Uri Geller - a bibliography - homepage

Correspondence with Eldon Byrd

September/October 2001

See also:

  • Eldon Byrd - Uri Geller's influence on the metal alloy nitinol
  • Marting Gardner - Geller, Gulls and Nitinol

  • Q - According to Gardner the wire affected by Uri at the Isis center when reannealed by Ron Hawke returned to its original shape, losing the "permanent" kink. Why do you think this occurred?
  • A - Easy: the memory is reconfigured when the material is taken back to its transition temperature and re-annealed.

  • Q - Why do you think the Naval Surface Weapons Center denied that they had attempted to reanneal this wire?
  • A - They didn't "deny" anything--the re-annealing was done at LLL.

  • Q - Have any of the other pieces of wire affected by Uri been reannealed in order to confirm Hawke's results? If not, why is this?
  • A - Re-annealing the material destroys the memory. Why would we want to do that to all the samples?

  • Q - After Uri had affected the first piece of wire at the Isis Center was he asked to repeat the experiment with any of the remaining pieces?
  • A - There were several more pieces that he influenced under more controlled conditions later on. Various tests were performed on them.

  • Q - What happened to the remaining pieces on this occasion?
  • A - They were all locked in a safe for 10 years in sealed envelopes. Upon opening the sealed envelopes and checking the wires, all were found to have reverted back to their original memory configuration. This is typical of "psychic" interaction with liquids, where the effect is temporary. Why with the NITINOL, I don't know.

  • Q - Gardner claims that the 0.5mm wire was available to the public via the NSW Public Affairs Office, was this the case and does it also apply to the 1.5mm wire that Uri tried to affect?
  • A - Short pieces were available, but not long pieces (the additional test pieces were from a single long strand) or the larger diameter.

  • Q - Why do you think that Uri was unable to affect the 1.5mm diameter wire?
  • A - Same material, just a larger diameter. It is harder to mechanically kink the larger wire.

  • Q - Do you accept Gardner's claim that a semi-permanent "kink" (of a kind that will produce the effect you saw when the wire was placed in boiling water) can be produced by biting the wire etc?
  • A - Yes, by overcoming the elastic modulus, a new local memory can be induced. However, the Geller kinks were so sharp that all attempts to duplicate them broke the wires.

  • Q - In Jonathon Margolis's book, "Uri Geller - Magician or mystic" he states that the wires used at the second session were marked using "binary coded decimal numbers". What did this involve and do you believe that these markings could have been reproduced by anyone attempting to introduce duplicate wires?
  • A - In addition to marking each wire (cut from a single strand) with BCD (using a razor blade), the pieces were cut with a soft fingernail clipper that created a unique end on each piece. These were photographed. There was absolutly no way the wires could have been switched, because I told NO ONE of the encoding scheme until after I had examined them upon return. What I got back were them same wires I started with.

  • Q - Are copies of the tape recording made at the second session still available?
  • A - I don't think so. They were audio tapes and do not tell much, except to indicate that Ron Hawke and I were both watching Uri. It is imposible to tell much from them. The purpose of the tapes was to analyze them with the PSE to see if Uri was lying about anything. The results were inconclusive.

  • Q - Re point 1. My understanding from reading your original article was that re-annealing had been attempted at the NSW lab:
    "Several metallurgists at the Naval Surface Weapons Center who had examined and tested the wire were intent on removing the kink. They put the wire under tension in a vacuum chamber and heated it by passing an electric current through it until the wire glowed. When they removed the wire from the chamber and laid it on a cooling plate, it was, indeed, straight. But as the wire cooled down to room temperature, the kink spontaneously returned."

    Was this process equivalent to re-annealing and what was the subsequent LLL test for?

  • A - The test at NSWC was not designed to re-anneal the wire, just see if they could get rid of the kink short of re-annealing, which WILL get rid of the new memory. LLL wanted to see if re-annealing the wire would really get rid of what Geller had done to it.

  • Q - re point 2. Gardner quotes the statement from the P.A.O., re the testing done at the NSW lab:
    "The occurence of that test could not be confirmed by laboratory records or by metallurgists at the laboratory."

    Gardner then adds,

    "Dr. Frederick E. Wang, the navy's top nitinol expert, was the man who Byrd thought had made such a test. Wang cannot remember making it."

    Is Gardners statement misleading or in error?

  • A - Wang yielded to the pressure put on him. He did the tests; I had the results in the form of photos, x-rays, etc, he produced.

  • Q - re point 4. As Uri had apparently just performed a feat beyond scientific understanding with relative ease it seemed natural to me that he would be asked to repeat it. Was there a particular reason why this wasn't the case?
  • A - No one asked him to. I did repeat it after the NITINOL experts wanted to rule out any possible imperfections in the original wire. What they supplied me had been pre-checked and found flawless.

  • Q - re point 6. Were the short pieces of wire available to the public of a greater length than those used in the tests themselves? Could someone obtain slightly longer lengths of wire by offering to pay or by simply asking nicely?
  • A - The small diameter wire was commercially available from a single source, if you knew where to go. It was located somewhere in NV, as I recall.

  • Q - re point 9. Gardner suggests that you could have received your original wires back after they had been tampered with. This would involve substituting your wires, temporalily, with wires which appeared the same to the naked eye, then switching yours back in. Would it have been necessary for someone to know your encoding system in order to duplicate the razor marks? (I'm assuming that the "Unique cutting marks" on the ends of the wires could only be checked by later comparison with the photographs, hence a switch would not be immediately obvious).
  • A - Who would have tampered with them? Uri? He is one of the most untechnical people I know. I took most of the wires back immediately. They never left my sight and were sealed in special envelopes. The few I left with Uri were the larger diameter ones and maybe a couple of the smaller diameter. There was nothing special about the smaller diameter wires when retrieved them WITHOUT WARNING from his secretary.

    The following is Dr. Byrd's reply to supplimentary questions that I can't find copies of!

  • A - The two tests were different, and not designed to corroborate each other. I never rejected the BCD coding usefulness. To the contrary, it insured that the wires I got back were the same. However, as you pointed out, those I left with him could have been 'tampered' with while in his possession--if they were, they were 'tampered' with in a way that defies explanation. Most of them could not have been tampered with because they never left my sight/possession. The tests I did were NOT intended to be scientific experiments, as Panati stated in his book, but rather, scientific demonstrations, to spur funded investigations. The PAO at the Lab stated that my time and government equipment use was ok, because they had a vested interest in looking into all reported anomolies of NITINOL. Clearly, Uri created ananomolies that are just now being understood, at the quantum level. In those days, we were only looking at the level of the magnetic domains in the material and the lattice structure. It has taken 30 years to get funding to seriously look at the phenomenon. It appears to be close, but hasn't happened yet. Will let you know when (and if) it does. If I am allowed to divulge the source, you will be surprized. Eldon October 5th

    Uri Geller - a bibliography - homepage