Startling story of Uri Geller | Sunday Observer

Startling story of Uri Geller

On June 21, 1974 a handful of scientists clustered around a strapping, handsome Israeli ex-paratrooper named Uri Geller. He was holding the Geiger counter and concentrating intensely to see whether he could increase the number of counts per second. Suddenly, something strange happened. The clicking chattered faster and the chart recorder zoomed to 200 times than the normal rate. There was nothing to influence the Geiger counter except Geller’s mental concentration. The British scientists agreed that Geller’s mind was the real cause. Thereafter, scientists subjected Geller to several other scientific tests. In the process he bent metals with a slight touch of his finger. He shattered crystals tightly packed in plastic containers. He performed such acts even without touching the containers. Under his mental concentration a compass needle moved to 40 degrees and a magnetometer recorded major changes.

Prof. John Taylor of the University of London’s King’s College Department of Mathematics said, “The Geller effect is clearly not brought about by fraud. He conceded that Geller’s mental powers were a crucial challenge to modern science.

Prof. John Hasted, Chairman of Birkbeck’s Department of Physics and David Bohm, Prof of Theoretical Physics, said with future tests more such instances will accumulate and there will be “no room for reasonable doubt that some new process is involved here, which cannot be accounted for or explained in terms of the present known laws of physics.” They agreed that a human mind could distort matter on the atomic and molecular level through activity patterns of the brain. However, there were dissenting voices. They wished to explain the Geller effect in terms of modern physics.

Tests

This is only one instance where Geller’s mental powers were put to scientific tests. The British scientific journal ‘Nature’ published a report of scientific tests done by California’s Stanford Research Institute. The tests were actually experiments in telepathy (thought transference from mind to mind). Before the tests were done, Geller was insulated from the material to be transmitted to him by a thick-walled steel chamber which provided a visual, acoustical and electrical shield.

While experimenters were selecting drawings, Geller concentrated on what he received telepathically. The drawings depicted a firecracker, a cluster of grapes, a devil, a camel, the solar system, and a flying bird. Geller’s drawings tallied with the experimenters’ drawings. He drew 24 grapes in his bunch. It was the exact number on the original picture. Geller emerged victorious in all the tests.

Again there were dissenting voices. The scientists hired by ‘Nature’ said the Stanford report was ‘weak in design and presentation.’ They also alleged that adequate precautions against fraud had not been taken. Meanwhile, there was criticism against Geller for he used to charge a hefty fee for his lecture demonstrations. Critics said he was taking the scientific community for a ride. Prof. Joseph Hanlon in an article published in ‘New Scientist’ mercilessly attacked the experiments as ‘simple magic.’ However, the scientists who took part in the Geller experiment confirmed that they had taken adequate precautions against fraud.

Milbourne Christopher, a professional magician, wrote a book explaining how conjurers performed similar acts attributed to Geller.

Magicians

He alleged that Geller was using tricks and he had avoided appearing before magicians for fear of being exposed.

However, Geller never identified himself as a magician. So he flatly rejected the claims put forward by magicians. He reminded them that their criticism was based on speculation, but his experiments had been scientifically documented.

Geller’s father bought him a watch when he was in school. Whenever he wore the watch something strange happened. The hand of the second jumped ahead and the watch ultimately became useless. When silverware and keys at home started bending, his parents were alarmed.

Although he became a butt of classroom jokes, Geller could see in his mind’s eye the answers written by the brightest student during examinations. When he and his mother moved to Cyprus, after his parents’ divorce, Geller tried to hide his strange powers.

Paratrooper

Geller was 20 when he became an Israeli paratrooper. He was wounded in the war and hospitalized. While recovering he surprised his comrades by bending metal objects by simply stroking them with his finger. He also gave telepathic demonstrations and repaired broken watches by touching them. When he became popular, Geller used to have his own professional manager for his demonstrations.

When American parapsychologists heard of Geller’s strange feats, they invited him to be present at the Stanford Research Institute for a series of scientific tests.

During the demonstrations, Dr Andria Puharich reported strange materializations and dematerializations of objects such as ashtrays, paperweights, suitcases, cameras and other items.

John G. Fuller reported how an ashtray was lifted off the table and disappeared and reappeared 15 feet away. A paperweight from his desk dropped behind his ankle as he walked on the lawn.

Geller claimed that he could communicate with extra-terrestrial sources. While he was being interviewed by Puharich a strange voice recorded on tape claimed that he was an extra-terrestrial source using Geller as a channel. However, Geller confessed that nobody believed his views.

Bending

The most dramatic event took place when he was interviewed on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in November 1973. When he started bending keys, BBC was inundated with telephone calls from listeners. They said knives, forks, spoons, and keys in their homes had started bending. Even their clocks which had not worked for several years started ticking. A gold bracelet worn by a girl was also twisted. Although Geller failed to show his skills at certain demonstrations, especially at the Jonny Carson show, he never gave up demonstrations. He said he was giving the lecture demonstrations for two reasons. One was to make a living. The other was to bring pressure on the scientific community to accept the “Geller effect” unconditionally. However, rationalists such as Dr Abraham T. Kovoor simply dismissed his paranormal powers.

By the way, in 1974 Geller had a paternity suit filed against him by a young blonde mother in Sweden. She did not claim that Geller was her baby’s father. She claimed that his magical bending powers had altered her contraceptive loop making it inoperative. At the trial she produced the loop in evidence.

With all the scientific evidence some people still believe that Uri Geller did not challenge the immutable laws of physics. Only time will reveal the answer.

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