25 February 2001
"...As regards the alleged spoon bending effect among conjurors from 1968, I, too, would like to see that. Randi has often talked of Uri's effects appearing on the back of corn flakes boxes. I very much doubt it, and I know Randi was desperately looking for some such box a few years back when Uri was suing him over that remark. Randi's encyclopedia (which is full of all sorts of major other errors, anyway) is rather vague since it does not name the conjuring magazine but merely refers to one available in Israel. T.A. Waters does refer to ABRA but I really doubt that is right (T.A.'s book is also full of other errors, too). I knew T.A. and spoke with him a good bit about Uri, and he never brought this item up with me. (But I will check with some other old friends of T.A. to see what more I can learn about this allegation.)
Randi first went on the attack against Uri in ABRA in his 1974 piece there calling on magicians to join him in denouncing Uri. He made no reference to that earlier ABRA piece there, nor does he make any reference to in his book on Randi. If Randi had such an article, I think he'd be citing it a lot. It's like the supposed films of Geller that reveal him cheating. Closer examination shows they are not quite what was claimed. So, I'll believe it about this alleged article when I see it.
Now Randi's reference to the article only says it duplicated the Geller effect,
whereas Waters suggests that perhaps Uri learned it from the magic publication.
Rather different things. Of course, if we are to believe Margolis's book and the
interviews he got, Uri was spoon bending as a child, way before 1968."
29 April 2001
"...As you may know, my personal belief is that PK does not exist and that Uri is a conjuror. He's also a very good friend. I see him as very much in the tradition of Dunninger and Fred Marion, and I think he does has done a great deal of good in this world. I think the magical community should just have named him Magician of the Year back in the 1970s and let it go at that. Ironically, I suspect that today Uri may have more good friends in magic than Randi has. I don't mean to suggest that Uri has ever confessed trickery to me, but I think we have a tacit understanding about these matters. The most interesting aspect of Uri's performances are those occasions when the spoon reportedly continues to bend without contact. He has now completely impressed (fooled?) several excellent close-up magicians with this effect. I think Duffie has a lot about this effect on his website.
At the same time that I don't believe in Uri's powers, I also do not believe his major claims have truly been disproved; that is, I don't think Randi and the others really have the smoking guns they imagine. Of course, I am talking here about his best effects; Uri obviously does a lot of publicity nonsense that I am surprised anyone ever takes seriously in the first place (like PK-stopping Big Ben, etc.).
The total situation with Uri is enormously complicated and probably involves some aspects of government disinformation, especially what happened at SRI. Hal Puthoff told me they had a full Israeli intelligence report on Uri when he came there. This plus other connections Uri has had with intelligence agencies complicates the picture enormously.
...In regard to the Waters and Randi claims about an earlier spoon bending effect,
I, too, have been unable to get a response from Randi (indirectly through mutual
friends since Randi will not communicate with me since I testified against him
at his trial for libel won by Eldon Byrd). From what I can find, there are
really no exact earlier versions of the effect. There is a swizzle stick bending
effect in the JINX that some see as a precursor, and I have found some very
early metal bending effects by strongmen that some could argue were
predecessors. But I think that the effect of spoon bending was original with
Uri. Interestingly, Uri recently shared with me some stuff he got about some
very early metal bending reported in Japan by psychic researchers there. He just
learned about this recently and was quite surprised by it, so I doubt it was an
influence on him anymore than the early Japanese thoughtography experiments had
any influence on Ted Serios's later PK photo productions. Nor, so far as I have
been able to ascertain, are there any cereal boxes with similar effects as Randi
once claimed. (I do not count the old bending pencil or what-not illusion where
you jiggle something straight and it looks like it's bending. I think that was
the only remotely similar effect to what Geller introduced.)"