Posts from 27th September 2005

Sep 05

The Incredible World of

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When faced with writing about Uri Geller, it is hard not to fall into the trap of sounding perpeptually sarcastic. The man is a massive fraud. As such it’s hard to take any of his claims seriously and it’s ever so tempting just to write in an ironic mode that presupposes his lack of veracity. This is especially true because, unlike a lot of frauds, he seems to know that it is just tricks. Most people who have looked in to how Uri operates get this impression. This is not the self-deception of the scientific fraud, it is the systematic deception of the gullible for personal gain. There was always going to be a magician who went that extra step in insisting it wasn’t just illusion and clever deception, the last trick to learn in this line of work is to stay the right side of the law.

This does leave us with one large unexplained phenomena: how Geller can live with himself? That’s still not sarcasm by the way.

Of course there is a pay off to being such a massive fraud – the weak minded in all walks of life are going to be impressed with you, and a sort of (internally agonised) fame will follow. Uri has managed to get beyond fame and has ultimately become a “brand” now – he even tried to sue IKEA over their “Uri” line of furniture that had bent legs. It’s the name you can trust in new-age pseudoscientific bollocks. So his books, like “Uri Geller’s Little Book of Mind Power”, sell all too well. Like all self-help gift counter-pack books the UG’sLBoMP is full of vacuous drivel –– the stuff you, anyone, can make up, to make someone else feel better about themselves (until they realise it’s nonsense). But it’s Uri’s name that makes that extra impulse purchase happen.

When he threatened to sue a 1997 documentary that exposed his fraud, it was over film footage used without his permission. It was not over defamation, but revenue protection. The fair usage/dealing provisions of British copyright laws meant Uri had no chance. To save face he complained to the Broadcasting Standards Council, but (after some exchanges) it was forthrightly rejected.

He even tried to get money out of Nintendo for the spoon-wielding Pokemon Kadabra (Yun-Geller in Japanese). I haven’t found any evidence that Jackie Chan has tried the same over Hitmon-Chan (nor the estate of Bruce Lee over Hitmon-Lee).

Thirty years down the line, though his many lies, exaggerations and craven publicity-seeking are all publicly documented, and though his magician’s tricks are easily replicated, Uri still stands as a man of power – a testament to Barnum’s old line that “the public loves to be fooled”. He’s a man with the supernatural powers of Paul Daniels but with a pathological need to lie and deceive. Someone who makes money out of fraud.

He makes my skin crawl simply by appearing on television.

Now that’s magic.


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 549 views

Just when it looked like we had a breakthrough in Chapter 4, chapter 5 goes off on yet another – “wow, isn’t the moon amazing” tangent. It firstly examines the old wives tale that people go nuts at full moon, find substantial experimental evidence and then completely disregards the probably reason: namely it is lightest at full moon. Instead, via a tortuous route involving molluscs it suggests that humans can sense the periods of the moon. OF COURSE WE CAN: WE HAVE EYES.

This tangent does go via the four seasons and the angle of rotation of the Earth and some nice little facts that with just a few angles different the Earth could well be much more unfriendly to life, and even uninhabitable. Or at least full of fish. (It also makes the ludicrous assumption that higher life forms would not exist on a waterworld because it is impossible to discover fire under water). What has any of this got to do with who built the moon? Well, nothing really, yet again we do not get much closer to the nub. However the moon does help create tidal motion which in itself helps stabilise the Earth’s angle of rotation, stopping it from falling over (as Venus and Mars have done in the past). So another chapter hinting towards some sort of “the moon was built to help foster life” argument.