Uri in Q Magazine.
Lock up your cutlery, missus! Titter ye not, sceptics! Give up, opponents of Reading FC! The man we are about to encounter is the Tel Aviv trickster. The magic-minded maestro who blew up the British television system. The fork bending philanthropist who ended the Cold War (allegedly). But sod that. An initially sceptical Tom Hibbert harbours but one extrasensory enquiry . . .
IN THE driveway of the spacious Berkshire mansion, the truck from Live! TV (Kelvin Mac Kenzie’s soar-away cable channel) lies stalled and broken down. The man of the house stands gazing at the vehicle, his arms folded, a wry and not unself-satisfied smile on his face. “These things tend to happen here,” he chuckles softly. “These things are always happening!”
What he is suggesting is that the truck has gone wonky not through something so simple and mundane as a flat battery or anything like that, but because of some strange and unexplained psychic phenomenon. Why, only an hour ago the girl from Live! TV, here to conduct an interview with said man, looked in her pocket and found that her keys were all bent out of shape! Which is pretty spooky when you think about it.
Yes, for the owner of this country pile is no less a personage than Uri Geller: fork-bending maestro and all-round psychic nutter. . .
Uri Geller was as much a part of the 1970s as horrible flared trousers, Mint Cracknel bars and The Sweet. No light entertainment chat show seemed quite complete without the peculiar one demonstrating his cutlery-distorting powers and stopping people’s watches forever, for reasons best known to himself (and money, of course); no tabloid newspaper seemed fully equipped without some latest “Geller Challenge” wheeze along the lines of “Tomorrow at noon precisely, Uri Geller will beam a picture into your very own brain which you can draw and then write in to us saying how amazing and uncanny it all is . . .”
Millions were taken in by the Israeli psychic; millions more poohpoohed his every trick, called him a charlatan, said it was all trickery and coincidence.
IN HIS NEW self-written tome, Uri Geller’s Mindpower Book, he asks us to join him “on a voyage of discovery into the hidden power of your mind” and gives us useful and handy tips on self-improvement: “Stand naked in front of a full-length mirror, then look at the places where you are thin, where you are ugly, where you are handsome, your hairstyle, your eyebrows, your makeup if you wear it, your cleanliness . . . Tell yourself, Hey, I like what I see, I actually like what I see . . . Once you have spent time studying yourself in the mirror, you can talk to yourself silently by gazing into your eyes, looking into your black pupils and mentally allowing yourself to go deep into them . . .”
Hmmm. All sounds a bit pervy to me, and I confess I have not tried this at home (or anywhere else for that matter). Further, I confess that I come here today thinking that the famed so-called “Geller Effect” is a lot of nonsense, hogwash, tommyrot, call it what you will. I mean, outside the front portals of the grand country seat, looking like something that escaped from the Dali Museum, lies Uri Geller’s kitchen-utensil-adorned Cadillac with which our hero has tried to bring peace to the Middle East. The motor car is very impressive in appearance, but, as yet another bus blows up down there, one has to say that it doesn’t exactly seem to be working, does it? Does it? No, sceptic that I am, the most mysterious thing about Uri Geller is: why has he got some Toad The Wet Sprocket CDs in his collection?
But let us cast our prejudices aside. We have yet to meet the man. Here he comes now, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his Internet number (tap into this and who knows what miracles will occur). “I believe that only losers smoke,” writes Geller in The MindPower Book. As he shakes me most cordially by the hand, I find myself aching for a fag. He sits. I sit. I say, “Mr. Geller, I’ve got rather a grudge against you.”
He looks at me with astonishment, raises the eyebrows of his slender face, and says, “Why?” I explain that I am a staunch and longtime supporter of Reading FC. Geller, too, supports “The Biscuitmen”, aka “The Royals”, and has promised us fans that he will utilise his extraordinary psychic abilities to bring the ageing boys in the blue-and-white shirts untold footer glories. But what’s actually happening at Elm Park is that relegation to the Second Division looms.
Last season, we almost got promoted to the Premiership but, having taken an early 20 lead against bloody Bolton so-called Wanderers in the playoff at Wemberlee, proceeded to miss a penalty and lose 43 after extra time. Swizz. So much for Geller’s magical effect on the “lads”.
“You support Reading?” says Geller, evidently warming to me.
“I love you for that. I love you for that. Last year I focused all my powers on them and it was their best year in 124 years. I walked to Wembley. I walked there 48 miles. Wembley. I was devastated. We missed that penalty.
But that’s life.” _
But you, sir, are supposed to make everything alright with your spook brain.
He stares hard into my eyes and confidently whispers: “It’s going to be alright. I tell you. Don’t give up hope. I might invite the players over to my home just to give them a good surge of psychic energy. You have to do that sometimes because we use only 10 per cent of our minds. Do you understand me?”
AFTER BEING so exceedingly famous in the 1970s, Uri Geller seemed to disappear from the public sight and the cutlery in the kitchen drawers of a nation breathed sighs of relief. What happened? Where did the wizard go, one wonders?
“Ah, the mystery years, when I decided to disappear. Well, what made me so worldwide known was the TV with David Dimbleby 23 years ago. I sat there and I went like that to a fork (ie he stroked it gently and it bent) and I don’t know what made me look into the camera but I did and I said, You can do this at home; go and grab spoons and forks and bring them to the TV set. And the BBC television system blew up . . . “
Cripes! Geller as precursor to John Birt.
“. . . And people called in to report that things were happening in their own homes. So that made me famous worldwide. So then I started working very hard, doing television and government works and secret works, CIA, FBI, and controversy began. It got to me. I was under constant strain, especially from scientists. One day I said, That’s it, And I disappeared.”
Not disappeared as in vanished in a supernatural, creepy way, you understand. Just sort of retired for a bit.
“I went to Japan. A little hut on Mount Fuji. And I stayed there for a long, long time. It was like a spiritual rejuvenation.” Now he is back and, according to no less a personage than Sir David Frost OBE, who wrote the foreword to Uri Geller’s MindPower Book, at least, a whole new generation is responding to Uri’s “extraordinary psychic talents”.
But what is all this about the FBI and the CIA? Was Geller really a spy? No wonder they call them “spooks”. Can this be true?
“Of course it is true, though some of it is not true. They took me to California and did experiments on me and I didn’t realise it at the time but these experiments were for the US Government. Then when I found out, it startled me, but I was young and naive. I liked the James Bond kind of excitement and adventure.”
Such as? What, pray, did he do?
“Well, some of it is secret, but they gave me different tasks. For instance, one of my tasks was to get close to the government in Mexico and spy on the Russian government in Mexico City, and I had to tell them who was on the third floor, who goes in, who goes out. And then they used to put me on Aero Mexico, first class, and I would sit right next to the two KGB agents who were flying with diplomatic pouches chained onto their arms and my task was to erase the floppy discs in the bags and apparently I did this successfully. Espionage. It was fun! Cloak and dagger! Ha ha!”
CRUMBS. So, one might ascertain, Uri Geller is single-handedly responsible for ending the Cold War. No, he would not go so far as that. He must have been paid tons of money for all this, presumably?
“No. Zero. I’m from Israel so I thought it was ideologically right to help the Americans against the Russians. But then one day they wanted me to do something really scary. I was asked to stop the heart of a pig. Now, not only do I love animals hut I’m a total vegetarian and that scared the hell out of me. Because the heart of a pig is very similar to a human heart, so I figured that what they were trying to do was to see if I could eliminate Yuri Andropov, who was head of the KGB, from a long distance.”
But you’d never use your powers for such destructive ends (give or take a rendered-useless spoon or two)?
“No, of course not. So that really catapulted me out of the whole thing, physically, spiritually, morally, away from the cloak and dagger, under-dungeons, black magic and all that. I was so scared I said I’d never work with scientists or governments again . . .
“But just five or six years ago I was asked to do something and this time they assured me it was going to be very positive and I was asked to fly to Geneva to the Arms Reduction Negotiations and Al Gore was there so it was a weird situation and my task was to send messages to the Russians Sign! Sign! Sign!. And they signed!”
Well. Some might suggest that maybe the Russians signed of their own accord, that Geller’s mind-meddling was superfluous, if existent at all. But then so many of us are sceptics. What does Geller make of the sceptics and the scornful? Does he care?
“At first I thought, no matter what they say about you, as long as they spell your name correctly, that’s good. But then small scepticism turned into vicious attacks on my character and my personality. There were lies written. I was called bad names. I took some sceptics to court and I won. Enough is enough! Why be negative when life is so short? But I won’t allow people to lie about me. If you lie about me, it will cost you a quarter of a million dollars.”
I have been warned.
“These sceptics, these people who lie about me, it’s jealousy and envy and profit and extreme vanitism (sic). Disbelief in God. A creator. Disbelief in anything to do with the powers of the mind. Disbelief in possibilities of extra-terrestrials out there. All that is rubbish. There must be life in outer space. Don’t you agree?”
Erm, up to a point, but what about those who say bending spoons is all very well but what, precisely, is the point?
“Everybody expects me to bend spoons. It is not always possible. Now, there is a very famous scientist at the University Of London and he was asked, What is the point with the spoons? And he said, There isa point. Spoon-bending is very important because it is unexplained! But I don’t just do spoons, I try to use this power for people’s good. It is just that my power manifested itself in a spoon. I was eating soup in my mother’s kitchen in Tel Aviv when I was four years old and the damn thing bent and broke. I didn’t even think about it.
“But it happened. So ever since then, spoons and forks are around. Strange phenomena happen around me. It’s astonishing. And this same power can do other things for you. I used it for dowsing for oil and gold and that made me very wealthy. So there is a point. There is a reason out there. I’m just a little ant in a jigsaw puzzle, saying, What is this power? Hopefully, it will destroy nuclear weapons some day.”
THAT WOULD be nice. But nuclear weapons exist, so one remains unconvinced. Perhaps Uri senses my scepticism, my belief that his “psychic
powers” are so much hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo. For at this point, he hands me a scrap of paper and asks me to draw something, anything, simple. Facing directly towards me, he will try to replicate my drawing on paper of his own as I transmit my thoughts.
I draw a rather wobbly cat. Uri concentrates. “You know, I’m getting something. Oh, this is a little complicated. I’m getting an animal. Am I right? Is it something like this?” He shows me his drawing. It is a rather wobbly cat. I must say, I am staggered. I say something like “Shit!” “See, I even got the whiskers,” he says. And, by jingo, he did. “See. I did it with Ulrika Johnson the other day.”
So now, my disbelief slightly shaken, I produce from my pocket a teaspoon from the Hibbert household brought especially for the occasion and make the inevitable request. I had been expecting him to refuse, to make excuses about conditions being not entirely right, or something, but no. He takes the spoon and, with his index finger, gently rubs the handle and my eyes are not one foot away, as close as yours, dear reader, are to this very page the damn thing begins to curl; yes, it bends until it’s all of a rightangle. I’m shocked. If this is a trick, it’s a damn good one. Curses. This is more impressive than Paul Daniels and the “lovely” Debbie McGee any day. Then we do the drawing “trick” again, him doing the “transmitting” this time. Our drawings are both of houses of identical shape and size. Well, I’ll be jiggered. “You see, that’s what I did for the CIA. I could transmit and influence people. I hope to bring a little hope to the world.”
Outside, on the gravel, the Live! TV crew still cannot get their motor to start. I doubt, now, that they ever will. And Reading will win the European Cup in 1999. Um, probably. . .
Motivational Inspirational Speaker
Motivational, inspirational, empowering compelling 'infotainment' which leaves the audience amazed, mesmerized, motivated, enthusiastic, revitalised and with a much improved positive mental attitude, state of mind & self-belief.
“There is no spoon!”
“The world needs your amazing talents. I need them”
“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”