My Story by Uri Geller. Robson Books, 1975. 282 pp. £3.25.
This book is in many ways a useful corrective to Dr. Andrija Puharich's book Uri, reviewed in the December 1974 issue of this Journal. It is less sensational, although much of it is sensational enough for any reader of science fiction. The author, for instance, starts an account in chapter 17 of how he was transported - there is no other word for it - from Manhattan to Dr. Puharich's home in Ossining, a road distance of 36 miles, and about an hour away from door to door, either by train or car, with the words "There is no way I can tell this story without having it sound like science fiction". It is for the reader to make up his own mind on the account of this particular incident.
Mr. Geller says (p. 61) that "The desire to be a performer, to be creative, is very natural to me, although some people think it conflicts with my work in trying to understand the unusual phenomena that are happening". Here he puts his finger on the problem that is a source of worry to many sceptical people. They ask, naturally enough, "If Uri Geller is not some sort of charlatan or showman why does he persist in hugging the limelight?" The answer, it seems to me, having met Mr. Geller, is that is essentially part of his nature to want to be the subject of public attention and admiration, much as a certain type of child does. He his criticised by conjurors who claim to be able to duplicate some of his feats but, as Mr. Geller pointed out to me, "They will not follow me into the laboratory". He admits on p. 199 having added trick material to his stage act in Israel as the result of urging by his manager - "He was very persuasive, and I was young and inexperienced". Mr. Geller's conclusion on this is that "I felt I was wrong the moment I agreed. I didn't realise, though, how big a mistake I was making, one of the most crucial mistakes of my life". This seems to be an honest confession of error and one unlikely to be made by someone who is only a trickster.
Mr. Geller has submitted himself to laboratory tests, as has Mr. Matthew Manning, who's book The Link was reviewed by Dr. Ian Fletcher in the June 1975 Journal. The Link has just been issued by Corgi in paperback (75p) with additional material on experiments carried out in Toronto during the first Canadian conference on psychokinesis and related phenomena in June 1974. This conference was attended by a number of noted scientists who included Professor Brian Josephson , FRS., of the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. Many of our members will want to study the fuller account of the conference in vol. 1 Number 5 of New Horizons, the Journal of a research organisation of whose committee Dr. George Owen, our former council member, is chairman. At a time when we are without the opportunity to study any medium of the calibre of Mrs. Piper or Mrs. Leonard it is surely significant that two people with the powers ascribed to Mr. Manning and Mr. Geller have emerged.