Journal of the Society for Psychical Research - Volume 48 number 768 - June 1976 - pp. 322-328
P.K Reports From Various Countries
New Horizons Toronto vol. 1, No. 4, July, 1974 is an epoch making issue. Dr. A.R.G Owen (pp. 172-73) describes various experiments conducted to test the PK faculty of Matthew Manning and Uri Geller in June 1974.
Manning gave informal demonstrations of his ability to move a compass needle by passing his hand to and fro at a distance of 9-12 inches above it. Though Owen concedes that the prevailing conditions were not scientifically strict enough completely to prove that PK was at work, still the results did suggest to those present that Manning possessed an unusual power to influence the compass needle.
"A complete film record was made of the bending of a key. It gives an uninterrupted view of M's hands. The key is seen out the outset to be perfectly straight. After being held for about a minute in Matthew's lightly closed hand it is seen to be in the process of bending. It continues visibly to bend in full view of the camera, with the haft only being held by Matthew."
Matthew participated in an experiment to compare his EEG records under conditions of (a) mental relaxation, and (b) concentration (as when trying to bend a key). When in state (b) his EEG contained a remarkable amount of low frequencies.
Psi subjects seem to imitate one another. Uri Geller started the vogue for bending metal objects by PK and Matthew Manning has followed suit. In D.D Homes time, he might well have levitated heavy tables and produced loud raps all over the room.
On pp. 174-183 Dr. J. L. whitten notes remarkable and characteristic changes in individuals who are experiencing authentic psi manifestations. These contrast with the EEG's of persons mentally concentrating or undergoing inconclusive psi tests. He calls the EEG patterns obtained during genuinely paranormal manifestations "Ramp Functions". Dr. W. investigated the EEG readings of two putatively psi subjects; Mr Manning himself, a good PK subject, and Dr. A. Tanous, a good subject for out-of-the-body experiences - a term which could be a little misleading in this connection. "Travelling clairvoyance" or "ESP projection" might be more accurately applied to Dr. Tanous' experiences, since no evidence is given that he appeared as a phantasm at the place two miles from where he was locked in a test chamber.
The subjects with whom these tests were conducted simultainiously with EEG recordings all showed during psi manifestations the ramp functions, i.e. a significant increased percentage of energy in the lower EEG frequencies. The author claims that the ramp function appears to be a unique physiological correlate of paranormal behaviour in the psychics tested, and that it is distinguished by a peak in the delta or low theta band. It does indeed seem to be correlated with the production of authentic paranormal phenomena.
To support his conclusion that Uri Geller's metal bending and breaking were truly paranormal, Dr. A.R.G. Owen notes that out of the many metal objects present in a room where he was tested "the objects - a fork and two keys - which were bent or divided were ones that my wife and I had brought, we knew their condition right up to the moment when Uri's presentation commenced. The nature of the objects was also so highly individual that there was no possibility of anyone having substituted like, but prepared, objects, for them without the substitution having been subsequently detected. Thus from the viewpoint of my wife and myself the presentation constituted an experiment in which beyond reasonable doubt Mr. Geller's metal phenomena were genuine and paranormal."
The experiments took place during an interview with U.G. at the City -TV studio, Toronto. Some 11 persons were present. Geller was first asked to comment on his ESP gifts. Then, during the first commercial break, Mrs Owen took out her purse to inspect a bunch of six keys which had previously been seen by several ladies present and had then been normal. There had been no contact between Mrs Owen and Uri, but "to her surprise she found one of the keys, a Reilly, noticeably bent at a point a quarter inch from the haft. The angle of bending appeared to me to be about 25 degrees".
During the further demonstration Geller choose a fork about seven inches long and "asked Pat Murphy to hold it in such a way that the whole stem would be visible…Uri then, using the tip of the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, gently "massaged" a section of the stem of the fork." In the beginning he thought nothing was going to happen, then smiling said something like "It's going!…"
"With the thumb and forefinger of his right hand he held the bottom of the stem and gently waggled it. The stem moved relative to the blade…showing that the section he was stroking had lost it's rigidity…the total angle traversed between extreme positions appeared to me to exceed 40 degrees. After five or six wagglings he released the bottom of the stem and pushed it lightly with his fingertip. The stem suddenly parted at a point in the portion Uri had stroked, and fell to the floor. Uri picked it up and handed the two parts to Pat Murphy…at this stage I realised the fork was one that I had myself brought from home."
Dr.Owen had also brought along two unique keys, issued to him many years ago when he was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. They were fastened together by a piece of string to which a label was attached with an annotation in Dr. Owen's own handwriting. "Uri picked them up by the label without touching the keys themselves. It was then noticed that one was bending. This was actually seen by the audience and by the TV cameras in close-up. Uri supported this key with a finger of his other hand. It continued to bend and finally stopped at about 15 degrees."
At the second commercial break "Uri suggested that the bunch of keys, including the bent Reilly key from Mrs Owen's purse be put, together with other material from the pockets of the audience in a pile on the back seat between myself and Mrs Sparrow." Uri answered three questions from the audience, and then suggested that the pile be looked at. "Only the top half of the Reilly key was still attached to the bunch. The blade had separated from it, the metal being divided at a point close to the original bend, an operation that would normally require either a hacksaw or a cold chisel and mallet. The blade was found among the other keys in the pile."
Dr. Owen suggests that Uri's choice of his fork and pair of keys, could in the former case be put down to chance, and in the latter to their eye-catching effect. Could it not be that Uri, having heard that Dr. Owen was an authority on experimental PK research, especially wanted to impress him, and therefore selected by ESP his contribution to the metal objects offered. His performances could thus convince Dr. Owen. In the same way it was Mrs Owen's key that was bent, rather than those of other women in the audience. The Owen couple could be considered by Geller the most worth convincing of his paranormal powers.
May I stress Dr. Owen's call to all investigators of the Geller case to report and make public the results of their investigations, so that present, as well as future generations may know exactly what happened, and how far his phenomena may be considered paranormal. Otherwise we shall commit an error like that of our Victorian forefathers vis-à-vis D.D. Home. Contemporary reports of D.D. Home's phenomena are comparatively rare. Within ten years of his death he was virtually forgotten, and only in the last decade have we started to collect what was left in print concerning his extraordinary powers. Compared with Home of course Uri is but an infant just beginning to walk but it is essential that all the Geller matter should be collected and stored by some trustworthy institution that will sort out the case material, make it ready for publication, and be open to all who want personally to study the reports etc. We should make the most of Uri Geller - and of Mathew Manning - while we canfor it may be another 50 years before their successors appear.
It should be added that vol. 1 No 5 of New Horizons, not available to our correspondent in time for discussion, contains a full report of the proceedings of the First Canadian Conference on Psychokinesis and related Phenomena in June 1974.
Copies of these issues of New Horizons may be obtained by sending a cheque or money order for 3 Canadian dollars each to the New Horizons Research Foundation, PO Box 427, Station F, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 2L8.
France and Spain
Yvonne Duplessis & Paul Bardot, Rencontre avec Uri Geller. Revue Metapsychique, Parapsychologie, No.18 Nouvelle Serie. 1973. Pp. 47-55.
This issue seems to be the last one published. As it only came to hand in 1974, I feel that it deserves to be quoted here.
The authors visited Uri Geller in Paris on august 30, 1973. They sat together at the tea table in the hall of an hotel in a buzz of conversation and movement among visitors and hotel guests. In this atmosphere Geller conducted some informal experiments.
"U.G placed one of the spoons we had brought with us in the palm of one of his hands, holding it in position by the light pressure of his thumb and all the while stroking it with two fingers of his other hand. During this procedure he kept his eyes closed. After about 30 seconds we saw the spoon starting to bend…when placed on the table in front of us, it continued, though untouched, to bend for some two minutes. All the while U.G went on talking without once glancing at it."
Geller then asked his visitors to hand him large metal objects such as a pair of iron tongs, pokers, etc. As they were not carrying articles of this kind, they handed Geller a small patent key, which he bent as he had bent the spoon. The key too continued to bend without being touched after it was put down. A photograph clearly shows that the bowl part of the spoon was bent so as to form an angle of 90 degrees to the handle, when laid flat on the table. More or less the same held good of the small key; its bow, when lying flat on the table formed an angle of about 90 degrees with its stem and bit. All this was observed at five on a clear August afternoon.
M. Bardot's watch had been going well for at least three weeks. Geller held his fist above it for three seconds, and both authors saw that the watch's hands had been put back 1 hour and 15 minutes, and that the watch's second-hand had stopped. Simply by holding his clenched fist above the watch again (without touching it) U.G. made the second-hand function once more. The original position of the watch's alarm pointer, too, had been changed. Instead of pointing to 6.45, as it had for many months, it now indicated 5.13.
Mme. Duplessis too had brought a watch. It had not been wound up for two months. As soon as Geller placed his clenched fist an inch or so above it, both authors heard the watch start ticking. Without being wound the watch continued to run for over four hours.
It is remarkable to note how stereotyped Geller's phenomena are; they are always concerned with bending metal objects, influencing watches, clocks and the like. The experiences recorded by Mme. Duplessis and M. Bardot in Paris in 1973 were practically identical with those of the editors and photographer of the Spanish periodical La Actualidad, who tested U.G. in a Madrid hotel in September 1975.
After some conversation in the brilliantly illuminated hotel room Geller requested one editor, Sr. Pelaez, to hand him his bunch of keys. Pelaez pretended to have left them at home. The photographer, Sr. Nieto, willingly offered his front door key. While the three visitors were watching him closely, Geller stroked the key with his index-finger, as it lay before him on the table. After a few seconds he left the key alone, but kept staring at it, while he cracked his fingers once or twice. Suddenly the key broke in two pieces! The keys bit with a length of about an inch and a half was broken in the middle. The bits fracture was not clear-cut since the two pieces did not fit together any longer, it was as if some of the keys matter had disolved into nothing.
The photographer offered his watch for another PK test. Geller held his fist above it, and suddenly all present heard the watch emit a crunching noise. Sr. Nieto shouted "Damn it, you are ruining my £100 watch!" Geller said "Don't worry. I only turned the hands backwards, that is all." And indeed, the watch showed a regression of 1 hour and 15 minutes.
It is a curious fact that M. Bardot's watch was also put back 1 hour and 15 minutes two years previously in Paris.
Th. Locher, der Oltner Spuk 1974. (The 1974 Oltner poltergeist). Schweizerisches Bulletin fur Parapsychologie, 8, 1974, pp. 8-12.
The enourmous publicity Uri Geller received among the millions of people who watched him demonstrating on TV his powers of metal bending and breaking has lead to the coining of the term psi-induction: to indicate that some of those who watched him suddenly found themselves capable of producing the same phenomena.
In 1974, for instance, while a middle aged lady, Frau Scheid, living in Germany, was watching U.G. on T.V., she suddenly heard sounds in the sideboard. Opening its drawer she saw her valuable silver spoons, forks, etc, wriggling and twisting like so many eels! A police- inspector accompanied by a detective-sargent were both able to observe with their own eyes the same remarkable phenomena still going on. They publicly testified to what they had seen.
A similar case, this time accompanied by typical poltrgeist phenomena, i.e. spontaneous recurrent PK, continuing for some weeks, happened in a Swiss town in the spring of 1974. A rare and curious feature of this case was that psi-induction manifested itself in two persons at once so that poltergeist phenomena were triggered off by two poltergeist mediums, (PK subjects) of whom the girl was the more powerful and versatile.
On Jan 23, 1974, Herr Christian (39) and his girlfriend, Fraulein Carolina (19), had watched U.G. on T.V. soon afterwards knives, forks, spoons, etc. started to bend or break into pieces in the sideboard drawers without anyone touching them. About the same time, bags, plates, crockery, a glass and other objects flew about the room, following trajectories in complete contradiction to the known laws of ballistics. A clock, which had been nailed to the wall, described a large arc as it fell to the floor. The same phenomena occurred in two other houses, that of a woman neighbor and that of Herr B., in the presence of Frl. Carolina who was followed by poltergeist phenomena for many hours by day and by night. Electric bulbs were screwed out of their sockets, a dinner plate floated slowly through the room, and three ash-trays, which had been put under a piece of furniture, returned to their former places all by themselves.
The three investigators of the case were Dr. Locher, president of the swiss Parapsychological Society, and two psychologists, Meier and Richiger, who submitted the two poltergeist mediums to various psychological tests. All observed the bending of metal objects after the manner of Geller.
Meier and Richiger reported that after one test three spoons, held in C.'s hand, were bent one after another while they were constantly watching her. They write: "While we kept her under continual observation, the first spoon started to bend, finally it formed an arc of 180 degrees. During a time interval of about two hours the same occurred with two coffee-spoons, a thick metal rod and a pair of steel nail-scissors. C. held the spoons in her right hand, and rubbed them with her thumbs". (The bent spoons may be examined in the archives of the Swiss Parapsychological Society, near Berne.) To remove all remaining doubts about the authenticity of Frl. C.'s paranormal activities, Dr. Locher sacrificed a silver pencil inscribed with his name, which had been in his possession for 40 years. Frl C. took hold of it and within a few moments Locher saw with his own eyes that her PK powers had completely wrecked it.
It is curious to note that the Geller-effect seems to begin with the bending or breaking of metal cutlery. The so called mini Gellers too start in this way but seldom seem to continue in the more general poltergeist mode, as happened in the case of the two Swiss subjects, with whom "psi-induction" lead to a down-right poltergeist explosion which did not calm down for several weeks. In Frau scheid's case it never got any further, if we except a grandfather-clock that suddenly stopped after ticking without a break for two centuries.
In connection with this Geller effect, it is surprising to note that cases of psi-induction in our own day seem to occur only in connection with the Geller TV shows (such a kind of induction is also reported to have occurred during D.D Home's sittings), but do not appear to be reported after the seemingly far more "miraculous" TV performances of master illusionists. We never hear about mini-Houdinis (producing apports of rabbits, breaking heavy chains etc.). It is unlikely that children between six and ten know the difference between psi phenomena and those produced in a normal way by illusionists. Why then mini-Gellers but never mini-Houdinis? In psi induction there is perhaps something more than just the stimulation of latent psi (PK) powers to activity. On the other hand, there are no mini-Gellers that excel in ESP performances, though Geller demonstrates his Excellent ESP capacities on the stage as often as he does his PK powers. Why?