2. The Physical Explanation. It is suggested that electricity or magnetism channeled from the brain and perhaps through the muscles is the source of energy in the same way that some fish can send out strong electrical pulses, Some people claim that it is conceivable to suppose that certain individuals, more than others, are capable of generating this type of energy. The stimulation and direction of this energy may be influenced either by the individual himself or it may be triggered off by the power of suggestion from an outside agent. No such physical energy, however, has been identified as yet.
3. The Parapsychological Theory. Rhine and Pratt(9) suggest thatcertain living systems possess an unknown facility, which they refer to as psi. It does not display space-time-mass properties. It is a “non-physical” force that does not obey the laws that are so characteristic of physical energy forces. Thus, they claim that enough evidence appears to have been accumulated to suggest that the “information-gathering” and “transference” experience known as telepathy, precognition, etc. are all non-physical and that psychokinesis, the poltergeist, and PK are similarly non-physical phenomena. It is, therefore, conceivable that the Uri Geller Effect is a form of psi.
It remains to be determined whether the Uri Geller Effect is in every case required to be triggered off by an external agent and therefore the psi capacity is within the agent plus the experient, or whether it is due to the psychic powers of the agent alone, in this case Uri Geller, and the experient reporting the phenomena is a passive agent. A number of instances in our series of cases demonstrate this point, e.g., a person finding that the key was.bent without his being aware of an outside force activating him or the key. Alternatively, it may be entirely within the experient, and the agent is a passive nonpsychic vehicle. In PK and RSPK the vehicle through which the psychokinetic effect occurs may be telepathy. In the Uri Geller Effect it is not certain whether telepathy is the chief vehicle. It may be completely non-psychic. The instruction to the experient was usually transmitted by visual or auditory means in those instances where the experient was in the audience during a demonstration or at a private meeting, and by auditory means when the experient was listening to a live or pre-recorded radio program. When the response occurred because of a television appearance, then again vision combined with voice may be the vehicle that transmits the instruction to the experient. Even in instances when the PK phenomena occurred without direct physical, visual, or auditory contact with Geller, the transmitting vehicle may not have been telepathy. The triggering effect may be the experient’s psychological attitude; e.g., the knowledge that Geller is in the country and that other people in addition to Geller can do it was sufficient to produce the required psychological attitude.
General Remarks The present investigation is not presented as final and conclusive evidence of the existence of the Uri Geller Effect, but rather claims that there is enough evidence to suggest that the Uri Geller Effect exists and is genuine. It may turn out to be the most significant happening in parapsychology in the past years and may open a fascinating and exciting new channel of research. Thus, it would seem possible that a large number of “experient-percipients” in a sizable population group could be activated through mass media and a psychic with the personality and ability of Uri Geller, and PK phenomena could be produced. The discovery of mini-Gellers, who may then be subjected to laboratory investigations, would open up a completely new avenue, a new prospect and dimension in psi research. This could produce as near a repeatable laboratory experiment as is possible in biological science.In this type of work, the research worker, at this stage of the development of parapsychology, should be looking for understanding from other disciplines of science – not necessarily acceptance. Acceptance may come later.
APPENDIX A Discussion About the Objects That Were Influenced by the Uri Geller Effect
It is of importance and of value to discuss the type and the nature of the objects that were affected both by Uri Geller personally, and by individuals other than Uri Geller, who claim to have been personally involved in the Uri Geller Effect.
Examination of Bent and Fractured Metal Objects
In our questionnaire we inquired whether the experient would be willing to send us the broken or bent keys, spoons, or other metal objects for examination. Of the experients, 44.53 percent replied that they are prepared to let us have the various objects in their possession for examination. Twenty-two experients sent in various objects for examination. Nine of these experients were mini-Gellers, who sent in seventy-four objects, which they claimed to have bent or broken over a period of months. Six experients sent in six metal objects, which were bent or broken by Uri Geller while they were holding them. Eight experients (adults) sent in thirteen objects, which they themselves had bent or broken while watching a demonstration in the theater or listening to Geller’s radio broadcast. No watches were sent to us (rnost probably because they were too valuable). A total of ninety-three objects was sent to us for examination. (See Plate 58.)
Watches and Clocks
A total of sixty-two watches and clocks (30 percent) were reported to have been “fixed” by the Uri Geller Effect, and twenty-five watches (12.14 percent) had their hands moved without physical means. The following tables show the periods for which the watches were out of order and the
|Period||Number of watches|
|1. Less than l year||9|
|2. 1 to 5 years||11|
|3. 5 to 25 years||15|
|4. 25 to 100 years||3|
|5. More than 100 years||0|
|Period Number of watches|
|1. Less than 1 hour||2|
|2. 1 to 12 hours||5|
|3. 12 to 48 hours||2|
|4. For more than 48 hours||48|
periods for which the watches worked following the “Uri Geller Effect–fixing.” Comment. From Table 11 it becomes apparent that at least 42 percent of the watches and clocks that responded to Uri Geller or the Uri Geller Effect were out of order for 1-100 years. From Table 12 it is seen that at least 77 percent of the watches or clocks continued working for longer than forty-eight hours after they were “fixed” by Geller or the Uri Geller Effect. Forty-two percent of the watches were of sentimental value to the experient; 1.6 percent of watches were not of sentimental value. The rest (56.4 percent) of those questioned did not answer this query.
|Type of objects||Number of objects|
|1. Spoons (soup, dessert)||16|
|6. Nail (4 inch)||1|
|8. Pestle (brass 1/4-inch diameter)||1|
|9. Steel crowbar (1 1/2-inch diameter)||1|
The metal in the “cutlery objects” was either stainless steel or nickel silver-plated steel; the items were of standard quality, found in most households. The keys were mostly Yale keys. A good number were wardrobe and garage keys.
|3. Complete fracture||13|
|4. Incomplete fracture||8|
Some of the objects were bent and twisted at the same time, hence the total differs from the total in Table 13.
The degree of bending varied from five degrees to one hundred eighty degrees. We measured the degree of bending and twisting of each object, but no good purpose will be served in recording these details.
We submitted metal objects for examination to Professor C.V.R., Head of the Department of Material Science and Metallurgy of a South African University. (Both the professor and the university wish to remain anonymous.) It required persistence to persuade the metallurgist to examine the objects. This is understandable, as much work is involved in the preparation, sectioning, and microscopic examination of metal objects. Furthermore, like many other scientists, he is convinced that metal bending by PK is impossible.
One of the objects submitted was a garage key that belonged to my good friend, Dr. D. Pienaar. This key had attached to it a personal object for the purpose of identification so that it could not be substituted by another key. The key was bent by Uri Geller in his hotel suite while Professor A. E. H. Bleksley held it in his hand. I was present in the room, sitting close to Professor Bleksley and Dr. Pienaar while Uri Geller attempted to bend the key. A newspaper photographer was taking photographs repeatedly. At no time could we see any evidence of misdirection or force being used by Geller to bend the key. Before sectioning the key, Professor C.V.R. bent the key mechanically at a new site. The key was then sectioned and both sites (where Geller bent it and where it was bent mechanically in the laboratory) were sectioned and mounted in resin and examined microscopically. The following is a full report on this examination.
Report on Bending and Fracturing of Spoons, Keys, etc.
From the examination of a large number of objects that were submitted for examination, the following observations were made.
(a) Objects that were deformed were in all instances deformed to a greater extent at locations where the section was the weakest, as would he expected in the case of a mechanical loading.
(b) Deformation in some instances was so severe that small cracks developed. A number of objects were indeed deformed to such an extent that they fractured, as is commonly found when metals are mechanically deformed too far.
(c) Microscopic examination of the surfaces of the deformed specimens showed that the surface had an orange-peel appearance due to slip, the mechanism by which metals deform Elastically when stressed excessively.
(d) The deformation of the specimens was found to he accompanied by work-hardening, a phenomenon associated with plastic deformation of metals at room temperature.
(e) Fracture-surface appearance was either brittle or ductile, depending on the hardness of the metal. The fracture-surface appearance was in an respects the same as that which is expected when a metal is deformed by a mechanical force until it fractures.
(f) A comparison of the metallographic structure of a key at the location where it was bent by Uri Geller with that at an adjacent location where it was bent mechanically showed that the sites were in all respects identical. No evidence of recrystallization or any softening could be found. At both the locations the brittle chromium plating on the surface, which was extended during bending, was cracked, as shown in Plate 59.
All the observations made are in accord with what is expected when a metal is deformed by the application of a force sufficient to cause plastic deformation.
(signed) Prof. G.V.R.
As no unusual change was noted in the bent objects that were submitted for metallurgical examination, one has at least excluded the Possibility that chemicals, heat, laser beams, or an unknown physical radiation energy were employed. A negative finding is often just as important as a positive finding.
No scanning electron microscope examination of fractured surfaces was, however, done. It is, therefore, important to mention other work done in this field.
Dr. Wilbur Franklin of the Department of Physics, Kent State University, Ohio, U.S.A.,(5) has reported on a metallurgical analysis of two specimens of metal that were fractured in a room-temperature setting and were observed visually by the authors and others during the process of deformation and fracture. Franklin states that “the scanning electron microscope is especially useful in the examination of fractured surfaces since it has a good depth of field and since both low and high magnification can be utilised easily.”
The following is an extract from a paper read by Dr. Wilbur Franklin5 at the conference, “The Physics of Paranormal Phenomena,” at Tarrytown, New York, in February 1975. (For full report by Wilbur Franklin, see pages 75-106.)
The metallurgical analysis of three fractured surfaces in two metallic specimens broken by Uri Geller revealed two distinct types of fracturing surface microstructure in the SEM (scanning electron microscope) photographs. One type appeared quite similar to room-temperature ductile failure by mechanical loading, except for an unusual viscous appearance at the bottom of a small lateral crack. In the second type of fracture surface, the predominant microstructures were not typical of ductile failure, fatigue, or shear failure, nor of room-temperature cleavage. In the platinum ring specimen, locaised sections of two types were observed on the same fracture surface. One type looked like incipient melting and the second like low-temperature cleavage, with inclusions or vacancy clusters also appearing in the field of view. These observations, which are not typical of SEM fractographs of failures by mechanical loading, indicate that the cause of fracture was neither mechanical in nature nor a result of usual mechanical methods of fracture. In fact, the possible methods of reconstruction of the fracture surface in the platinum ring by known techniques seem to require means such as cleavage at liquid nitrogen temperature followed by subsequent exposure to a small beam from a powerful laser in selected regions and shear in other regions.
P.O. Box 23154, Joubert Park 2044, Johannesburg
Republic of South Africa
1. Name of the person who underwent the experience reported. (In what follows, this person will be referred to as the Percipient.)
BLOCK LETTERS PLEASE.
2. ADDRESS: ……………………………………………………………………..
3. TELEPHONE NUMBER: ………………………………………………………………
4. Age of Percipient at time of experience …… years.
5. SEX: (a) Male [ ] (b) Female [ ]
6. Marital Status:…………………………..
7. Time at which experience occurred: date, hour, minute (if possible). ……………………………………………….
8. Was the experience related to Geller’s
(a) Stage performance? Date…………………
(b) Broadcast? Date and time…………………
(c) A private meeting Date and time…………….
9. Did the experience occur
(a) When you and Geller were together? Yes [ ] No [ ]
(b) When you were in the audience and Geller on the stage? Yes [ ] No [ ]
(c) When you were at home or outside the theater and Geller elsewhere? Yes [ ] No [ ]
(d) When Geller was on the radio and you were at home? Yes [ ] No [ ]
(c) Some time after Geller’s performance or broadcast? Yes [ ] No [ ]
(f) If answer to (c) is yes, how long after?
10. Classification of experience:
(a) Telepathic Yes [ ] No [ ]
(b) Metal bending or breaking Yes [ ] No [ ]
(c) Starting of clock or watch Yes [ ] No [ ]
(d) Moving of hands of watch or clock Yes [ ] No [ ]
(e) Others Yes [ ] No [ ]
11. Was the experience accompanied by
(a) A feeling of warmth or tingling Yes [ ] No [ ]
(b) Any other emotional experience? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………
12. Profession, business, or trade of Percipient ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
13. Academic qualifications
14. Please categorize your state of conviction about the possibility of such an experience before it happened:
(a) Completely skeptical Yes [ ] No [ ]
(b) Doubtfid but prepared to consider possibilities Yes [ ] No [ ]
(c) Well disposed to the possibility Yes [ ] No [ ]
(d) A confirmed belief in such experiences Yes [ ] No [ ]
35. What is your present state of belief after having had the experience?
(a) Completely sceptical Yes [ ] No [ ]
(b) Doubtful but prepared to consider possibilities Yes [ ] No [ ]
(c) Well disposed to the possibility Yes [ ] No [ ]
(d) A confirmed belief in such experience Yes [ ] No [ ]
i6. Has the Percipient had previous experiences of a psychic nature? Yes [ ] No [ ]
17. Does the Percipient believe that his experience was induced directly by Uri Geller? Yes [ ] No [ ]
18. Does the Percipient believe that he is able to repeat the experience on occasions when Mr. Geller is not involved directly Yes [ ] No [ ]
19. If the answer to is above is Yes, has the experience in fact been repeated since the first occasion? Yes [ ] No [ ]
20. If the answer to 19 above is Yes, would the Percipient be prepared to undergo laboratory tests in order to produce further evidence? Yes [ ] No [ ]
21. If you have broken keys, bent spoons etc., drawings, or photographs in your possession, would you allow us to examine them? Yes [ ] No [ ]
22. If you have had or witnessed more than one experience or observation associated with Mr. Geller’s visit, would you please itemize them and describe them in detail on a separate sheet.
1. Batcheldor, K. J., “Report on a case of table levitation and associated phenomena,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 43, 339-356, 1966.
2 . Brookes-Smith, C., “Data tape-recorded experimental PK phenomena,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 47, 1973.
3. Brookes-Smith, C. and D. W. Hunt, “Some experiments in psychokinesis,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 45, 265-281, 1970.
4. Dale, Laura, A., Rhea White, and Gardner Murphy, “A selection of cases from a recent survey of spontaneous ESP phenomena,” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, LVI, No. 1, January 1962.
5. Franklin, Wilbur, Physics Dept. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, U.S.A., “Is there Physics in ESP?” Paper read at the Tarrytown conference, “The Physics of Paranormal Phenomena,” Feb. 1975.
6. Green, Celia, “Analysis of spontaneous cases,” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 53, Part 191, 97-161. Nov. 1960.
7. Owen, I. M. and M. H. Sparrow, “Generation of paranormal physical phenomena in connection with an imaginary communicator,” New Horizons Journal, 1, No. 3, 6-13, 1974.
8. Pratt, J. Gaither, E.S.P. Research Today (Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1973). p. 129.
9. Rhine, J. B. and J. G. Pratt, Parapsychology: Frontier Science of the Mind (Springfield, Ill.: Charles C Thomas, 1957), p. 74.
10. Rhine, Louisa E., Hidden Channels of the Mind (New York: William Sloan Associates, 1961), P. 132.
11. Schmeidler, G. R. and G. Murphy, “The influence of belief and disbelief in ESP upon individual scoring levels,” Journal of Experimental Psychology, 36, 271–276, 1946.
12. Sidgwick, Henry and others, “Report on the census of hallucinations,” 1894, Society for Psychical Research Proceedings.
13. Stanford, Rex G., “An experimentally testable model for spontaneous psi events: II psychokinetic events,” The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 68, No. 4, 321-357, Oct. 1974.
14. Targ, R. and H. Puthoff, “Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding,” Nature, 251, No. 5476, Oct. 18, 1974.
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