Uri Geller

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I want YOU to give me spoons to bend!
It's fun to pretend
Paranormal
Icon ghost.svg
Fails from the crypt

Uri Geller (born 1946) is a professional spoon bender an Israeli magician and mentalist who, for the last forty years, has made a career for himself posing as a psychic.

Discredited[edit]

Geller was effectively discredited by, among other things, a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.[1] Geller failed to bend spoons that Carson, an amateur magician in his own right, had (with the help of James Randi) chosen beforehand, and to which Geller did not have access.[2]

Litigation[edit]

He was a focus of much paranormal research during the Human Potential movement[3] of the 1970s, including a well-known study at the Stanford Research Institute that claimed to validate his powers. Geller is notoriously litigious, and has on many occasions attempted to use this study (considered flawed at best by experts on magic and pathological science) as a cudgel in court against his opponents, particularly against Randi.[4] Despite this, Geller typically loses in court battles.

Stage magician[edit]

It has been commented by some, including skeptical writer Martin Gardner (who was well-trained in magical techniques), that Geller's magic is rather amateurish and mediocre, and that his entire reputation rests on the assertion of psychic powers, allowing him an out if a trick fails, something that happens often in the presence of a skeptical audience. Geller has of late had a career as a reality TV star, being embarrassed on his Israeli TV show The Successor for getting caught using a fake finger gimmick to rig a "psychic" demonstration, and later being embarrassed on the American version, NBC's Phenomenon, when co-judge (and legitimate magician) Criss Angel called out both Geller and a contestant claiming psychic abilities with a sealed envelope, the contents of which neither would attempt to divine.[note 1]

Early career[edit]

Geller's early career has been extensively documented in the skeptical literature, particularly Martin Gardner's Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus, James Randi's Flim-Flam! and The Truth About Uri Geller, and William Poundstone's Big Secrets. In recent times, Geller has become sort of a professional hanger-on, associating with credulous celebrities (including Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and, at one point, Michael Jackson), as well as investing in soccer teams in his adopted home of the United Kingdom and running them into the ground.

Pokémon controversy[edit]

Nintendo has avoided using the Pokémon character "Kadabra" in their media for some time, fearing lawsuits from Geller. Geller believes Kadabra to be a libelous mockery of his image (Kadabra's Japanese name is ユンゲラー, Yungeraa; replace ン with the visually-similar リ and it becomes Yurigeraa. which is how his name would be transliterated into Japanese), complete with "anti-Semitic" symbols (a star on the forehead, probably an occult reference, and chest lines similar to the runic insignia of the SS) The trading card game has not printed a Kadabra card since 2003, despite Kadabra being an evolutionary link between Abra and Alakazam. In order to get around this problem, recent Abra and Alakazam printings regard Kadabra as a completely optional step in the evolutionary chain. Thanks Mr. Geller, we couldn't have done it without you.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. The envelope was later, according to James Randi in a November 2007 blog entry, revealed to contain the numbers "911", a swipe against psychic claims of being able to predict the future.

References[edit]