VARIOUS COMMENTS CONCERNING Uri Geller made in a couple of radio programmes have reminded me that I should long-since have mentioned an occasion involving an acquaintance in some informal tests of Geller"s powers. The point made in the above broadcasts was that during properly controlled scientific investigations those powers always seem to evaporate. But this doesn"t necessarily invalidate the experience of my late friend Oliver Caldecott.
Oliver worked in publishing as an editor, and sometime around 1980 there arose the prospect of handling a book by Uri Geller. It fell to him to discuss matters with the would-be author in the publisher"s London office, and he decided that despite Geller"s huge reputation it would be appropriate in the course of the interview to contrive a couple of simple tests, as a sort of private editorial insurance.
He resolved to present the psychic with two problems. One would be to attempt replication of a sketch made by himself of some unspecified object (he was a considerable artist), the other to describe the contents/subject of a photograph sealed in an opaque envelope. My memory of how the subject for the sketch was decided is that a randomly accessed passage from a book was read until arrival at the mention of an object suitable for drawing. But Oliver"s widow Moyra cannot remember this and thinks that the sketch was picked out of his head, so to say, just before the interview.
However, whatever its genesis, the drawing was so managed that Geller couldn"t possibly have seen it, yet the psychically derived version was reported by Oliver to be a very convincing match. More striking, though, was Geller"s reaction to the sealed photo. After handling the envelope he declared that the contents concerned a wedding. The photo was of Oliver"s son and his wife in the presence of a priest. But the "priest" was no less than the Pope himself, who had agreed to bless the couple"s pre-existing marriage when they visited Rome.
The picture was of that ceremony, so marriage was of the photo's essence even though it didn"t involve an actual wedding. Thus it seems to have been a concept rather than an image which provided the link. But the subjects of both drawing and photograph were of course in Oliver"s consciousness, and Geller might simply have been scanning his mind — if "simply" is an appropriate word for accurate selective telepathy!
The precise conditions obtaining during that little scenario can never be replicated, but it seems difficult to dismiss the upshot as pure chance, and inconceivable that it involved fraud.