Is Uri Geller to be believed? Does the 29-year-old Israeli possess psychic powers?
I don't have the answer. But, in television appearances in this country, Geller has convinced thousands - probably millions - that he does, indeed, have supernatural powers of mind over matter.
He bends keys - seemingly just by gently stroking them or by not even touching them.
He duplicates, or comes close to duplicating, drawings he hasn't seen.
He gets watches that haven't worked for years to start running again in the homes of viewers all across the nation. Or so they testify
When he appeared on the "Today" show, stations reportedly got 40,000 calls from people claiming he had fixed their watches. When he appeared on "The Mike Douglas Show," timepieces from coast to coast are said to have started running as if by magic. When he appeared on a Channel 2 news program a few weeks ago, that station received numerous calls from viewers saying their clocks and watches started running for the first time in months or years.
GELLER will make another appearance on "The Mike Douglas Show," Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Channel 4. He will be cohost for the day's program, which is titled "Uri Geller and the Psychic World." ... Channel 68 presents a program titled "Psychic Phenomena - the World Beyond" each Tuesday at 10 p.m. ... The producer and host is Damien Simpson, an authority in the field of parapsychology.
Geller was a guest on the show a few weeks ago, and it was repeated Tuesday night. It is scheduled to be repeated again at 6 tonight, and you may want to have a look if you've never seen Geller on TV.
Elizabeth Caulder of the Universal Mino Science church in Long Beach is associate producer of "Psychic Phenomena."
"The response from the television audience has been overwhelmingly supportive of the belief that Uri does have some unusual abilities," she said in a letter to me.
"While he was stroking a key on the air, he asked the viewers to get out watches and do as he was doing, stroking lightly and saying to the objects, "Work, work!" ; the switchboard at the station could not handle the quantity of calls that came in..." (saying their watches had started).
A SKEPTIC, of course, might wonder if it isn't only natural for some watches to start running, for a little while at least, if they are handled after being untouched for some time.
Ms. Caulder also wrote: "After stroking a key for only a minute or so, the key bent to approximately 30-degree angle ... Prior to the show, I put several objects out on a table on the set, including two spoons, two knives, two forks and two keys... The following week as I was getting everything together for the show, I took the box that contained the objects and found one of the keys bent. At no time did Uri touch these objects..."
Alos during the show, the associate producer wrote, "Uri correctly identified a drawing made by Damien by duplicating it, using the power of his mind, since he had no foreknowledge of what the drawing was."
Such demonstrations are enough to convince many persons that Geller posseses psychic powers. But noted magician Mark Wilson, whom I interviewed recently, says Uri is only a very good magician and charges that "he refuses to appear on the same TV show with me."
Wilson also told me that the main thing he learned from his psychology professor at SMU was: "People believe what they want to believe."
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