CHICAGO, (NANA) - Maybe if I tell you exactly how it happened, you'll believe me.
I was in the office, working on a story, when I get a call from Joan McGrath, a friend who is in public relations. How would you like to meet Uri Geller tomorrow? She says.
I say ... I don't know who Uri Geller is and she says she just got a call from Dick Gregory who saw him perform out on the coast and the man is an incredible psychic who's being studied by a prestigious and very straight arrow thinktank in California, and he's got some of the best scientific skeptics in the country going bonkers trying to explain his powers.
What kinda powers, I wanna know. He reads minds! So does Kreskin. He bends rings and twists metal through concentration! Mmm hmmm. He breaks forks with his eyes! This is gotta to see!
But first a little background on the Amazing Mister Geller, a 25-year-old Israeli, who seemed to be an established, but of course controversial, psychic phenomenon who drove blindfolded in traffic in Israel and stopped cable cars in Germany before coming to this country eight months ago.
Dr. Andrija Puharich, a physician-inventor who has studied and experimented with psychics for more than 25 years, witnessed one of Uri's baffling demonstrations in Israel and was convinced he was legit, sponsored his trip to the states, and arranged for him to undergo six weeks of grueling tests at the Stanford Research Institute.
The institute is strictly on the up-and-up and devised a series of double-blind, virtually cheat-proof experiments that would test Uri's professed ability to send and receive thoughts, materialize and dematerialize objects, and bend and break metal by concentration.
Last March, S.R.I. physicists reported the curious, if not startling results, to a group of 300 no-nonsense scientists at Columbia University:
"We have observed certain phenomena with the subjects (another psychic was studied as well) for which we have no scientific explanation."
Geller had affected lab instruments in incredible, and inexplicable ways; in various telepathy experiments, he had beaten odds of a million to one and a trillion-to-one.
"We do not claim that these men have psychic powers ... All we can say at this point is that further investigation is clearly warranted."
I was ready for further investigation.
"Hi, I'm uri," this tall, dark hip and handsome fellow said, grinning and pumping my hand and grinning as though he were expecting to hit oil.
"Hi and who am I?" I wanted to say. But didn't, and regretted it all the way to the table.
"Here," Uri said as soon as we were settled, "Here's a whole packet of material with everything about me in it, where I was born, all about my background and what I've done."
"There's an article in there with Time magazine calling me a magician and saying I left my country in disgrace. That's ridiculous... No one leaves Israel in disgrace. What do you want to know?"
For starters, I wanted to know why Time magazine said he was a magician.
"Ach," he said, as only an Israeli can say ach. "I don't know. It's ridiculous, but you'll see. Esquire is comimg out with a whole story in December. You'll see. I'm no magician. What I do is real ..."
"Look," he said. And he grabbed a knife from a place setting, laid it down in front of him, and began to gently and swiftly, stroke it with his forefinger. "Look what I can do. It's happening now; I can feel it happening ... It's ... Good ... yes ...here ... see what's happening."
I saw and I still get nervous when I remember. The knife, this Oneida hotel plate heavy duty metal knife was bending, not dipping to pressure since Uri was not putting pressure on it. It was bending, lifting upward, the metal was rising under his finger and continued to bend even after he took his fingers away.
"This is it. This is what I can do. I don't know why exactly but I do know it's a power.
"But it's not MY power. I'm just an instrument of a power that is comimg through me .. I think the force is an intelligence that causes things to happen through me."
"Oh my God," yelled Uri, looking down at the table. "Look at this! Look what happened and I wasn't even touching it. Here, look at this spoon."
You look at the spoon. It's pictured here, with an enormous hernia in the handle. And I'm telling you he didn't touch it.
"Sometimes, I don't know when it will happen, it's so strange. Recently, I was eating and I picked up four forks in a row and they all broke off in my hand. It never happens when I am alone.
"But with watches," Uri galloped on, the vibes right and the audience literally dumbstruck, "I can really affect watches. Here," he said, reaching over his shrimps and putting his fingers on top of my wristwatch.
I watched, half-expecting a dove to appear, but instead the hands of my watch turned back an hour.
"I fix watches, too. When I was at Yale - I've performed at about five colleges so far and want to do a lot more of that - some 40 students came up to the stage with broken watches and I passed my hand over them and fixed 38."
While Uri was smilling and chatting, I was falling apart. I stopped taking notes and stopped aking questions and began to stutter and stare.
Uri was king of the mountain and asked for a pen. He told me to look away and he quickly scribbled something on a piece of paper.
"Now," he told me, riveting his eyes to mine. "I want you to draw anything, whatever comes into your mind. Just let it happen ..."
I tried desperately not to think about anything and just let my hand wander until I had drawn a box, with two curving thingies on either side, and, at the last moment, a peak - a roof, I suppose, for what seemed to be a house.
Then Uri showed me what he had drawn and what, he says, he sent to my mind to draw. It was a house, with a peaked roof, and two objects on the side that were very definitely trees. The two pictures were not identical but so close, it was frightening.
The whole experience was scary, in fact, and my head felt fuzzy and weird.
Uri Geller is going back to the Stanford Research Institute so they can spend more time studying his seemingly phenomenal powers.
In the next few months, you should be hearing more amd more about the metalbending, mind boggling Uri Geller.
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