Wednesday 16 January 2019

Geller convinced CIA he was a 'psychic warrior'

Uri Geller bends a Spoon. Photo: Declan Cahill
Uri Geller bends a Spoon. Photo: Declan Cahill

For decades Uri Geller, the man famous for allegedly bending cutlery with his mind, was mocked over his claims to have paranormal powers.

But while the public were always sceptical it has transpired that none other than the CIA believed the 'spoon-bender' was psychic all along.

In an extraordinary series of declassified documents, the agency revealed the results of a week of experiments it conducted on Geller over eight days in 1973, during which he was tested for 'clairvoyant' or 'telepathic' abilities.


It was part of the Stargate programme which was aimed at weaponising what the CIA called 'remote viewing' and trying to recruit 'psychic warriors'.

Elements of the bizarre secret research featured in The Men Who Stare at Goats, a 2009 Hollywood film starring George Clooney, which took its name from attempts by Stargate operatives to kill goats simply by looking at them.

In the newly released documents there was no mention of Geller being asked to stare down goats. But his handlers concluded: "As a result of Geller's success in this experimental period, we consider that he has demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner."

Stargate was terminated in 1998 amid distrust over its results. But, speaking from Israel where he now lives, Geller claimed the revelations represented the "tip of the iceberg" of what he had been asked to do by the CIA, Mossad and other intelligence agencies.

That included later being tested at a US radiation lab during the Cold War to see if he could trigger a nuclear bomb.

"I'm mind-blown they've released this because there are still remote-viewing programmes active - many intelligence agencies use them," Geller said.

The details of his tests were contained in 13 million pages of declassified documents released by the CIA this week.

Geller was taken to Stanford Research Institute in California between August 4 and 11, 1973, and placed in an "opaque, acoustically and electrically shielded room" with two locked doors.

In the first experiment, agents and scientists opened a dictionary and picked a word at random. The word was 'fuse' and a scientist drew a firecracker.

"Geller was notified via intercom when the target picture was drawn and taped on the wall outside his enclosure," the declassified documents stated.

"His almost immediate response was that he saw a 'cylinder with noise coming out of it'." He then drew an image that looked similar to the firecracker.

A second word was picked, which was 'bunch' and a scientist drew a bunch of grapes.

Geller told them he saw "purple circles" and promptly drew a bunch of grapes. "Both the target picture and Geller's rendition had 24 grapes in the bunch," according to the documents.


Other experiments deemed successful included the scientists drawing a flying seagull, to which Geller said he saw a "flying swan on a hill".

"He drew several birds and said he felt sure his drawing was correct, which it was," his handlers wrote.

Geller did fail various tests when he said he could not get a "clear impression". The documents concluded that he did better when there were no "sceptical observers" present.

Following the release of the documents he said his spoon- bending antics and role as a television entertainer had been a "good cover" for his espionage work with the CIA and Mossad.

"Vindicated? I don't care about the sceptics," he said. "I did many things for the CIA. They wanted me to stand outside the Russian embassy in Mexico, and erase floppy discs being flown out by Russian agents.

"I had to get near someone signing a nuclear deal and bombard him with 'sign, sign, sign'."

He said one international agency, which he wouldn't name, asked him to kill a pig with his mind.

Asked if he had ever been tested by MI6, Geller replied: "No comment."

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