Geller, Uri (1946– ) A former paratrooper in his native Israel, Uri Geller is a self-professed psychic who claims to have a variety of paranormal abilities, including telepathy and dowsing skills. He frequently appears to bend spoons and stop watches simply by concentrating on them, and with varying success he guesses images in other people’s minds. Geller is also a frequent target of sceptics—particularly stage magician James Randi, who has said that Geller’s spoon bending is an illusion that any magician can perform using pre-bent spoons, a bit of distraction, and sleight of hand. In fact, during an appearance on the television talk show hosted by Johnny Carson, Geller was unable to bend spoons after Carson refused to let Geller use his own spoons and instead supplied him with some. At various times Geller has brought legal action against sceptics, including Randi, who have publicly criticized his powers; in each case the suit was eventually withdrawn or dismissed.
Geller says that he first noticed his paranormal powers after being struck by a strange ball of light as a child. However, he did not use his abilities until 1969, after he had started performing stage magic in Israeli nightclubs. By the following year, he was a celebrity in Israel and had his own television show with an international audience. Geller continues to demonstrate his paranormal abilities, though far less frequently than in the 1970s.
- James Randi
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning
Edited and revised for the Web by Occult Media, the 27th of January 2021. We use British English spelling.