From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: Uri Geller
23 Aug 22012
1) Great site. Absolutely. Kudos.
2) You have on your Uri Geller page: "Geller is a Hungarian/Austrian who was born in Israel and lives in England." Really? I thought that if at all, he was plainly "Jewish".
Also, that he was born, grew up and lived in Israel until the age of 20 something. "Hungarian/Austrian" you say. I guess his dad was Hungarian, or was it his mom, or grandmother? Who gives a ƒÚ©∆ about that? Tell me, and yourself too, why not "Jewish"? Are you doing us Jews a favour 'cause he's a fraud?
I can't tell you how many documentary films I've seen on TV that fail to mention the jewishness of the protagonist. As one example (out of scores) had it, Einstein was German. Yes, he was, before being kicked out of Germany for being Jewish.
To me, my experience speaking here, your phrasing smells a little teeny bit Antisemitic. Funny that you didn't mention in your pages dealing with Racism that you yourself dabble in in it sometimes.
Jory Kenneth, Israel
reply: Sorry, I forgot to mention that I dabble in racism (and sexism, ageism, homophobia, shilling for Big Pharma, and a few other perversions) sometimes. So little time, so much to remember.
Just for my notebook on personal perversions: is my anti-Semitism exposed by my not mentioning that Geller is Jewish or by criticizing someone who is Jewish, or both?
04 Jan 2000
I need to tell you what I saw on the biggest TV-channel here in Sweden, TV 4, on New Years eve. They had an interview with Uri Geller in London and he talked about how he would stop the clock Big Ben at 11 something at night.
The interview was absolutely uncritical and the comments were "wow, I wonder if he can really do that". They also showed him bending a key the reporter gave him, with his mind of course. (Or with a trick, more likely.) They did ask him a critical question, "what if you don't succeed"? And he replied that he was not a miracle worker so that might happen. He got his airtime, they showed some book of his about healing or something.
I'm not sure if he actually was able to stop the clock, but my guess
would be no.
reply: I think that would be a safe guess.
Geller's been promoting his book in the U.S., too. He even got a spot on the Tonight show! He's also got his lawyers suing Nintendo for using a Pokemon character who carries a bent spoon and gives people headaches, according to the BBC.
9 Jul 1998
Subject: Uri Geller- The Skeptic's Dictionary - Putting you on notice
Mr. Bob Carroll,
This office represents Uri Geller. Your Skeptic's Dictionary on the internet was brought to our attention. Your placing Mr. Geller's name under the heading Frauds, Hoaxes, Conspiracies is highly libellous [sic], defaming and damaging. You should have consulted your international libel lawyers, since libel laws vary from country to country. We have passed your Skeptic's Dictionary page over to our attorneys both in the USA and Europe for immediate action.
CC: Richard W. Winelander, Esq. Baltimore, MD
Bob Foglenest Esq. New York, N.Y.
Gordon Hausmann, Curry CH. Hausmann Popeck solicitors, London
Ruth Liebesman Attorney at Law, New York
reply: Thank you for calling my attention to what has been called to your attention. I have consulted with my specialist in international libel law about false accusations of libel being libelous. I am informed that interpretations vary on this issue and that I should consult a good psychic instead of a lawyer. My psychic tells me that my filing clerk is responsible for this egregious error and should be made to do an internship at your office as punishment.
In any case, immediate action has been taken and the error has been corrected. Uri Geller is now listed under the heading of the Paranormal and the Psychic. Would it please you if I were now to list my own name under the heading of Frauds and Hoaxes?
Yours with all the respect you are due,
p.s. Please feel free to pass on this e-mail to your illustrious colleagues. Remind them of what happened the last time Geller claimed someone libeled him.
11 Jul 1998
Be careful man, he could do the same thing to you that he did to his soccer team!
reply: The following might clarify Mr. Slenkser's comment:
29 Apr 1998
Glen Hoddle (a noted born again evangelical Christian), the England World Cup Team Soccer manager/coach is now forcing his players to visit an "official World Cup Faith healer" called Doris, in order for her to lay hands on injured and uninjured players. This is big news here in soccer crazed Britain and has been widely and relatively uncritically reported in the UK press, with the knowledge that England supporters are desperate to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966. Many commentators (who should know better) and the general public seem to be going along with it. Hoddle has great "faith" in Doris and apparently has used her "powers for many years both as a player (he was one, if not the greatest English players in the late 80's/90's) and as a coach/manager. I'm sure you can glean more information from the net on other sites, particularly those to do with football/soccer/England.
To my knowledge Uri Geller has not been used by Glen Hoddle to dowse
for goals for the England team though he has publicly announced his services to the
England organisation on more than one occasion. He is however a rabid Reading FC fan and
goes to all games, both home and away, providing his "para"services. Reading
have just been relegated from the 1st (note: not the Premier League) to the 2nd division 2
weeks before the end of the season. He also provides his services to Swansea FC who are in
the bottom 5 of division 3 and also struggling to fight relegation.
reply: Mr. Hoddle seems like a fine fellow. The BBC reports that he is suing Uri Geller for libel and malicious falsehood. Hoddle's faith healer may be called to testify that it is false that Hoddle sought Geller's help. Over here we call these kinds of lawsuits "frivolous."
16 Mar 1998
I agree almost entirely with your analysis of Uri Geller. I don't however accept that he simply performs magic tricks, as to say this is an insult to magicians everywhere. In November 1997 I interviewed Uri in his home and watched him bend a spoon. Any magician that had to turn his back on his audience twice and leave the room altogether during the performance would be derided, yet this is exactly what Uri did. Performing magic tricks requires skill and dexterity. From what I saw, Uri has neither.
15 Aug 1996
Here in GB we have a weekly Radio programme where a Psychiatrist, Dr Anthony Clare, interviews a national celebrity. This week it was Uri Geller. Amongst the facts I did not know about Uri were that he was injured during the 6 day war, was sent to Catholic school despite the Judaism of his family and he has suffered all his adult life from bulimia. (Just like Di!). Also live on radio he used his mental powers to bend the car keys of the producer of the programme who had been rudely sceptical of his powers.
He is also a supporter of Reading United (a soccer club) and used his powers to such an extent that Reading had the worst record of any top flight English soccer club. He blamed the failure of his power during one televised three-nil defeat on "the weather". Perhaps Britain is not the best place for him.
I would add that I have much personal affection for Geller having met him three times and enjoy his skills much more than those of David Copperfield et al.
18 Dec 1998
I recently met Uri Geller on a promotional tour of a biography, and thought you would be amused to hear of a few of the things which happened.
I attended a book promotion of Geller's at Waterstones bookshop in Manchester, UK. He was there with his biographer, Jonathon Margolis, who claimed to be a 'profound skeptic' who was converted by demonstrations of Uri's powers. Hmmm... Anyway, we heard of Uri's remarkable work for Mossad, the CIA (he forced the Russians to sign peace treaties with the power of his own mind no less), his encounters with aliens, his hope to rid the world of nuclear weapons by a collective use of the world's psychic conciousness, and verification of his powers by any number of scientists, including a publication in Nature.
Margolis related how his 'profound skepticism' was worn away by Uri's ability to bend spoons and how 'wierd things happened when he was around'. I particularly enjoyed it when Margolis revealed that now he too had the ability to bend spoons! All this was met by the gasps of an audience of which, I fear, my companion and I made up the total of skeptical attendees. Still, the free wine and food was plentiful and my mood brightened when I began to realise just how comically farcical the man really is.
His few attempts at demonstrating any powers were dismal. His spoon bending took place just a few yards from me. After a few moments he claimed a very small bend was appearing; a bend which I could not see, but some onlookers (including a few at the other side of the room) confirmed. At this point he apologised for being very tired and suggested that he could use some help. Pointing to the back of the room, he invited someone to assist his psychic powers. Leading them to the front of the room he started to rub the spoon again. However, during this brief distraction the spoon was not in common view and I was hardly surprised when he almost immediately demonstrated a visible bend in the spoon. Visible maybe, but done in anything other than a conventional manner? My skepticism remains.
At one point in the evening, a banging was heard to emanate from upstairs. Uri stopped talking, and left a few dramatic moments of silence before saying "I hope that wasn't me". Ha! In a busy city centre bookshop, he was trying to take credit for sounds which could come from any number of sources. During the entire performance, a saxophonist was heard to be playing from the street outside but I note Uri didn't try to put that down to his psychic powers.
The best was yet to come. Uri invited questions from the audience. After a few fairly sycophantic questions Uri pointed at a young lady with her hand up, exclaiming 'Now, let's have a question from the skeptic'. His intention, I guess, was to demonstrate some psychic skill by guessing the woman's question. However, I could barely conceal my amusement when she replied "Actually, I'm not a skeptic, I just wanted to ask... Isn't it true, that at any one point, there are 76 different types of aliens on the planet?"
Getting annoyed, I asked him (and his biographer) why they didn't prove their powers by taking part in the Randi challenge. Their replies were classic ad hominem. Randi was persecuting Geller, he was a magician and an illusionist, and therefore to be distrusted (the irony of it!), his challenge was both 'babyish' and 'unfulfillable', and the legal contract required by the challenge entitled Randi to all earnings of successful challengers!
I would have concluded that the man is just a harmless fraud but for a rather unsavoury event at the end of the the evening. Unprompted, an elderly married couple stood up and related to all present of Uri's kindness in visiting their terminally ill son in hospital. Tragically, their boy died in a car accident a few weeks later. However, after the funeral, Uri phoned them and told them their son would contact them. This message came, they told us. It came when Uri asked them if they had any watches that no longer worked. Sound familiar? Upon examining an old watch, it miraculously started working.This was their son's message.
Entertaining people by tricking them into thinking he can bend spoons with his mind is one thing; misleading vulnerable and bereaved people is quite another. Anyway, that's Geller for you.
I apologize for the length of this mail, but I felt I had to illustrate my experience of this man. Please keep up your good work. As Shakespeare said 'Modest doubt is the beacon of the wise'. Daniel Poxton