The Uri Geller Experiments
In the 1970’s, Uri Geller was a famous psychic and illusionist from Israel that appeared on TV to show off his ability to bend spoons and read minds. While many people assumed these were just parlor tricks, the scientists at Project Stargate believed that he could be an excellent case study. In August of 1973, the CIA spent a week working with Uri Geller to test his psychic abilities. Over the course of 8 days, they conducted different experiments every day, and recorded the data.
They had Geller sit in an “electronically shielded” room, which they described to be a double-walled, insulated space where he could not have possibly received any kind of radio communication, or cheat the test in any way. There was an intercom that allowed Uri to speak to the scientists, but he stayed in the room during the entire experiment.
On the first day, the scientist pulled out a large dictionary, flipped through the pages, and landed their finger on a random word. They asked Geller to read their minds and identify the word, even though he obviously could not see the book. The word was “fuse”, and he drew a firecracker, with a fuse coming out of one end. The next word was “bunch”, and the dictionary included an image with a bunch of grapes. Geller explained that in his mind’s eye, he could see purple circles with water dripping off of it, so he drew grapes.
In the days that followed, the CIA asked him to do several more experiments. Not all of them were successful, but the vast majority of them were eerily accurate. They moved on from mind reading, and took him to a computer lab. One of the computers was randomly generating images, and he was asked to draw what the computer showed on the screen. He correctly guessed a kite, and a church. In another experiment, they called up a random CIA agent in a office on the East Coast, and asked him to draw a picture of the first thing that popped in his mind. The agent on the phone was drawing an image of two mountains with the sun in the top right corner. Uri Geller drew two zig-zag lines in the same shape as the mountains, with a circle in the upper right corner.
In many of the cases, Geller could not tell what the actual object was, or he guessed very close to it (like when someone drew a camel, Geller drew a horse, instead.) By the end of the eight-day trial, the CIA was convinced that Uri Geller did, in fact, have psychic powers. A few years later, however, he was exposed on TV as a fraud, when a talk show switched out his props, proving that he could not actually bend spoons with his mind. Project Stargate was a top-secret experiment, so no one could release the documents that showed these tests conducted by the U.S. government.
A modern-day illusionist named Darren Brown visited the Sedona Creative Life Center, which is where professional psychics go to teach their abilities to other people. Brown did the same sort of experiments that were conducted in the Uri Geller study. During a remote viewing test, Brown sat in a different room and correctly guessed what someone else was drawing. During the course of their conversation, he would leave subliminal messages. For example, he said, “Let the images sail through your mind, don’t go overboard on the details”, and she ended up drawing a sailboat.
During the Uri Geller tests, there was a day when one of the scientists drew a picture of a rabbit before Geller had even arrived, and it was locked in a cabinet. So there was no way that he could have influenced the image. He could not correctly guess “rabbit”, but he asked if a particular scientist had drawn it. When they said “yes”, he tried to blame it on not having a great psychic connection with that particular scientist. There has also never been a rational explanation as to how he could have known what was on the computer screen, since it would have been impossible to influence the machine simply by talking.