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Research in Parapsychology - 1976


THE GELLER CONTROVERSY: THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY

John Beloff - University of Edinburgh


Quite apart from its intrinsic interest, the case of Uri Geller is important first because it has led to the re­ vival of macro-PK phenomena and second because, in conse­quence, it has encouraged a number of physicists to concern themselves with the problem of the paranormal, as happened in the early days of psychical research. What is here re­ ferred to as the "Geller controversy" is the dispute which still rages as to the validity or genuineness of the phenomena, not the different views which prevail concerning the correct interpretation of those phenomena assuming them to be valid.
 The Geller controversy may be considered to have passed through three successive phases. First, a positive phase starting with Geller's initial impact on his worldwide audience and culminating in the Stanford Research Institute investigation by Targ and Puthoff. Second, a negative phase in which spokesmen for official science counterattacked, dwell­ ing on the suspicious features of Geller's performances and behavior and on his involvement with conjuring and showman­ ship. This counterattack was spearheaded by the stage magi­cians, in particular by James Randi, who specialized in simu­lating Geller effects and whose book, The Magic of Uri Geller , dealt a severe blow to Geller's international reputation as a psychic.
 It is here suggested that a third phase has commenced in which the emphasis has shifted to Geller's many imitators. The contributions to this symposium deal largely with the evidence from this source which includes the many "mini-Geller" children. The most notable exponent of Geller-type phenomena at present is the French psychic Jean-Pierre Girard, who has survived a number of stringent tests. How­ ever, not until all this evidence has been published and di­ gested will it be possible to proclaim that the balance has shifted decisively in favor of the reality of the phenomena.


©Journal of Parapsychology


Uri Geller - a bibliography - homepage