Swedish Parapsychology 1998 Uri Geller – 1 April
Jan Fjellander and Lennart Lidfors
translation by Adrian Parker
Spring 1974. It just happens to be the first of April. We are in the bar of Hotel Diplomat in Stockholm. It is a press conference. The atmosphere is a loaded one. The journalist’s eyes are focused on what is happening in front of the bar counter – No one is saying a word. Only the splashing of running water breaks the silence. A journalist from an evening newspaper is holding a door key under the water pouring from the tap in the bar counter. It was thought that water would wash off any possible suspicious chemicals that might make the metal soft.
Uri Geller, 27, strokes his finger lightly over the shaft of the key and the miracle happens – that everyone has been waiting for, but no one believes is possible – the key bends crookedly. Apparently without chemicals, without heat, without force. The key is unusable.
It was found by checking afterwards that is was not possible to get the key inside the tap’s pipe so as to in that way bend the key.
As well as the journalists, we – the people from the newly formed Research Centre for Psychobiophysics – were also present. Earlier during the week we had made fruitless attempts to try to reach Geller. Now we sought a more direct form of contact. To our great surprise Geller and three of his co-workers said yes to having dinner with us in a private apartment. A chance event made this possible. Uri had hurt his shoulder during a performance in Copenhagen. Our friend Stig who had some knowledge of medical treatment, offered to put an elastic support on the shoulder. When this was done Uri suddenly asked:
– You surely believe in me?
Stig was of the opinion that it is was up to Uri to prove his “powers” if he had any.
Uri asked Stig to then concentrate on a number between 1 and 10.
– You are thinking of eight, said Uri after some seconds concentration.
Surprised by this, Stig confirmed that this was the number he thought of.
– Turn over the paper over there on the table.
– Stig did so and discovered the figure eight had been written there beforehand,
– You believed you sent a number to me said Uri pleased with himself, but it was I who chose the number eight and sent it to you. If I had asked you to be the receiver for telepathy you would have blocked me. Now when you know you can receive, we can experiment further.
Stig shut his eyes and experienced a seagull flying into the room followed by more of these. They were just flapping their wings about. Uri had drawn a seagull and concentrated on this.
Presumably it was the elastic bandage around the shoulder together with the good personal chemistry, which made Uri so willing to accept our suggestion of a meeting. Originally we had thought we would carry our some scientific experiments, but changed our aims to that of letting Uri Geller spend a relaxed evening in more homely surroundings. Consequently this is not a report with any claim of being scientific, but is an utmost personal account of some the phenomena that occurred during that evening.
A memorable dinner
In the evening, we collect Uri, his friends and the Swedish manager Lars Wahlberg from the hotel. Some of us (including Lennart) drive in advance. Others go on foot together with Geller along the Stand (Strandvägen) and then something remarkable happens. Uri suddenly stops and points towards the sky saying excitedly:
– What is that?
A wide blue green steak of light, like a streak of condensation from a jet plane at a great height attracts our attention. Uri says it is a UFO, a “mothership”.
– Quick, give me something, copper if possible.
He gets a copper coin placed in his hand. He clenches his fist, opens it. The coin is still there. He repeats the procedure, but nothing happens. The coin is lying there in the middle of the palm of his hand. Suddenly it disappears before our very eyes! At the same moment the shinning light disappears, as if someone had just tuned off a flame from welding torch. It is a rather excited group that arrives at the apartment. The manager becomes like white shadow standing in front of the door. The heavy metal buckle in his belt has become deformed during the walk.
While someone runs downtown to buy some oranges – Uri Geller does not drink coffee, but likes orange juice -(“It is good for the power”) – Geller goes in to the kitchen and greets the hostess. Suddenly he is hit in the back by an object that lands with a thud on the floor. Lying there is an antique falcon made of bronze and which had stood upright on the mantelpiece out in the hall, a stretch with an angel of 3 by 4 metres. The object was completely hot. Both Uri and the hostess became a little afraid. Others who were in the next room had then come into the room having heard the thud and the excited voices. Uri is clearly shaken and tells them that these kinds of phenomena often spontaneously happen to him. What he finds to be particularly strange is that it concerns the image of a falcon – this has an important symbolic meaning for him. This is discussed among others places in a book by the American physician Andija Puharich: “The Mysterious Uri Geller”. The falcon has something to do with intelligence in outer space….
After the dinner I ask Lennart to get Uri to show us how he holds a spoon when he is trying to get it to bend: Jan is also sitting beside us. Uri picks up a household spoon (rust free steel), holds the bowl of the spoon and stokes the spoon shaft lightly with his finger.
No force, only a light touch. Decide which direction it is to bend. A light concentration, keep the thought somewhere in the back of your head.
– Look, he burst out suddenly, it’s bending, it’s bending!
The spoon is noticeably bent and Uri ceases to stroke it, turns around to make a comment to those facing his back. Then Lennart who is sitting beside Uri, sees how the spoon continues to bend approximately 20 degrees. He snatches quickly the spoon from Uri and holds it in his own hand.
The spoon continues to bend until approximately 45 degrees. Lennart lays the spoon on the table and after a short period the final angle of 60 degrees is reached. The situation feels utterly unreal.
– The metal continues to be deformed after I release it, concludes Uri. I just give the impulse.
– When I thought about the event afterwards, says Lennart, I became aware of something I had repressed during the actual observation. It was never any kind of real movement, The spoon shaft ceased for a fraction of a second to exist and then appeared again in the next position, like in a cinematograph film where still frames are jerked forwards, one by one, and give an illusion of movement. It was as if the spoon swung out and in of two worlds.
Several people have reported the same observations. In the book about Uri Geller Puharich writes in one place : “When we sat in the car and discussed what had happened we were completely agreed about one thing. The hands of my watch had not moved in a normal way. It seemed as if they had disappeared from their first position and re-appeared in the next. Uri was now certain that it did happen in that way.”
To return to the dinner. Suddenly Uri points at a tall four legged sugar bowl of new silver.
Look, something is happening with the bowl. One foot is bending, I can see it clearly.
None of us are certain that anything is really happening. The bowl stands in the middle of the table. No one is nearer to it than roughly ½ a meter. One of us carefully tries to test whether or not a tea spoon will go between the foot and the table top. It is clear that the foot is a little distorted. The spoon shaft goes almost between the space. After one or two minutes we test it again. Several of us think we have seen a weak movement upwards of the heavily forged foot of the bowl. Now the shaft of spoon goes in without any problem. Geller has not touched the bowl. The deformation had taken place during the time that the approximately 10 persons from the Research Center were intensively watching the bowl. The distortion had become roughly three times larger.
We observed the phenomenon of spontaneous deformation even with an electric alarm clock without its glass, of which Uri bend the hands made of lacquered aluminium; the seconds hand was a drawn out in a Z shape and the minutes hand drawn outwards. Five minutes after he had let go the clock, the minutes hand had more than doubled that angle.
One of one group asked Uri to bend the hands of his wrist watch, but Uri does something else instead. He stokes his forefinger over the watchcase and the clock reverses 58 minutes. He repeats the same thing with another watch, which quickly reverses 3 hours, Had he wound back the winder without us seeing it?
On one occasion he did not at all touch the watch itself. Only the watch strap. The face of the watch was downwards and his clenched hand a decimetre above, Carefully the watch is turned back with the help of the watch strap. The hands of the watch had been set back in time.
Somewhat later we carry out a simple experiment on telepathy in which Uri reproduces drawn symbols, but these are for some unknown reason often mirror images,
It ought to be said that Uri Geller´s own folk, used to these phenomena, did not take part in the demonstrations but sat in another room, chatting to each other and playing the guitar.
A Twenty years Perspective
A common viewpoint is that Uri Geller has been exposed as a bluffer and fake. Illusionists can be without doubt extremely skilled and much of what Geller produces on the stage can be equally as well by illusionists- Metal objects can be bent the pure use of dexterity and Geller has been accused of doing just this.
What an illusionist is never able to, is:
Bend metal objects without holding them. This is what Geller has done many times. An example occurred with the well known rocket researcher Werher von Braun, whose wedding ring was bent in his closed hand.
Break metal without having touched it.
Create changes in the crystal structure of the metal at the point of the break which cannot be done with any method known to science.
Duplicate Geller’s ability to get objects to continue to bend when he has put them down on a table. This strange phenomenon with metal which deforms while being observed, but without anyone touching it, has been documented numerous times.
One of the strongest arguments for Geller is the existence of so-called “mini-gellers”, children who after having seen Geller perform, can carryout the same thing. It is as if the ability was transferred and released. John Hasted, Professor of Physics in London, has carried out a large number of successful experiments with mini-gellers. Similar observations have even been made in Sweden.
Uri Geller today.
Uri Geller lives in England, in an exclusive house on the Thames. He is a multimillionaire and has according to his own claims earned his fortune through helping companies localise oil and mineral finds. He works by putting his hand over a map. When he feels a magnetic effect on his hand, he then uses a finger top to localise a hot area. He works with the project for several weeks and then goes onto more detailed maps. In the final phase of the operation he flies over the actual area.
It was Sir Val Duncan, then president of Rio Tinto Zinc Ltd, arguably the world’s largest mining company, who awoke Geller’s interest for paranormal prospecting. Other companies who played a role in this context are Angovaal, Zamex Ltd and a unnamed japanese company which gave Geller a million dollars in the initial phase..
The capital made it possible for Geller to sue the illusionist James Randi for slander. He lost the case like other ones. It was a dear and drawn out affair for all involved except for the lawyers.
By way of summary it can be said that Uri Geller has since the seventies lived an eventful life and built up a large network of contacts. He is still noticeably active, even if he does not any longer perform on the stage. Do not be surprised if his name turns up again. For thousands of people the world around, among them many researchers, the meeting with Geller, remains one of their life’s greatest mysteries.
Hasted, J. B. (1981) The Metal Benders. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London
Hasted, J. B. & Bohm, et al (1976) Experiments on psychokinetic phenomena. In Panati, Charles (Edit.) The Geller Papers, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston.
Hasted, J. B. My Geller Notebooks. In Panati, Charles (Edit.) The Geller Papers, Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston.
The references are also to be found on the internet see “John B Hasted
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“Uri Geller gave an absolutely resonating talk on his life and career. He had every single magician in the room on the edge of their seats trying to digest as much information as they could. Uri emphasized that the path to frame is through uniqueness and charisma and that professional entertainers must be creative in their pursuits of success and never shy away from publicity.”
Tannens Magic Blog
“The man is a natural magician. He does everything with great care, meticulous misdirection and flawless instinct. The nails are real, the keys are really borrowed, the envelopes are actually sealed, there are no stooges, there are no secret radio devices and there are no props from the magic catalogues.”
James Randi (In an open letter to Abracadabra Magazine)
Sir Elton John
“Eternity is down the hall And you sit there bending spoons In your mind, in your mind”
“I Have watched Uri Geller… I have seen that so I am a believer. It was my house key and the only way I would be able to use it is get a hammer and beat it out back flat again.”
“Better than watching Geller bending silver spoons, better than witnessing new born nebulae’s in bloom”