It can protect authors from ridicule and add to legends. For instance: “Inside Magic wins Nobel Prize!” contains the same words as “Inside Magic wins Nobel Prize?” but says something entirely different. The first statement would be considered false (at least so far) but the second phrase is merely a question.
So the name of the new documentary by Vikram Jayanti, The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy? conveys something or maybe nothing. The documentary is just asking a question, that’s all.
We have not seen the documentary yet but have doubts about the premise. Those doubts spring from our doubts about Mr. Geller’s psychic ability.
According to the British newspaper The Independent, the film “offers compelling evidence of his involvement in the shadowy world of espionage.
“Uri has a controversial reputation. A lot of people think he is a fraud, a lot of people think he is a trickster and makes things up but at the same time he has a huge following and a history of doing things that nobody can explain,” Mr. Jayanti told reporters.
Speaking to The Independent, Geller acknowledged alarm when he first saw Jayanti’s documentary.
Mr. Geller said he is “happy that the doc is showing ‘a serious side’ to him.” Mr. Geller claims he used his psychic skills to accomplish positive things, nothing negative. For instance, he refused a request to kill a pig by stopping its heart via telepathy. He was concerned his spy handlers would next ask him to kill a human with the same unexplained powers. Presumably he saw this dangerous slippery slope thanks to his ability to foretell the future or maybe it was just a hunch.
The documentary is said to include interviews with experts from The Stanford Research Institute, senior CIA operatives, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, physicists Russell Targ and Hal Puthoff among others.
The Independent directly addresses the ambiguous title. “The doc leaves a question mark in its title but provides so much background evidence that we are left in little doubt that even its most outlandish assertions are rooted in truth. Whether or not Geller had psychic powers, US security forces were certainly prepared to take a very hefty wager on him.”
There is no evidence the wager paid off for anyone other than Mr. Geller. Mr. Geller took advantage of a unique moment in history; “psychic arms race” between the US and Soviet Union. He was ready to help the West match the Soviets’ claimed success in psychic research.
“When Jimmy Carter was elected President, one of the first things he did was to have Uri Geller give him a four hour briefing on the Soviet psychic threat. America didn’t want a psychic gap and Uri was the go-to guy about these things,” Mr. Jayanti said.
Did he ever cross the line? We know he shied away from killing farm animals and humans with psychic powers but did he ever use his powers in a controversial manner? Yes, Mr. Geller confesses, he did. He regrets it very much now.
Mr. Geller apologized to Scotland for using his psychic powers from a helicopter above Wembley Stadium to influence a soccer match in England’s favor. His special power allegedly made the soccer ball move just before a missed penalty kick in the Euro 1996 tournament.
“I then realized after I got hate letters, hundreds and hundreds from Scotland, that it was absolutely and utterly unethical,” Geller confessed. “Guess what, I bought a Scottish island. I made up with Scotland. I am an owner of a Scottish island. That, to me, means I am partially Scottish.”
We cannot wait to see the film when it is broadcast on the BBC later this year. Perhaps we will be convinced Mr. Geller possesses special powers and not just those of bravado and self-aggrandizement while perpetuating a potentially harmful belief in powers that have not been demonstrated to exist for him or anyone? We are not saying anything, just asking the question.