(born December 20, 1946 in Tel Aviv) is a controversial performer and
television personality, made famous by his claims to have genuine psychic
Geller rose to fame
after performing a series of televised demonstrations which he claimed
were paranormal performances of telekinesis, dowsing and mind-reading.
His demonstrations included bending spoons and making watches appear
to stop or run faster. Geller maintains that these were done through
will power and the strength of his mind, although magicians have long
been able to produce identical effects using the tricks of stage-magic.
Geller has a number of high profile critics, most notably James Randi,
who claim he has no genuine psychic abilities.
Born to Jewish parents from Hungary and Austria, Geller was named after
a cousin who had been killed in a bus accident. According to Geller,
he first became aware of his paranormal abilities when he was four,
claiming that after a ball of light from the sky knocked him to the
ground, his spoon bent and broke.  In an earlier telling
of the story, Geller claimed he discovered his abilities when he was
first able to tell how well his mother had done at cards which was followed
by errant wrist-watches. .
He served as a paratrooper
in the Israeli Army,  and was wounded in action during the 1967 Six-Day
War. He worked as a photographic model in 1968 and 1969, the same
year he began to perform for small audiences as a nightclub entertainer,
becoming well-known in Israel.
in 1972 on David Dimbleby's British television program The Dimbleby
Talk-In marked the start of his international celebrity. He also
became popular in the early 70's in the United States. He also received
attention from the scientific community who were interested in examining
his claims of psychic abilities. At the peak of his career in the 1970s
he worked full-time, performing for television audiences worldwide.
Geller semi-retired from public life in the 1980s, although returned
to the screens for the current affairs show Uri Nation in the early
nineties on satellite TV.
He claims that he
has accumulated wealth in part by performing dowsing services to find
commodities such as oil, gold, and minerals, but that the companies
he has worked for are reluctant to admit it. In recent years he has
performed demonstrations such as spoon-bending much less frequently
in public. He has also written sixteen fiction and
lives in Sonning-on-Thames, Berkshire, England. He makes various personal
appearances, is involved with art and design projects, and contributes
articles to newspapers, magazines, and an Internet web column. He is
a vegan and speaks four languages, English, Hebrew, Hungarian and German.
He might be called
something of a bon vivant, and he maintains many ties with celebrity
society. He owns a 1976 Cadillac adorned with thousands of pieces of
bent tableware given to him by celebrities or otherwise having historical
or other significance. It includes spoons from celebrities such as John
Lennon and the Spice Girls, and those with which Winston Churchill and
John F. Kennedy ate. Geller designed the logo for popular music group
*NSYNC and contributed artwork to Michael Jackson's CD, "Invincible,"
and Jackson was best man when Geller renewed his wedding vows in 2001.
He also negotiated the famous TV interview between Jackson with the
journalist Martin Bashir: "Living with Michael Jackson". In
BBC television interviews Geller has since admitted that he has not
been in contact with Jackson since this time. Geller says that he has
split with Jackson because of anti-Semitic statements by Jackson. [citation
Geller is an "Israeli
delegate" for Magen David Adom ("Red Star of David"),
the Israeli affiliate of the Red Cross. ("Israel pleased by 'improved
international standing'" Dec. 09, 2005 USA Today.) In an appearance
on Esther Rantzen's 1996 television talk show Esther, Geller claimed
to have suffered from Anorexia nervosa for several years. In 2002, he
became honorary co-chairman of the English Nationwide Conference football
club Exeter City, which was relegated to the Nationwide Conference in
May 2003. He has since severed formal ties with the club. The same year,
he appeared as a contestant on the first series of the British reality
TV show, I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here!
is hosting a reality show in Israel called "The Successor"
("?????"), where he challenges the contestants to amaze themselves
and the audience with displays of their supernatural abilities.
to stage magic
Geller admits "Sure, there are magicians who can duplicate it [his
performances] through trickery."  He claims that even though
his demonstrations could have been done using trickery, he uses psychic
powers to achieve his results. Skeptic James Randi has stated that
if Geller is truly using his mind to perform these feats, "he is
doing it the hard way". Stage magicians note several methods of
creating the illusion of a spoon spontaneously bending. Most common
is the practice of misdirection, an underlying principle of many stage
magic tricks. In one or several brief moments of distraction, a magician
can physically bend a spoon unseen by the audience, then gradually reveal
the bend and thus create the illusion that the spoon is bending before
the viewers' eyes. The spoons usually bend at the point where the bowl
meets the handle, where bending would require the least force. Skeptics
argue that Geller often turns his back on the audience,
and point to unusual conditions Geller at times sets for his performances,
such as that the objects to be bent need to be moved in front of other
metal objects for the psychic effect to work, or to be held underwater.
They suggest these conditions would allow opportunities to divert the
audience's attention away from the item to be bent. Regarding sturdier
objects like keys, they note Geller sometimes claims these items need
to be in physical contact with other metal objects,
which could allow surreptitious use of leverage between the two objects
to achieve the bending.
It has also been
suggested that he or a confederate prepares the spoons before television
appearances by pre-bending them and thus reducing the amount of force
later needed to be applied, and Geller at times has refused to bend
spoons to which he has not been given prior access.
Geller claims in
"telepathic drawing" demonstrations that he is able to read
subjects' minds as they draw a picture. Although in these demonstrations
he cannot see the picture being drawn, he is sometimes present in the
room and on those occasions can see the subjects as they draw. Critics
argue this may allow Geller to infer common shapes from pencil movement
and sound, with the power of suggestion doing the rest.
Critics note Geller's demonstrations are not always successful. For
example, he is not always able during his "telepathic" drawing
demonstrations to define the shape or image drawn.  Geller has also
at times canceled performances or failed to produce the expected results,
sometimes blaming his apparent lack of psychic power on some interference,
exhaustion, or lack of cooperation by the subjects. He was paid to investigate
the kidnapping of Hungarian model Helga Farkas, and, although he predicted
she would be found alive and in good health, she was murdered by her
kidnappers . He was reportedly unable to bend a spoon for Richard
Feynman, as mentioned in the physicist's book Surely You're Joking,
Geller was unable
to bend any cutlery during a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show where
the spoons he was to bend had been preselected by Johnny Carson. Earlier
in his career, Carson had been an amateur stage magician, as had James
Randi who advised Carson on how to thwart potential trickery. Randi
explained in a 1993 episode of the television show NOVA: "I was
asked to prevent any trickery. I told them to provide their own props
and not to let Geller or his people anywhere near them."
often disagree with him about the degree of success actually achieved
during demonstrations. For instance, his television appearances have
frequently involved viewer interaction, and among the viewers there
are very often callers who claim to have located bent spoons or restarted
clocks after Geller appeared on TV. Skeptics maintain this does not
necessarily indicate paranormal success, and speculate that about half
of all stopped mechanical clocks can be at least temporarily restarted
simply by moving them around.
Uri Geller was born
in Israel on December 20, 1946. His parents are of Hungarian and Austrian
descent and he is distantly related on his mother's side to Sigmund
Freud. At the age of four he had a mysterious encounter with a sphere
of light while in a garden near his house.
He first became
aware of his unusual powers when he was five. One day, during a meal,
his spoon curled up in his hand and broke, although he had applied no
physical pressure to it. His parents were somewhat shocked and Uri did
not mention the incident to anyone else at that time. He developed these
powers in school by demonstrating them to pupils. His mother thought
he inherited them from Sigmund Freud.
When he was eleven,
he went to live in Cyprus, where he remained until he was seventeen.
He then returned to Israel, served as a paratrooper in the Israel army
and fought in the Six-Day War of 1967 during which he was wounded in
From 1968 to 1969
Uri worked as a model, he was photographed for many different advertisements.
In 1969 he began
to demonstrate his powers of telepathy and psychokinesis to small audiences.
By the end of 1971, however, his was a household name throughout Israel
thanks to his numerous stage appearances. He was given a plug by the
then Prime Minister, Golda Meir. When asked on a national radio programme
what she predicted for the future of Israel, she replied, "Don't
ask me - ask Uri Geller!"
In 1972, Uri left Israel for Europe, where he immediately attracted
widespread attention. In Germany, witnessed by reporters and photographers,
he stopped a cable-car in mid-air using only the power of his mind.
He then did the same to an escalator in a major department store. That
same year he went to the United States at the invitation of astronaut
Captain Edgar Mitchell of the Apollo 14 mission, the sixth man to set
foot on the moon, and scientist, inventor and author Andrija Puharich
MD. Among the notable scientists he met were Professor Gerald Feinberg
of Columbia University physics Department, Ronald Hawke from the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory, Ron Robertson of the Atomic Energy Commission
and NASA's Dr Wernher von Braun, " Father of the Space Age",
who testified that his own wedding ring bent in his hand without being
touched at any time by Geller.
In 1998 Uri met Brian Josephson, Professor of Physics, winner of the
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1973.
He also took part
in various controlled laboratory experiments. These are described, with
full documentation and astonishing illustrations, in a book, available
on this web-site, entitled The Geller Papers, (1975) Houghton Mifflin
Co. edited by Newsweek science writer Charles Panati. They include:
Tests at Stanford
Research Institute (now SRI International) in California, where carefully
witnessed Geller Effects included the creation of "loss" and
"gain"; in a gram weight measured on a high-precision balance,
Uri's correctly calling of eight out of ten die-throws, against odds
of a million to one and he also guessed correctly the location of some
hidden targets at odds of a trillion to one! These tests are documented
in the official SRI film, on this website. These important controlled
experiments were published as a scientific paper in the prestigious
British journal Nature.
Uri loves animals,
has five dogs, and cycles 27 miles a day.