Uri in VEGAN Magazine.
The magazine of the Vegan Society
Interviewing Uri Geller whilst he was peddling away on a bicycle could have been a tricky proposition -were it not for the machine in question being the ‘exercise’ variety. It is not unusual for Uri to conduct business in the saddle and, considering he notches up 50 miles there every morning and follows this up with a brisk 1 1/2 hour stroll around the estate with his five rescued canine friends, it is just as well. Even the most gifted and super-fit psychics need time to sleep!
For a global mega star who continues to fascinate hundreds of millions of us, Uri is incredibly down-to-earth, but it wasn’t always this way. When a much younger Uri left Israel and bent a fork through gentle rubbing and mind control on the BBC’s Dimbleby Talk in 1973, footage of the phenomenon was transmitted worldwide. Gellermania was born. We couldn’t get enough of him. Everyone wanted to meet him: celebrities, royalty, presidents, prime ministers, sporting personalities-even, for rather more sinister reasons, intelligence agencies. Inevitably, Uri’s ego responded accordingly.
But the miracles continued. Watches and clocks that hadn’t worked for years suddenly started and he even managed to will seeds to germinate in the palm of his hand (something he is reluctant to repeat-power over life itself is scary stuff).
Eventually, his hectic, high-living lifestyle proved too much to handle and he developed the eating disorder, bulimia. Fortunately for us, he was nursed back to health through the excellent vegetarian culinary skills and support of Hanna, the sister of his close friend (and natural manager), Shipi.
He married Hanna in 1979 and, since 1984, the couple, Uri’s mum, brother-in-law and children, Daniel and Natalie have lived in a mock American-style colonial mansion, situated in extensive, tranquil grounds in rural Berkshire. The Gellers chose Britain for the education it could offer their children and because they never felt completely safe in the US.
Uri’s business face, Uri Geller Enterprises, is very much a family concern; everyone chips in-including the three Dobermans who help with security (but appear happy to allow strange vegans to wander around-phew!) On my first visit, Uri’s 83-year-old mum was there to greet me; while on a number of occasions when I’ve rung, Uri himself has answered the phone. When you’ve become used to hammering away at seemingly impenetrable walls surrounding celebs this degree of accessibility takes some getting used to! But then this is just the Kinda guy Uri is- friendly, open and above all, positive. Indeed, one of his books, Uri Geller’s Fortune Secrets, aims to instil in its readers just such a mental attitude, by encouraging the development of latent psychic abilities-as do a number of ‘life-improving’ videos he is currently working on with Sir David Frost. It rubs off.
However, I hadn’t made the trying 3-hour trip on some of the most congested and polluted roads in the southeast (delightful though the scenery was on occasion-see, Uri, I’m getting the hang of it!) to have my self worth and morale boosted (appreciated though it was). I wanted to discover more about the ethical concerns of one of the (very) few vegan celebrities -and one who wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supports the work of the Vegan Society to boot.
Uri’s first recollection of being confronted with, and distressed by, animal suffering was as a 9-year-old on a kibbutz, where he witnessed an animal being slaughtered. The idea of dispensing with animal flesh matured in his mind until he was confronted with the bulimia. Though initially motivated to becoming a vegetarian (and subsequently a vegan-he promotes the diet whenever an opportunity arises) through empathy with the suffering of animals, he quickly appreciated the health advantages.
He firmly believes that diet and exercise must go hand-in-hand. It concerns him that many vegans and vegetarians seem to be under the misapprehension that their diets alone will ensure they are disease-free. This attitude fails to take into account other potent factors-such as pollution and pesticide residues.
For those readers who feel they don’t have the time for exercise, Uri’s recommendation is simple: “Use your natural habitat-instead of driving, walk; instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs instead. I’ve just come back from Las Vegas where I stayed in a pyramid-shaped hotel on the 38th floor and I walked up every time I went to my room.” It’s sound advice; Uri is now 49-but looks years younger!
However, just because his diet is ‘alternative’, if he needs help with a health problem he doesn’t see why he should shun allopathic doctors. They can be useful for a diagnosis and the treatment offered may be more appropriate than that available from an alternative/complementary practitioner. He values the choice.
So apart from animal suffering, personal health and the environment what other issues are close to Uri’s heart? Well, the elimination of nuclear weapons for one. It is clear that the prospect of their use, be it through computer malfunction or terrorism, and their devastating effects, genuinely terrifies him. As a result, he raises these fears whenever he has the ear of a top politician (most of whom he’d prefer not to name).
On a personal level, over the last year or so Uri has found himself becoming more spiritual and spending more time with nature, “walking, looking at the flowers, smelling the air, touching the ground, communicating with the animals, praying more.” He is not sure whether this increased awareness of his spiritual needs is a natural consequence of the ageing process.
Although he loves being at home with Hanna, Daniel and Natalie, Uri is very much a ‘doer’. He dabbles in all sorts of business projects- such as clothing, jewellery, health food, books (including a novel,Shawn) and a revolutionary, lightweight, energy-efficient bicycle! Not that he needs to-he made his fortune utilising his dowsing skills to locate oil and gold deposits- but one suspects he finds new ventures exciting and derives satisfaction from being responsible for products which, in some way, will promote peace, good health, a worthy cause or be socially useful.
And talking of peace: one of his outstanding, short-term ambitions is to drive a spoon-covered Cadillac from Egypt to Israel, Jordan, Syria and finally Iraq-all in the cause of harmony in the area and the welfare of Israeli and Palestinian children whose parents have been killed in armed conflict. The car is ready- sporting spoons once owned by the likes of John Lennon, Winston Churchill and Houdini-but Uri’s approaches to Saddam Hussein for permission to enter Iraq have yet to meet with success.
Despite being in semi-retirement, the growing (international) interest in the unknown/unexplained-as evidenced in the UK by the popularity of the X-Files (third series coming soon!) and high viewing figures achieved by Beyond Belief; Strange But True and the Paranormal World of Paul McKenna-means that Gellermania is enjoying a modest revival. In the two months prior to my last visit to the Geller household, camera crews had made journeys from as far away as Japan and Alaska, solely for an interview with the great man.
But how does he do it? The truth is that after decades of scientific scrutiny; we still don’t know. Uri has three theories: that we all possess such power but he is drawing on a fraction more than most; it’s an outside energy
which he is tapping into; or it’s of extraterrestrial origin, given to him by a higher intelligence.
It’s possible we’ll never know-and does it really matter? Don’t we need some mystery in our lives?
If you missed Uri’s utterly amazing feat of cross Channel telepathy on Beyond Belief (28.2.96), keep an eye open for
the imminent release of a Ken Russell directed Disney feature film based on Uri’s eventful life, Mindbender; Uri’s Mindpower Kit, to be launched by Virgin in April; and Uri’s $1m challenge to anyone who can telepathically bend a spoon locked in a safe in his home (for details visit his World Wide Web site: http://www.ungeller.com).
As for me . . . well, it’s not every week you meet a living legend and win a tenner on the Lottery. Coincidence?!
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”