- Title: Celebrity psychic Uri Geller receives recognition from CIA
- Date: 27th January 2017
- Summary: DRAWING OF GRAPES CIA DOCUMENT'S HEADLINE READING (English): "EXPERIMENTS - URI GELLER AT SRI, AUGUST 4-11, 1973"
- Embargoed: 10th February 2017 19:31
- Keywords: CIA psychic Uri Geller declassified documents supernatural powers magician
- Location: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM
- City: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL / JERUSALEM
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA00360UX7X5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israeli celebrity psychic, Uri Geller, best known for bending spoons and stopping watches, has received approval from an unexpected source - the Central Intelligence Agency.
Among some 13 million pages of declassified documents that have been released online by the CIA recently, it was noted that the U.S. spy agency believed Geller did indeed have paranormal abilities.
Geller faced critics who dismissed him as a fraud. Magician James Randi set up a sting interview with TV host Johnny Carson early on in Geller's career to surprise the Israeli and request he do his usual tricks for a live audience with props that weren't prepared or seen by any of Geller's team. Geller spent considerable time trying to perform his tricks before giving up and saying he wasn't feeling "strong".
The awkward TV appearance however, did little to stem his popularity.
The documents describe in detail a week-long series of experiments and tests that the CIA conducted with Geller in 1973 at Stanford Research Institute in California.
It was part of the so-called 'Stargate Project', a secret U.S. military unit that was set up in the late 1970s to investigate the use of supernatural powers and remote viewing.
Following his reported success in most of the tests, the agency determined that it considered Geller "has demonstrated paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner."
Geller, 70, and now living in Israel, was not at all surprised that he managed to convince CIA officials and top researchers of his abilities.
"What the CIA has released now is just the tip of the iceberg," Geller told Reuters near his home in Jaffa.
Geller said he was tested by the CIA under laboratory conditions in several locations, including a nuclear lab.
In some cases, he said he was locked in a shielded room where he partially replicated drawings that were drawn by the testers miles away.
"They were looking at the drawing and they were transmitting it to me while I was sitting in the shielded room. And again with the marker, I just drew what was coming into my inner mind. Some of them were very complicated, some of them I got point on, like a bunch of grapes, they drew 24 grapes, I drew 24 grapes," said Geller, recalling a test that was documented and published.
In other tests, according to the CIA documents, Geller didn't always do as well. Sceptical viewers, the document noted, seemed to disrupt Geller's mind-reading and distance image-viewing.
But due to his success in the experiments, Geller said that during the Cold War era, he was sent on various missions by several intelligence agencies which he refused to name. The CIA documents do not confirm Geller's claim.
Sceptics have always said that Geller was just a very good performer of magic tricks, but Geller said they provided him with the perfect cover for his spying missions.
"I didn't care; it was a good cover for me. The controversy, the sceptics kept me safe. It was an in-built safety device for me while I could secretly work for secret intelligence services. How I feel about it today? I look back at my career and the work and I say, 'Hey, I did some amazingly fascinating things that brought in positive information that enhanced peace'," he said.
Geller also told Reuters he predicted Donald Trump's election win, and told Theresa May in 2014 that she would become prime minister.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None