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Abracadabra - 2 February 1974

An open letter from James Randi

I HAVE resisted comment until now, but feel I must break silence to explain my stand on the Geller matter, particularly since the irresponsible comments of Mr. Peter B. Osborne in Abra 1454.

In the periodical 'Magick,' Mr. Bascombe Jones saw fit to accuse me of gross improprieties concerning exposures and stated that my campaign against Geller was the result of jealousy. This is hardly the case. If you will refer to Ali Bongo's comments of importance on Geller, you will see my stand almost exactly. I know a bit more about this young man than you chaps do over there; for one thing, he is intending to enter the 'psychic healing' field 'soon' and when he starts into that racket, he can kill people. He is well on his way to becoming a religious figure, and he is ruthless in his methods to do so.

People like Geller give all of us in magic a black eye. He is in every respect a dangerous and insidious figure. I'll make no bones about it at all: I'm out to stop him at all costs, though it certainly will not be necessary to bring the conjuring profession down with him. I would expect that those in the magic field would share the responsibility for putting the man out of business.

As for 'exposures' - an article in a prominent magazine here had a full account of Kreskin's use of the clip-board, an explanation of the blindfold drive and mentions of the Corinda books and other secrets of our profession. Since my name was mentioned in close connection, the rash assumption was that I had provided this material. Not so. The author went to a New York magic store and asked advice, then was sold the implements and books over the counter just like anyone else who asks for them! The writer had no hand in any exposure whatsoever, and irresponsible statements to the contrary are unfair and defamatory.

Gentlemen, I am proud of the profession I follow. I am proud to know that I have been afforded a certain recognition in the field, particularly that I have been accepted into such important organizations as The Magic Circle. I know of no calling which depends so much upon mutual trust and faith as does ours, and I am not about to violate this dependancy. But when a self-styled wonder-worker comes upon the scene and declares that he has God-given supernatural powers, when this same man upsets the sanity of so many of our young people, and when he makes the world of science look ridiculous and precipitates actions that eventually will bring prominent men of medicine and science to disgrace and ridicule, I say that each and every one of us has the obligation to fight the charlatan.

A word of caution: do not assume that Geller uses standard conjuring methods to accomplish his chicanery. I have been able to solve his methods only by careful study of videotapes, interviews of persons personally involved, and by rejecting all involved physical explanations. 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. He is a consummate performer, and had he arrived in true colours as a conjurer, he'd have found no more ardent supporter than this magician.

Yes, Mr. Osborne, I am a professional magician. And I'm proud of it. Will you join me in defending the integrity of our profession?

Uri Geller - a bibliography- homepage