If you don’t know who Uri Geller is then you’re probably on the wrong blog. But, just in case, I’ll give a short description. Uri Geller is an Israel born psychic (so he claims) who mostly lives in UK for the last 20 or more years. Geller was a huge phenomenon during the 1970ies when he conquered the international stage by displaying feats of telekinesis and psychic extra-sensory perception, mostly by performing spoon bending and similar stunts. He also was verified by several researchers in US and, apparently found genuine. After his huge success he lowered his profile, partly after an unfortunate appearance on a TV show where he was asked to display his abilities without his prior knowledge. In any way, Uri Geller is one of the most controversial figures in the parapsychology community.
James Randi is a stage magician and the most known sceptic of any paranormal phenomena. He is also the head of an international association of skeptics. In the past Randi has furiously attacked Uri Geller, along with other people who claimed to be psychic. Randi even wrote a whole book on Uri Geller titled Truth About Uri Geller. In this book Randi describes how all of Geller’s “tricks” can be performed using ordinary stage magic.
More than anything James Randi is known for what’s called “Randi’s million dollars challenge”, where he promises to give $1m to one who’ll be able to prove his paranormal abilities under strict scientific conditions. There’s a lot of talk about this challenge and Randi has recently revamped it to filter all the “lunatics” who try to claim the prize and decided, instead, to actively attack known claimed psychics. The first four to be attacked are Sylvia Browne, Jonh Edward, James Van Praagh, and, who else, Uri Geller.
But I don’t want to enter this debate much further, since I don’t hold any concrete information on Uri Geller, and yet I believe in the existence of mind power in the general. But I tend to take seriously the opinions of people that I respect. I’ve previously asked two people about Uri Geller’s abilities and they both answered me that they believe at least some of his abilities. You can read about these in my interview with Jeff Mishlove and interview with Cynthia Sue Larson.
These days Uri Geller has returned to Israel to participate in a new TV show called “Uri Geller seeks a heir”. The show had 9 participants and was in the usual format of the contemporary show, such as American Idol where on each show one participant leaves the show. The participants contest for the best show. It is a huge hit in Israel with highest ratings.
Back to James Randi. Apparently, Randi wrote a furious email to the head of the israeli association of state magicians. Of the 9 participants 8 are members of this association. Randi was very upset at the association for it allowed the participation of its members in the show and did not come out to expose Uri Geller for what he really is. The head of the association replied to this that the association doesn’t see anything wrong with the show and that none of the participants claim to possess any supernatural powers, and that they are stage magicians in the field of “mentalism” and perform on the show.