Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Uri Geller - UFO's, metal-bending and the PSI War.

Brendan Burton

"Uri Geller." Two words which seem to invoke passion in anyone who has read about or seen this truly remarkable person. Yet if one is lucky enough to meet or speak to the man himself, you quickly realise what a disarming and genuine person he really is.

So why all the fuss?

Uri says that he first became aware of his mindpower at the age of four. He was eating, when the fork he was using bent and snapped. His mother, a member of the Freud family, was not surprised at his ability and nurtured his childhood accordingly. It was this acceptance, rather than denial, which enabled his self belief. A belief, Uri says, is inherent in all children, it is social conditioning which creates the denial.

After getting wounded during the Six Day War, Uri left the Israeli Army, and worked as a fashion model by day, and at night started to give displays of his mind-power with the support of his brother, Shimson ( Shipi ). His extraordinary demonstrations quickly became well known and he soon developed a professional stage show. Nothing really strange about the story so far, yet word had spread. Far enough to warrant the mysterious Andrija Puharich to enter the scene ( see http://www.forteantimes.com/artic/126/nine.html ).

Puharich had been working previously with the equally mysterious, Dr Vinod, drawing together 'channelled' information on the principles of 'The Nine' and was a pivotal figure in the 'contactee' movement. Under the wing of Puharich, Uri was flown to the USA, where he was introduced to astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and physicists Hal Puthof and Russel Targ. In December 1972 he allowed himself to become the subject of a scientific study undertaken at the prestigious Stanford Research Institute at Menlo Park, California.

I asked Russel Targ to comment on his experiences resulting from the SRI experiments:

" Uri was at our laboratory at SRI for six weeks in 1973. He showed remarkable ESP perceptual ability to describe and draw hidden pictures. He was by no means the best person to visit our lab and carry out this type of remote viewing, but he was certainly better than the average bear in this capability. He did not bend any metal under acceptably controlled conditions, but I have since that time seen and done paranormal bending under excellent conditions."

He went on to give an account of his personal experiences of PK:

"My co-author Jane Katra, a spiritual healer with small delicate hands, rolled up the bowl of a teaspoon at a PK party with Jack Hauk last year. She was quietly meditating (waiting for the party to end, so that we could go home) when she screamed!

The bowl rolled up 180 degrees in her closed fist, and frightened her. We took a picture of the spoon and put it, with its picture into a plastic bag. By the time we arrived home, the bowl had bent an additional 90 degrees, 270 in all. I wouldn't know how to create such a smooth roll, even if I took a spoon to the lab. At the party, I later bent the bowl of a similar spoon by brute force, damaging my hand in the process. The bowl creased sharply as I broke the back of the bowl. It looked nothing like Jane's.

The following month we had another opportunity to go to a PK party. Northern California does have some advantages. At this party Hauk (a metallurgist from Boeing) had one-foot long, 3/8 diameter aluminum rods as objects for bending. Holding one of these rods in my two hands, I had the experience of it getting springy. As I bent it back and forth with my eyes shut, I finally had the impression that it froze in the bent position. This turned out to be about 30 degrees.

Neither I, nor my two athletic sons could bend a similar rod whatsoever, without putting it over a knee, which is again quite a painful undertaking."

The results of the experiments and studies, which presented an " existence of one or more perceptual modalities through which individuals obtain information about their environment " were written up in 'Nature' magazine.

Hal Puthoff says of the SRI experiments;

"Our publications make our statement, and our personal feelings are congruent with what we've published. And in the intervening years of listening to the criticisms of the skeptics we have yet to be shown any viable reason to reassess our position."

This particular point in time seems to have been a key point in the 'Geller phenomena', as the resulting response of disbelief and claims of poor scientific method from a small group of skeptics, resulted in a rise in publicity for Uri which lead to an intrigued media clamouring for his presence. From this point on, Uri became famous for what he is perhaps best known for now, 'spoon-bending', although even the smallest amount of further glance reveals other phenomena displayed by Uri, including, remote-viewing (RV).

So what about skepticism? A small group of hardened skeptics seized the opportunity of the SRI experiments in order to debunk the phenomena. However, debate still rages to this very day and even a cursory glance at skeptic newsgroups on the Internet reveal that some of the key issues and players are *still* picking over the bones. One of the key points held by some skeptics, is that the 'Nature' editorial is evidence that the experiments lacked sound scientific protocols. However, the editorial appears to have been based on the opinion of three ( I have been unable to identify who they actually were ) people. The fact that the CIA continued working with Targ and Puthoff for many years seems to indicate that the CIA found significant cause. ( see: www.biomindsuperpowers.com/Pages/CIA-InitiatedRV.html )

Geller, of course, has moved on. When I spoke with him he revealed that he became uneasy about the motives of some of those who pertained to 'debunk' him. Indeed, there appears to have been a 'PSI war' sparked as a result of Geller's demonstrations. So deep and intractable became the 'war' that Geller felt he had no choice other than to protect himself through the Courts. Law suits were filed and won, yet the campaign to 'expose' Uri became a quagmire of personal attacks as the 'skeptics' failed to provide proof of their assertion that he was somehow 'cheating'. The resulting mess perhaps affected the both the face of 'skepticism' and the progress of scientific co-operation from other people who claimed ownership of similar phenomenal skills. Something quite ugly appeared to have reared its head within the guise of 'skepticism'. Geller, perhaps wisely, walked away and chose to regain his true 'self' which had taken rather a pounding! ( When I spoke with Uri, he told me that he still meets with scientists and accepts the positive motive behind scientific discovery, it seems it is the adversarial 'pseudo skeptics' which Uri has washed his hands with, not skepticism per se. ) Indeed, one only needs to look at the highly credible witness testimony of people like Dr Werner von Braun , Dr EW Bastin and Dr Edgar Mitchell ( see: www.tcom.co.uk/uribiog3.htm ) to see that some of the most credible academics in the world have witnessed both the bending phenomena up close and first hand. Some of these people even witnessed the objects *continued* bending after Uri had touched them.

Skeptics often claim that these people are not experts at recognising the tricks and tools of deception, yet how do we explain the witness accounts of some of the worlds finest stage magicians, also seeing the first hand 'bending' phenomena? ( see: www.tcom.co.uk/uribiog3.htm ). The testimony of these people alone show that Uri Geller is perhaps NOT the 'Parlour Trick' charlatan some pseudo-skeptics claim.

The ability to 'bend' metals by 'mindpower' is known as 'psychokenesis' ( PK). I asked theoretical physicist, Dr. Jack Sarfatti for his experiences of PK:

" PK means action of mind on matter at a distance. The matter is "outside" the "body" in some cases as in the alleged "Geller Effect".

This requires "signal nonlocality" that violates quantum physics.

There is a larger physics "post-quantum physics" that permits "signal nonlocality".

Quantum physics is a limiting case of post-quantum physics in the same way that classical physics is a limiting case of quantum physics.

Consciousness generation is a post-quantum physical process in strong violation of the uncontrollable local randomness of quantum physics. Indeed one can make a sequence of limiting cases of physical theories ;

Post-quantum physics -> quantum physics -> classical physics.Within classical physics we have:
Non-Riemannian Einstein-Cartan torsion-gravity physics (AKA Einstein's Vision of "Unified Field Theory 1929-55) ->

Riemannian zero torsion gravity physics (AKA Einstein's general relativity of 1915) ->

special relativity of 1905 ->

Galilean relativity of Newton's mechanics of 17^th Century."

Sarfatti has some intriguing insight as a witness to the 'bending' pheomena.

"I have seen things ( PK) in my trip to Brasil in 1985 shown to me by a General in the Brasilian Army, allegedly from a UFO that landed in the Amazon jungle, that is like what Uri did with metal but even more complex than what I saw Uri do in 1974.

It's like the Crop Circles evolving into more and more complex forms."

Another credible witness to the Geller 'phenomena was Metallurgist and US Naval scientist, Eldon Byrd. Before his untimely death in late 2002, Byrd had had the opportunity to observe Uri first hand.

I asked him what these observations revealed:

"I first became interested in "paranormal" (in quotes because the phenomena will be "normal" once we understand the mechanisms) phenomena in general after seeing Ted Serios on the Alan Burke TV show (many years ago). The host was a skeptic, but changed his mind after Serios imprinted images on a sealed and guarded video tape.

I first became interested in metal bending after meeting with Uri Geller in the Washington, DC area when he came to do a demo at George Washington University. I first got involved in studying metal bending after Geller altered the memory of a new shape memory alloy of nickel and titanium called NITINOL, invented at the US Navy Government Lab I where I was working at the time.

There were analytical tests run on NITINOL that Geller had altered, including electron micrographs, density, photographic, and microscopic. Other tests on Geller material I did not conduct included electron microscope photos of broken keys, cracked gold rings, broken needles, and water imprinted with energy.

I have made many direct observations of Geller performing telepathy, mending broken watches and clocks, and sprouting seeds. Some of these I have experienced myself, as a recipient."

Q: What is your 'up to date' knowledge of PK and do you have any thoughts regarding the future understanding of PK?

Byrd: "I developed several theories about how PK might work in the metal bending phenomena. As a physical scientist I have always been more interested in phenomena that produce hard analyzable data, rather than the soft statisical pablum of parapsychology.

Recently I have become acquainted with new information on how the mind can interact with biological processes; I have altered my previous theories. That is how science progresses--not with "proof", but by coherency. We are close to understanding how intention can create action at a distance."

During the eighties, Uri moved away from demonstration to put his skills to a more practical test. He began prospecting for minerals and was successful enough to have created the bulk of his fortune by doing so. He also became increasingly positive about his belief that ordinary people could, with personal faith, use similar skills themselves. He took an interest in writing and developed an interest in the medium of the 21st century, the Internet ( see www.urigeller.com )

So what can be learned from this phenomenal story?

It seems, Uri Geller is the real deal. The fact that I have been able to track down and get up to date responses from some of the key figures in this story indicates that what became known as the 'Geller Phenomena', is still held by many people with credible scientific backgrounds as being a very real ability of human 'mindpower'. Indeed, Targ speaks of 'PK Parties' amongst the intteligentsiai, Govt sponsored physicist bending metals bars using the power of their minds.

In his book, 'Mind Medicine' ( Element Books, 1999) Uri sums up what this 'mindpower' is;

"I believe it represents a deep wisdom that we all inherit form our forebears and which, once harnessed, can effectively give every one of us much greater knowledge and insight into out lives. I believe that with such awareness comes healthier minds and bodies. Some of us learn how to tap into this energy earlier than others; some come upon it through trial and error. Others cannot explain it but trust it totally. Its power is formidable and this frightens those who have not yet reached the point of understanding the potency of such an invisible force."

I sought out the opinion of Dr Susan Blackmore regarding Uri. She provided an interesting perception:

" Although millions of people believe in extra-sensory perception, ghosts, UFOs, crystal powers, and the tenets of astrology - the evidence for ESP is controversial (at best), and the claims of astrology demonstrably false. However, people don't want to see endless meticulous experiments with nothing but negative results. Viewers, and the producers who are their slaves, seem to prefer conspiracy theories, beings from outer space, scientists who cover up the truth about our mental powers, and Russians with strong accents who can move trains with their teeth or bamboozle TV presenters with children's party tricks."

In respect of Geller, there is too much credible witness evidence to suggest that he is just employing mere trickery. Indeed, if such were the case, he would be perhaps even more of a phenomenal person, having maintained a level of deceit so powerful it has managed to fool some of the most credible academics in history, people with high level security clearances, physicists, metallurgists, astronauts, magicians, politicians and world leaders, in short - the kind of people we tend to invest our trust into.

Such supposed 'trickery' to such a large and grand scale has certainly never been done before, and leads even some of the most skeptical to consider: "This can't be possible....... can it?"

For more discussions on the inside take of some of these issues check out Open Minds

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