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Research in Parapsychology - 1974


A SCRUTINY OF URI GELLER

W. E. Cox - Institute for Parapsychology, FRNM


The purpose of this scrutiny of the static-PK claims of Mr. Uri Geller was to supplement the findings reported at the 1973 Parapsychological Association convention by Targ and Puthoff [ RIP 1973 , pp. 57-60 and 125-8]. Their most signifi­cant results with Geller were found in ESP experiments, since only a small portion of their tests for PK on stable systems were under reportedly satisfactory conditions of control.
 Through the good offices of Mrs. Judith Skutch, I was able to spend an hour alone with Geller on April 24, 1974, in his New York apartment. My hope was to witness static-PK under what could be deemed adequate safeguards. I also wished to allow certain openings for fraud, in the event he intended to employ such means. He was told that I contributed to the research work of the FRNM, but not that I was also a magician. Three tests of Geller's static-PK ability were made. For these I had purchased two keys of specific types, plus an internal obstruction for my pocket watch. The first test was with a flat steel key of the safety deposit box type, which I was quite unable to bend by hand. I intentionally allowed Geller to handle it, whereupon he asked if I did not have an ordinary key instead. I said "No, " and he replied, "Well, I'll try to do something with this one." He laid my key on his transparent, glass-topped coffee table, and stood up be­ tween his sofa and the table. I sat at one end of the table. We both noted the absolute flatness of the key upon the glass. I placed my right forefinger lightly on the larger end, and Geller gently stroked the remainder with his right forefinger. The key began to bend slowly at a point just beyond my fin­ ger. He ceased stroking when it reached an angle of five or six degrees. Any pressure of his naturally was against the direction of bend. I removed my finger, and watched him rock the bent key upon the glass.
 By this time I had obtained a mirror with my left hand, and again held the same key as before. Geller stroked it again, and it was seen gradually to bend to a total of 12 1/4 degrees. His stroking was light, since it caused no upward increase in pressure against my forefin­ ger. All of this took approximately a minute. With the mirror I could see very clearly under the key. My sight distance was about 15 inches. No semblance of fraud was detected. The strength required to bend this key repre­ sented an upward force of 40 pounds at Geller's end, and about 100 pounds at my end, as was subsequently determined with a similar key and weighing scales. Another key was similarly bent later in the hour. This was of the ordinary three-inch skeleton variety, made of a soft zinc alloy. As before, I handed it to Geller, and he returned it to me in a perfectly straight condition. The key was placed on the coffee table, my forefinger pressed against the toothed end (which naturally elevated the handle end an eighth-inch or more above the glass). Geller stroked only an inch of the handle end's upper surface, and this time a bend slowly appeared near that end, a full inch away from my finger. It conspicuously continued until it reached 36 degrees. Again, there was no noticeable pressure upward against my finger, and the time required was less than a minute.
 The final experiment involved my Hamilton pocket watch. It was handed to Geller, with its chain. (I had proposed this test earlier by telephone, having said only that I was going to alter the speed regulator and challenge him to readjust it "so that the watch would run again.") He ex­ pressed uncertainty, held it to his ear, did not shake it un­duly, kept it clearly within my view, then again listened, and ejaculated "It's ticking, it's ticking!" This watch had been specially prepared in advance as follows: A strip of tinfoil, an inch long and at least a six­teenth of an inch wide, was inserted upon the balance wheel bridge, but beneath the speed regulator arm, extending one- fourth inch over the balance wheel, with the arm set at "F." The remaining part of the strip was folded out of the way, and allowed to extend down from the "F" toward the stem. The back had two lids, one extremely difficult to open. Ten minutes before my session with Geller I depressed the short­ er portion well into the spokes of the wheel, and thereby stopped it.
 Following Geller's accomplishment, I retrieved the watch and listened. On opening the back, we found the regulator arm to have been moved to slightly beyond "S," despite its normal tight fit. This had lifted the shorter end of foil up from within the wheel. The remaining three-fourths inch of tinfoil was separated, and had itself been moved to where its nearer end was half an inch farther away from the "F—S" section than when I prepared it, and had been turned 90 degrees clockwise as well. It was in fact stuck slightly, since there was some candy-wrapper wax on the underside of the strip of foil.
 This dual effect within my watch was even more im­ pressive to me than the keys. Due to the permanent re­ moval of a delimiting set-screw, the regulator arm could be pushed as much as 40 degrees; and it was found to have moved to this full extent. Geller himself was visibly sur­ prised by the unexpected feature, and summoned an associate to examine this effect. If I may be permitted to insert the following personal notes, I have been a student of both psychical research and sleight of hand for 40 years, and confidently believe that de­ception may be ruled out as the explanation of these effects. Other magicians whom I have consulted have not altered this opinion, but criticism of the same will be welcomed. Due to the simple and conspicuous movements in all three of the static-PK effects, I have no special regrets about the absence of any assistant observer. For psycho­logical reasons I did not solicit a movie photographer and, in fact, turned down an offer by a fellow magician to ac­ company me. My firm conclusion now is that increased research interest in Geller is warranted.


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