A young man who spoons and break forks without touching them, who can read minds, who on one occasion is said to have teleported on object, and who has before witnesses changed rose wine to a dark red wine, captivated a crowd of 3.000 at Stanford Memorial Auditorium last night.
The extraordinary young man with - 'paranormal abilities' has been under controlled experimental examination at Stanford Research Institute.
The tests were funded in part by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the former astronaut whose trip to the moon has directed him into the field of paranormal research.
Last night Uri Geller, a 27-year-old Israeli, fitting the"tall. d a r k , and handsome" mold, charmed his audience with a disarming simplicity.
He shrugged when some of his efforts failed and grinned broadly at the enthusiastic applause when he appeared to prove on stage that he can read minds, bend keys, possibly heal. He also looked amazed when a couple of second hands disappeared off watch faces. His effort to repair the watches with the power of his mind, which has been successful on other occasions, failed but those who tried to sneak in watches with missing parts couldn't fool him.
Whence comes this "power" beyond normal the extension of senses beyond the common perceptions?
Uri Geller told his audience simply, "My theory is what I do here on the stage or when anything happens around me very little of that is under my control. Today a fork split in half (Geoffrey Smith. Ph.D. at Stanford, had earlier shown the spoon that bent and the fork that split at luncheon. He had witnessed it).
Geller explained. "I don't control it... How this power works around me, I don't know ... But I do believe a great, intelligent power operates through me.
"I believe in God . . . I don't have to make ceremonies about that ...or go to the synagogue ... I believe He is always here, wherever I am ... All these things that happen are an extension of the great flow of Power ... So much is beyond our understanding - I believe there are billions of dimensions in time and space beyond our knowledge today, our world or civilization beyond our galaxies or concepts of time and space either outer space or inner space ... There is no end to it.
"I am just talking for myself. I have no college degree. I believe what I am doing is simply opening the way through this Power to express itself through me ... If there is a messge, I do not yet know it ... But I believe we all have these-powers how or why me. I do notknow."
His questioners in the crowd used his first name, Uri. He projected the kind of immediate warmth that established rapport with the audience most Stanford students.
Geller said franky he didn't expect to change any skeptic's mind. He did ask that those who sat and watched "keep an open mind." He also called on his viewers to focus their attention and energy on words or objects, explaining he needed their powers or concentrated energy to achieve success. He demonstrated several times his telepathic abilities, being able to tell the crowd what words and objects had been written and drawn on the blackboard.
Uri told the audience, many ofwhom had come back for another look, that the previous night had been unsuccessful. He had undergone a series of radio, TV. and newspaper interviews during the day and had been exhausted, he explained.
Geller told his audience that he discovered his psychokinetic powers one day at school at the age of seven when he stared at his watch and the hands moved erratically. He kept that ability a secret after the kids 'let him know they thought he was "kinda weird!"
As for telepathy, he was simply born with the ability, he said, and automatically read his mother's mind. That must have posed an occasional family problem.
In March, 1970, after his friends urged him to display his abilities, he came to the attention of Dr. Andrija Puharich, noted neurologist and leading parapsycholigist for some 25 years. Geller was able to perform some extraordinary feats with a 90 to 100 per cent accuracy rating, Puharich has reported.
SRI has recorded on video tape its experiments with Geller's paranormal abilities. The experiments have included moving hands on a clock, bending metal objects, repeatedly "finding" a target object hidden in a series of containers.
The tests were conducted by Harold E. Puthoff and Russel Targ of SRI. Targ is a laser and plasma research specialist, and has been working in the field ofparapsychology and paraphysical phenomena. Puthoff is a specialist in lasers, quantumphysics, parapsychology and paraphysical phenomena. He is a Stanford graduate.
The scientists reported at Columbiaia- University's Physics Colloquium last March that not alexperiments with Geller and an other individual were considered conclusive. But, they added, "We have observed certain phenomena with the subject for which we have no scientific explanation. All we can say at this point is that further investigation is clearly warranted."
SRI's enormous scientific capabilities and batteries of computers drew certain conclusions out of the research that leave open ended questions and the need for deeper research.
Last night Geller repeatedly called off the right names and colors written on a blackboard by students. He explained, "Ihave like a screen in my mind ... With your help I receive there what you see. It flashes on my 'screen' in terms of color and shape ... I don't feel it or hear it. "I see it." He proved it.
And Geller said he believe many people have the ability without being aware of it.
To the delight of his audience while blindfolded he described the clothing of a girl brought from the crowd. He was puzzled about something "torn hanging from her waist" it turned out to be a scarf.
In probing his telepathic ability in Ohio, Geller drove a car blindfolded. Its windshield was covered with one exception. He had a companion sitting in the car alongside of him who was able to see the road through a small opening.
Geller. it is reported, drove without nicking a fender, though conceded his "co-pilot" was under considerable pressure. His intense concentration helped Geller "see" the road through his passenger's eyes.
Uri bent a girl's compact, another's key. It was visible to the crowd on closed circuit TV. He performed the feats by putting his hands over the girl's hands which held the objects.
There were two first-time experiments in healing. Both persons said they felt radiating heat from Geller's 'hands. They said they felt better. He said "Honest. I do not know if I can do this . . . Get in touch wit me later tomorrow, tell me how you feel." One student on crutches had a snapped Achilles' heel tendon, which appeared to have gained some mobility after Geller's efforts. The other was a middle-age woman with a slow beartbeat. She said her heart was beating "better"
Asked why he made stage appearances instead of devoting himself entirely to scientific research. Geller said simply. "I love doing this, ... I enjoy it ... I love meeting 'people ... but I will always give of myself to experiments."
Some of the credibility-straining accounts included a report of moving (teleporting) a box from one room to another without touching it or breaking its contents. The owner, Geller said, "was very happy with the results."
And in the presence of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop in the Waldorf Astoria, a dinner with wine being served turned into a rare occasion. Geller said the guests were being poured rose wine. When it came to him, "it was as if the wine had changed to blood red ... I wasshocked. The waiter couldn't believe it. The wine bottle had been sealed. He took a spoon to taste it so did I it tasted like Maneschevitz!"
The crowd roared.
Skeptics remained skeptics. Those who want to believe that the paranormal is simply an extension of the "normal," and those who did their best to keep an open mind left with a question mark.
Geller said, "Even if you don't believe what I have done believe that there are as yet unexplained powers without you all here wanting it to happen, it could not have happened."
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