12th June 1998

Aged four, I saw the light

So I must have done something to upset Paul Dacre, but I don’t know what. Maybe he was watching one of my TV shows and his watch broke, or his cat expired, or something.

Paul Dacre is editor of the Daily Mail, and last month he printed a large picture of me under the banner, “Aliens In Our Midst?”

It wasn’t my best picture. I admit that. I’m wearing a polo-neck sweater, which my wife simply would not permit, so this must have been taken back in the Seventies before I married Hanna. I haven’t shaved for three days, and by the rings around my eyes I couldn’t have slept for about three weeks. And my hair is wild – wild in that big, big Seventies way. Remember Farrah Fawcett? Remember Huggy Bear? So this is what my hair looks like in the Daily Mail. My hair is wearing flares.

I ought to get even, find a photo of Paul Dacre in a convivial condition with his tie round his collar and the wrong end of his cigarette in his face, and publish it on my Internet pages under the headline, “Visitors from the Planet Newt”. But that wouldn’t be quite fair.

Because the Mail really means it. They are genuinely asking the reader – does Uri Geller have an extra-terrestrial link?

And the truth is… should I tell the truth?

These are strange days. The Mail carries a three-page account of alien abductions, in full colour, over its centre spread, in its biggest-selling issue of the week. Saturday centres – money can’t buy a spread like that. I’m truly delighted for the writer, my good friend Colin Wilson, with whom I’ve worked on numerous occasions throughout my career. This is unbeatable publicity for his book, Alien Dawn (Virgin, £16.99).

There is no cynicism, no skepticism here. No hint of a sneer. Just look at their headline: “Can everyone who claims alien abduction be a lunatic or a fraud? And how could one, a 14-year-old virgin, possibly have been pregnant? A leading British writer and criminologist set out to investigate – and came to believe the unbelievable.”

Earlier last month, the Sun – Britain’s most popular daily, with something like 10,000,000 readers – carried a very similar report. Again, the editorial line was serious and urgent. The journalists expect their readers to approach with open minds, and depart convinced.

The same willingness to believe is appearing in Israel. Look at the current rash of UFO sightings. Credible witnesses are no longer being ignored. These claims are being reported seriously. Even more extraordinary was the serious attention granted to the Moshav Blob, a lump of green goo of possibly alien origin. Or the earnest intent with which the Israeli media waited for a predicted mass UFO landing.

Five years ago, these stories barely scraped into the papers, even when they were heralded with hoots of derision. One well-known actress talked about an abduction experience, and was written off, brutally, as a woman deranged by mid-life hormone changes.

Twenty-five years ago, my biographer who discovered me in Israel broached the subject of alien contacts – not abduction, just UFO sightings – and my career was almost destroyed. For two years I had been testing the world’s depths of open-mindedness, demonstrating telepathy and psychokinesis on live television. People believed in me, because they shared my experiences – my presence on TV made weird things happen in their own homes. But talk of aliens was too much.

No sane person could credit the idea of extra-terrestrial visitations. Only a madman, the argument ran, would continue to give Geller credence. Colin Wilson admits: “Uri, by Andrija Puharich, was so incredible that – in common with most people – I found it impossible to finish… I was inclined to wonder whether Puharich had invented some of the stories.”

I distanced myself from the biography pretty fast. I issued my own version, playing down the out-of-this-world stuff and emphasising the homely, spoon-bending incidents.

It was the beginning of a bad time for me. I became addicted to my own wealth, going on obscene spending sprees and almost killing myself with an eating disorder that had me gobbling everything on the menu each night before crawling into the bathroom to vomit it all away.

In the end, I had to retire from public life and restore my sanity in a Japanese hideaway.

What if I had stood by the truth? What if I’d faced the world and said, “I have had encounters with beings who could not possibly be human. I believe my powers come, not from within, but from a source beyond the tiny confines of this planet.

“When I was four years old, an inexplicable urge led me into a deserted Arabic garden in Tel Aviv, and something happened to me there which might be explained by the words, ‘Alien Abduction’. I saw a light, a shining disc in the sky. The light touched me. A figure stood before me, and it was not a human figure. Then I lost consciousness. When I came to, many hours had passed. I ran home to tell my mother and, of course, she did not believe me. But I can date the emergence of my powers from that day.”

What if I had revealed the extraordinary encounters both Andrija and I witnessed in Israel – and which we agreed to keep secret, knowing that we could be locked up as maniacs if we dared to breathe a word?

What if, what if… That’s a child’s game. The question is not whether I was right to be afraid of speaking out then. The question is whether I would be wise to speak out now. The question is how much longer I can live privately with what I have seen and experienced.

Is the international media truly opening its mind? Because if that is so, when they pose the question ‘Are there aliens in our midst?’ it is time to tell them the truth.

Uri Geller’s Little Book Of Mindpower is published by Robson Books at £2.50, and his novel Ella by Headline Feature at £5.99

Visit his website at www.urigeller.com and e-Mail him at urigeller@compuserve.com

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