PSI RESEARCHERS MAY be encouraged to know that new evidence can turn up at any time in the unlikeliest places, such as the magazine Autosport. In its November 16th issue, columnist Pit Bull describes how he came across a copy of my book Mindforce in his local Tesco (you can't get it anywhere else, by the way) and was intrigued by my account of the spanner-bending done by Uri Geller at Silverstone in 1998. The result was produced at the Northhampton conference.
Pit Bull issued an appeal to readers who might have witnessed the event, and as announced in the November 23 issue, at least one of them had. "I was about one metre away from Uri when he bent the spanner," he wrote. "[It] came straight from one of the mechanic's cabinets and Uri had no way of having touched or even seen the spanner before he made it droop over to one side."
We now have three separate witnesses to this incident - driver Ricardo Rosset, Autocar columnist Eion Young (or his source) and one of the Tyrell mechanics. If there is still anyone around who insists that "magicians can repeat the entire Geller repertoire", as was alleged in that infamous 1997 Channel 4 programme, Secrets of the Psychics, here is your chance to win £500. That is what I will give to anyone who can straighten out by hand the spanner bent (normally) at Imperial College with the help over nearly 600 kilos of shove as measured on their strain gauge. There is a catch - as there always is on these occasions ... you have to be on your own, watched by me and wearing a sleeveless T shirt. And if you fail, you pay me £500.
URI TRIGGERS A CHAIN reaction was the front-page headline of the Jewish Telegraph (15th December). Uri Geller was one of the guests at the paper's 50th anniversary dinner, and the chain in question was around the neck of Liverpool's Lord Mayor Eddie Clein, and held the Jewel of Liverpool, a handsome gold and diamond-studded medallion, valued at a six-figure sum. (The Sun Alliance policy, I see, "does not exclude psychic phenomena"). When the two were introduced, Uri remarked that maybe he should not get too near the chain, just in case...
They then sat down at separate tables twenty feet apart, and this is how the Lord Mayor described what happened half an hour later. "I was just leaning forward to reach for the pepper when I heard and felt a rattle and found the back of the jewel hanging outward and bending. It continued bending for a few minutes ... it had been as solid as granite when [my attendant] put it around my neck. I know some people say Geller is a magician but I don't".
It seems that all six rivets holding the engraved gold disc to the back of the medallion appeared to have bent on their own to the point where the disc came off altogether. It was also slightly bent. The well-witnessed incident caused considerable excitement at the time, and made the news all round the world. The jeweller to whom the medallion was given for repair found the damage "highly unusual and very strange". He added that "in my entire professional life as a jeweller I have never seen anything like this".
Uri himself was equally surprised, "I must have seeded the Mayors mind with the thought that something could happen", he told me later. This may be magic, of a kind ... but not as we know it.