This article is partly a response, but really an addendum, to a recent article on Medium.com by Joshua Hehe entitled ‘Extrasensory Perception: On the History and Validity of Psychic Phenomena’ (click here). In it he claimed that the psi ability of remote viewing is real, and praised the talents of Pat Price in that field. (He could perhaps also have mentioned Joe McMoneagle.) He did, however, say that Uri Geller was a charlatan.
This reminded me of some TV documentaries that I’ve seen, one of which seemed to offer at least some convincing evidence that Geller is genuinely psychic. Before I describe that, however, I’ll just say in passing that, in another documentary¹, the famous and fanatical psychic debunker James (the Amazing) Randi did appear on live TV to expose some trickery by Geller, and claimed that the episode I’m about to describe was also cheating. I’ll leave the reader to judge.
According to the documentary The Secret Life of Uri Geller², a CIA officer Kit Green (who was interviewed on camera), said that he had received a telephone call on a classified line from the intelligence agency of a very powerful ally (assumed to be Israel). He was told that Geller was doing things for them which they could not understand. “Things appeared to have an electromagnetic aspect. He was capable of altering highly sophisticated electronics, including imaging electronics at will. And they didn’t know how he was doing it”.
So Geller was brought to the USA in 1972 to be interviewed at the Stanford Research Institute by Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, who had involvement with the CIA because of their work as laser physicists. They were experimenting with lasers as listening devices from distant places. They had also been working with Pat Price as a remote viewer.
Uri Geller claimed to them that he had remote viewing ability. So they telephoned Kit Green, who was sceptical, but nevertheless spoke to Geller. He said that he would put something on his desk, and see if Geller could get it remotely. He chose a book, which was a collection of medical illustrations of the nervous system. He opened it up to a page, which showed a cross-section of the human brain.
Geller scribbled a drawing of a pan of scrambled eggs (which looked reasonably similar to a human brain), but said at the same time that the word ‘architecture’ was coming in strong. Green was astonished because he had written “architecture of a viral infection” next to the diagram. (He still had the book and showed the page on camera.) There had been no cues over the telephone, and Puthoff said that it was a genuine result. It could not be published at the time, classified because of direct CIA involvement.
As a result of this experience Kit Green authorised sufficient funds to enlarge a CIA programme to include remote viewing. Puthoff says that over the years maybe 20 million dollars was spent on the project, and “we ended up having several dozen remote viewers”. The SRI “came up with an almost unanimous verdict that Geller was legitimate”.
So, were the CIA so easily fooled by an allegedly fraudulent Uri Geller? And if this result was achieved by trickery, can anyone explain how it was done?
1. Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds, BBC4
2. BBC2, July 21st 2013