Uri Geller

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Uri Geller (2009)

Uri Geller ( Hebrew אורי גלר, originally György Gellér ; * December 20, 1946 in Tel Aviv , then British Mandate Palestine ) is an Israeli mentalist living in Reading ( England ) who claims to have psychic powers . Skeptical magicians like James Randi see normal magic tricks in his performances .


Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv as the son of Jitzchak and Margarete Gellér, nee Freud. His parents are of Austro-Hungarian origin. He claims to have had a key experience at the age of five when an extremely bright flash of light briefly threw him to the ground in a garden. Shortly afterwards there was soup for lunch, with his spoon bent and then broken. This was the beginning of a widespread paranormal talent, an assertion that, from a scientific point of view, violates all laws of physics .

As a paratrooper he fought in 1967 in the Six Day War , where he was wounded. He then worked as a photo model . Then in 1969 he began to market his ability to manipulate spoons. Geller was discovered by the wealthy New York parapsychologist Andrija Puharich (1918–1995), his later biographer .

Geller has been married since 1979; he has two children. According to his own account, he was obsessed with fame and money in the late 1970s, but also suffered from bulimia and anxiety. In 1980 his friends John Lennon and Yoko Ono advised him to go to Japan to find spirituality. He then spent a year with his family in Japan and learned meditation from Japanese monks. Geller is a multimillionaire. He now lives in the village of Sonning near Reading in a 23-room mansion that resembles the White House . In 2015, he put the villa up for sale for £ 15 million and said he wanted to return to Israel. Geller speaks Hebrew , English and Hungarian .

Career as a stage artist

Geller first caused a sensation in the 1970s with his television appearances, in which he allegedly reproduced drawings that had been hidden by telepathic powers , made stopped clocks tick and bent cutlery. His international success was also based on the fact that Geller always maintained that he caused the demonstrated effects on the basis of paranormal processes and not by magic tricks . Geller occasionally said in interviews that he believes that he received his "powers" from aliens from the planet "Hoova" or from God. In Germany , his TV appearance on January 17, 1974 in the Wim-Thoelke show Drei Mal Neun and in Switzerland in a program moderated by Werner Vetterli caused a sensation.

After many years of abstinence from TV, Geller made a comeback in Germany in 2004 with the program Die Uri-Geller-Show . RTL thus had a market share of 25.5 percent in the advertising-relevant target group. That corresponded to almost six million viewers. On January 8, 2008, the series The next Uri Geller started on ProSieben , where Uri Geller acted as host (see below). Now he sees his connection to the aliens differently. This was what a CIA scientist told him at the time. But he still believes in aliens and UFOs.

In 2002 he took part in the first season of the British television show I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! part.

Other public work

Geller also appears as a motivational speaker. He claims that he used psychic powers to help mining companies find natural resources , and diamonds , coal and gold . Uri Geller speaks out publicly at regular intervals, claiming that he foresaw or influenced major events. For example, he telekinetically influenced a ball during the 1996 European Football Championship . As a rule, these are assertions that are not accessible to scientific investigation due to their argumentation structure . This brings him harsh criticism, especially from a skeptical side . Since the beginning of his appearances, Geller has always been looking for closeness to other celebrities , in particular he was friends with Michael Jackson . Geller himself also points out that he is also a donor for charitable purposes.

Geller had a Uri Geller Museum built in Jaffa , which is due to open in May 2020.

Scientific research and criticism

Scientific controversy

Initially, Geller was able to impress and convince a number of physicists and other scientists with his demonstrations. For example, in 1974 the prestigious Nature magazine published an article by the two laser specialists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff of SRI International (SRI) about Geller's clairvoyant abilities. The article was described in the editorial as "weak in design and execution", "worryingly unclear" about experimental details, "uncomfortable about precautions against erroneous conclusions". The two authors were accused of naivety of some methods and “a lack of qualification”. The article, as well as its publication, was discussed very controversially. Nature initially refused to publish the article and sent it back to the SRI. However, since it had been written by two scientists from a leading research institute and the content seemed worthy of a scientific investigation, it was decided to publish it. In addition, the editors wanted to give other research institutions the opportunity to assess the quality of the institute and its contribution to parapsychology . The editorial of the issue also referred to a simultaneous, sixteen-page publication by the physicist Joseph Hanlon in the New Scientist , which has a two-month research on Geller and the SRI experiments on the subject. This article would undermine the positions of Geller and the SRI researchers.

Former US astronaut Edgar Mitchell , himself known for being prone to parapsychological phenomena, described the research at the SRI as an eyewitness: "Hal (Puthoff) and Russ (Targ) were so eager to keep Geller at work, that they let him corner them and eventually responded to his every whim. When he threatened to leave, they gave in and did whatever he wanted. Of course they lost control of the situation and it got worse every time. "

Since then, Geller has rejected scientific research into his "supernatural powers". He also did not comply with the request to take part in the "One Million Dollar Challenge" by James Randi.

At the beginning of 1974 Thomas von Randow , at that time science editor at the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , invited Geller to a psychokinetic 100,000 DM experiment. Geller did not answer Randow's multiple inquiries. When the latter approached him personally, Geller replied that if he had demonstrated his “psychokinetic talent, it would no longer be mysterious and therefore no longer interesting”. “One shouldn't take away all doubts from one's fellow man”.

Appearance on the Tonight Show

During a television appearance in 1973 on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson , doubts arose for the first time in the mass audience about Geller's supposedly psychic abilities, as he was unable to perform his usual effects on television for the first time during the appearance. When preparing the show, James Randi had made sure that the props could not be manipulated by Geller.

Theories about possible tricks

When the spoons were bent, it was initially assumed that Geller's fingers were prepared with a compound containing mercury, which would soften the spoons by forming an alloy. Magicians had already worked with this method in the 19th century. The Spiegel had Geller dismantle a fork shortly after his television appearance on the Wim Thoelke show Drei Mal Neun 1974. A subsequent comparison by the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing with a fork that had been prepared with an aqueous solution of mercury nitrate gave the same result.

It was later discovered that this “Geller effect” is much easier to achieve by pre-bending the spoon several times, i.e. is based on simple material fatigue .

In the 1970s, Hellmut Fischmeister from the Chalmers Technical University carried out a metallurgical examination of a spoon that had been bent by Geller. He found the alloy component iridium , which is completely unusual for table cutlery . Alloying with iridium causes the metal to become brittle.


It is also criticized that Geller made incorrect forecasts. In early 1970 Geller predicted that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser would live a long time and King Hussein of Jordan would soon be assassinated. However, Nasser died just eight months after this prediction, while King Hussein lived another 29 years. Other sources, however, report that Geller had a vision of the dying Nasser on stage. Geller also predicted the victory of the English national team at the 1996 European Football Championship in the semi-finals against Germany, which it lost. He predicted that Formula 1 driver David Coulthard would not be successful.


The skeptics movement in particular contradicts the claims of the stage magician Uri Geller that he - contrary to all physical knowledge - actually has paranormal powers. In the past few decades, for example, there were repeated public disputes between representatives of the skeptic movement and Geller. In particular , there were legal disputes with James Randi , who also worked as a stage artist . Alongside James Randi, Magic Christian is one of Geller's great critics. Theoretical physicist Jack Sarfatti , initially convinced by Geller, has also switched to the side of the critics.

Legal proceedings

Geller has taken legal action against critics. In 1991 he sued James Randi for $ 15 million in damages over an April 9, 1991 Herald Tribune article by Randi. This was Geller's third lawsuit against Randi. The lawsuit, like all previous and subsequent ones, was dismissed. In an open letter from Berkshire- based Uri Geller Associates , Geller announced that he would "sue Randi in any country where it is possible for him to crack down on Randi's lies." What Randi says about him is not the truth.

Geller's lawsuit against Prometheus Books was dismissed and he had to pay damages to the publisher. His lawsuit against the American skeptics organization CSICOP was also unsuccessful. After a five-year dispute, Geller was obliged to pay the opposing party in 1995 due to an out-of-court settlement.

In November 2000, sued Geller in the United States , the company Nintendo . On a Japanese Pokémon trading card produced by the company , a Pokémon named Yun-gerā (in German the Pokémon is called “Kadabra”) was shown, which holds a bent spoon in one hand and can emit “alpha waves” according to the card description. In Japanese , Yun-gerā is written as ユ ン ゲ ラ ー, where the second character ンn looks similar to the character und ri and the name is reminiscent of Yuri Gerā , the Japanese pronunciation of Geller's name. Geller saw his personal rights violated by the card. The lawsuit was dismissed by Los Angeles District Court in November 2002.

Younger media presence

After an appearance in RTL - TV magazine Stern TV 2004 Geller took popularity in Germany for a short time again and he joined then in other television programs there (with a specially produced Uri Geller show , hosted by Günther Jauch ) and in Switzerland on.

The next Uri Geller

In early 2007, Geller presented the live show The Successor on Israeli television , a casting show for mentalists that became the most successful program in Israeli television history with ratings of over 50%. The format was changed slightly at the end of 2007 and adapted as Phenomenon on US television .

From January 8th to February 26th, 2008 Uri Geller was looking for a "successor" on the German TV station ProSieben . The show ran under the name The next Uri Geller (Eng. "The next Uri Geller"). In Germany, the first show had a total of 3.85 million viewers, at that time a market share of 12.1 percent. The reactions of the German-speaking press to the program were extremely negative.

The show was also produced for Dutch, Hungarian, Turkish and Russian television. The second season started in Germany in January 2009. The program was discontinued in Germany in mid-2009.

UFOs and aliens

After the successful show The next Uri Geller for the broadcaster, ProSieben broadcast another show with him on November 16, 2008 under the title Uri Geller live - UFOs & Aliens: The incredible TV experiment . In the broadcast, again moderated by Stefan Gödde and broadcast live, the guests Erich von Däniken , Nina Hagen , astronaut Edgar Mitchell (connected by phone) and the winner of The next Uri Geller , Vincent Raven , spoke about their experiences with UFOs and aliens. In addition, messages were allegedly sent into space via a radio telescope during the broadcast and replies were waited for.

The show achieved only low audience ratings and with a 4.8 percent market share and 1.4 million viewers could not prevail against the competing program.


In 1993, a woman sued Geller, who appeared on television, for being to blame for her pregnancy. The conception was made possible by bending her intrauterine device ("spiral") on a chimney rug .

See also



  • Staya Erusa - Find the Book of Knowledge. Documentary film produced by Uri Geller, Harry Beckers & Ronald Jan Heijn. Netherlands 2006
  • The Uri Geller Story (Original title: Mindbender), feature film from 1996 by Ken Russell , based on the life of Uri Geller, with Ishai Golan as Uri Geller, with a cameo by Uri Geller himself.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. James Randi Educational Foundation “Hot News” website , July 27, 2007
  2. a b c Ulli Kulke: Auf Biegen und Brechen , in Die Welt , November 16, 2004
  3. a b Uri Geller , brief description on the website of the Society for the Scientific Investigation of Parasciences
  4. a b c d Thomas von Randow : Uri and Science , in Die Zeit , 1974
  5. Remembering John Lennon urigeller.com
  6. Uri Geller's holiday heaven and hell interview with Uri Geller in The Telegraph , August 20, 2012
  7. Inside Uri Geller's mind-bending mansion: Yves Saint Laurent's cast-offs, Michael Jackson's favorite sofa and 'talking' toilets in Berkshire pad on sale for £ 15million dailymail.co.uk, October 15, 2015 (with pictures of the villa and Video)
  8. a b c Björn Erichsen: Tragedy with a spoon. January 8, 2008, accessed October 10, 2019 .
  9. January 17, 1974 - Uri Geller bends cutlery live on TV . West German Broadcasting Cologne. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  10. a b Magier is looking for a spoon-bender successor - Interview with Uri Geller ( Memento from May 12, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) medienhandbuch.de, January 3, 2008 (archived at archive.is)
  11. Waleczek T, Uri Geller - "I still believe in aliens" , in Der Tagesspiegel , January 8, 2008
  12. ^ Uri is first to leave the jungle , Daily Mail
  13. Uri Geller: Inspirational Motivational Speaker urigellerlectures.com
  14. International mining: The Geller effect on exploration urigeller.com
  15. Ally McCoist still irked by '96 missed penalty The Scotsman on Sunday, August 11, 2013.
  16. Uri Geller about MJ website True Michael Jackson
  17. Uri Geller Charitable Foundation urigeller.com
  18. ^ Uri Geller Museum. Retrieved March 18, 2020 (American English).
  19. Russell T, Puthoff H, Information transmission under conditions of sensory shielding. , in Nature , 251/1974, pp. 602-7.
  20. Investigating the paranormal text of the editorial in Nature , 251/1974, p. 559, on urigeller.com
  21. ^ A b New Flap Over Uri Time, November 4, 1974
  22. ^ Dixon B, Peerless review in Current Biology , 9/1999, p. R794
  23. Hanlon J, Uri Geller and Science , in New Scientist , 64/1974, pp. 170-85.
  24. ^ Leon Jaroff: Debunking Seeing Without Sight Time, February 6, 2002
  25. ^ Jaroff L, Fighting Against Flimflam , in Time , June 13, 1988
  26. ^ Uri Geller The Skeptic's Dictionary
  27. ^ Materials & Design, Vol. 2, Issue 3, March 1981, pp. 116 f.
  28. When thoughts move mountains ( Memento from August 12, 2016 in the web archive archive.today ) Forum, Das Wochenmagazin, March 18, 2011 (archived at archive.is)
  29. Uri Geller's Enigmatic Power , in Spiegel , January 28, 1974
  30. James Randi: The Truth about Uri Geller , Prometheus Books 1982, ISBN 978-0879751999 . On page 198 it is described how Geller was observed preparing a spoon.
  31. Yoel Marcus: The Holiday Predictions: The Curse of the Average Year , in Ha'aretz , September 26, 2003, translation by Daniela Marcus
  32. Randi, J. (1982): The Truth about Uri Geller. Prometheus Books, Amherst.
  33. ^ Skeptiker 1/2008: Special issue Uri Geller
  34. ^ A b c Grossmann W, Lawsuits may silence critics of the paranormal , in New Scientist , 1777/1991, p. 17
  35. CSICOP Timeline csicop.org, see under 1995.
  36. TV show with Uri Geller: Biege Spiegel Online is fun, January 9, 2008
  37. ProSieben: "The next Uri Geller" starts successfully kino.de, January 9, 2008
  38. ^ ProSieben: No new season of "The Next Uri Geller" DWDL.de, August 26, 2009
  39. quotemeter.de : Geller-Show: No Aliens, No Spectators , November 16, 2008 (accessed on December 28, 2013)
  40. The Lancet , 342/1993, pp. 1286-8.
  41. Staya Erusa. Internet Movie Database , accessed June 8, 2015 .