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Journal of the Society for Psychical Research - Vol.48   No. 764 - June 1975 - pp. 121-123


Letters

Guy Lyon Playfair



MADAM, - I was glad to see H.C. Berendt's remark that Eusapia Paladino is still being discussed today, and on the assumption that Uri Geller may still be being discussed by the time this Journal appears, may I make a small contributuion to the search for the fatcs behind his reported feats?
 "One experiment I did with Andrija (Puharich) was when he asked me to go to Brazil out of the body. I got to this city and asked a person where I was and he told me it was Rio de Janerio. Then someone came up to me and pressed a brand new one-thousand cruzerio note in my hand and it appeared in my hand on the couch by Andrija - to prove I was there."
 Thus Uri Geller, in the JUne 1973 issue of Psychic. This incident stuck in my mind for two reasons:
 1. There were no 1,000 cruzeiro notes in circulation at the time this incident allegedly took place (March 1973).
 2. People in Rio de janerio, a city I know well, do not hand money to strangers, thought they often releive them of it.
 Accordingly, I wrote to Psychic, which printed my letter (Dec. 1973) along with a note from Dr. Puharich in which he gave the serial number of the note and said he hoped I could identify the issue.
 I did so and found that the note in question was shipped from New York to Brazil on April 17th, 1963. Now, for a banknote to remain "new (not handled)", in Puharich's own words, for almost ten years in the humid climate of a country with a highly inflationary economy is doubly improbable.
 As a further check, I learned from the Brazilian Central Bank that the note in question probably went into circulation in the second half of 1963.
 I passed on all this information to Puharich, asking if he had thought of having the note fingerprinted. A good stiff new note might retain a print, especially in view of the high humidity in Rio de Janerio. If an unidentified print were found on the note, I offered to help locate its owner. This is theoretically possible, since everybody in Brazil is fingerprinted.
 Puharich did not reply. Nor has he replied to two follow-up letters. I then sent my finding to the editor of Pschic, along with the information that, as I had discovered, not only was this banknote shipped to Brazil in 1963, but so was Dr. Puharich. As fas as I am aware, in this year he made the first of several trips to Brazil. He might have received the 1,000 cruzerio note himself (then worth about 50 U.S. cents) and forgotten to change it back to dollars when he left. He might have left it in a crack of his sofa - money often finds its way into concealed parts of sofas - and U.G. might have found it there in March 1973.
 The editor of Psychic, after several months of silence, replied (in November 1974) that my material had been "inadvertently filed away". He added that he thought what was needed was an "in depth evaluation of the money in hand". I replied to the effect that I thought I had done just that: that I was unable to spend any more time on the case: and that I found it difficult to take it seriously in view of the obvious lack of interest on the part of Psychic and of Puharich in further investigation.
 An intriguing detail of this story is that the Brazilian banknote seems to be the only piece of evidence for Uri Geler's alleged abilities not to be dematerialized by Hoova, Rhombus IV B and the rest of the gang. I should also mention that in 1973 I had a very high regard for Dr. Puharich whom I then believed to be a serious and imaginative researcher.
 Yes, we are still talking about Eusapia Paladino. This is mainly because Everard Feilding and his colleagues were able to investigate her properly in 1908 and give us some of the best evidence ever recorded for the reality of assorted PK phenomena. Moreover, they left the evidence where such evidence should be left - in the Proceedings (Vol. 33, Part 59) of our society. Paladino was widely regarded as a total fraud up to the 1908 Naples sittings, and it will be interesting to see if she and Geller turn out to have more in common than Feilding and Puharich.

G.L. Playfair

Sao Paulo, Brazil




© Guy Lyon Playfair/The Society for Psychical Research

Reproduced with permission

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