CSICOP PROPOSES +quot;SKEPTICS RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE+quot; Buffalo, NY - The Committee fo
CSICOP PROPOSES "SKEPTICS RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE"
Buffalo, NY -- The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) has been monitoring the return tour of
former psychic superstar Uri Geller as he makes his way across the United
States promoting his new book, "The Geller Effect," and discussing
national security with members of the US Government.
According to _The Washington Times_, on April 24 Geller was invited
to meet with members of Congress by Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI),
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Pell stated that he
has known Mr. Geller for a while and is very impressed with him. Also
among the 35 persons in attendance was Rep. Dante Fascell (D-FL), Chairman
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The meeting focused upon Geller's assertions that the Soviet Union is
far ahead of the United States in conducting research into "psychic
warfare." Geller himself claims the ability to read minds, do remote
viewing, and erase computer memory banks.
CSICOP Executive Director Mark Plummer expressed amazement that
members of the U. S. Government would discuss the subject with Mr. Geller
and offered CSICOP's assistance in countering the perceived psychic
threat. Mr. Plummer felt sure that if there was such a thing as a psychic
force, it could be neutralized by the skeptics.
"It's really very simple," stated Plummer, "Uri Geller has claimed in
the past that skeptics, or those who disbelieve in his powers, are able to
block or interfere in his ability to utilize those powers by the force of
their negative thoughts.
"What I propose is this| Perhaps we could place skeptics in strategic
locations throughout the world all thinking negative thought about psychic
"Or", speaking tongue in cheek, Plummer continued, " If a
particularly nasty ESP wave was detected, we could have on standby a
Skeptic's Rapid Deployment Force ready to rush to the affected area and
neutralize this psychic force."
Geller, who rose to notoriety in the early 1970's by professing to
have psychic abilities which enabled him to bend spoons and fix broken
watches, now asserts that he has used his "powers of the mind" to become
rich by locating gold and other mineral deposits.
Geller all but disappeared from public view by the end of the 70s
after he was repeatedly challenged by skeptics to a test of his abilities
under controlled laboratory conditions, and his methods were exposed and
duplicated by magician James "The Amazing" Randi, in his book, _The Truth
About Uri Geller_. Geller left the U.S. in disgust and took up residence
in England, where he said that the atmosphere was much more suitable for
Paul Kurtz, CSICOP chairman, stated, "Uri Geller is back again making
claims of psychic powers. Geller is a magician, and as far as we can tell,
he has no psychic powers. His claims of psychic abilities are not unlike
an unsinkable rubber duck in a bathtub."
Under the direction of Plummer, CSICOP has attempted to follow Geller
as he circuits the United States appearing on local radio and television
"In some cities Geller has been able to astonish the local host with
his standard set of tricks, such as starting broken watches, moving
compass needles, bending spoons, or drawing pictures hidden inside sealed
envelopes," said Plummer. "What we are trying to do is provide some
expertise to the local host to help them spot areas in which elements of
control can be introduced to eliminate trickery. In a number of cities our
advice was not utilized with the result that Geller was allowed free reign
to do as he pleased. But in other places our advice has brought results."
Plummer cites as an example a recent appearance of Uri Geller on a
"People are Talking" program in Boston, MA. CSICOP was able to inform the
producers in advance as to what feats Geller would most likely perform and
ways to avoid deception. CSICOP was also pleased to provide the program
with the services of professional magician Henry Gordon. Gordon was able
to refute many of the claims made by Geller and generally block the
attempts of Geller to showcase many of his alleged "psychic abilities."
Gordon commented, "I found that he did his usual duplication of a
drawing made by the host and was fairly accurate. I also found, and
pointed out on the program, that he had requested that he and the host be
left alone when the host made his drawing. He uses methods similar to
those mentalists use to secure information.
"Of all the programs that Geller has appeared on to date, this was
the only one on which he was unable to make a compass needle move." Had
Geller been equipped with the usual concealed magnet - which is the modus
operandi of the compass trick - it would have been easy for magician
Gordon to detect it by means of the compass itself. This was done in
Denver, CO, when a CSICOP member intercepted Mr. Geller in the audience
and by means of a hand-held compass showed that Geller did indeed have a
strong magnet somewhere on the front of his body. At that point Geller
backed away and refused to allow this man near him again.
CSICOP has also issued a 24-page booklet featuring a number of
exposes on Geller written by journalists around the world.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank