Uri Geller – CIA Psychic or Conman?

Uri Geller

In the 1970’s the American government received word that Russia was investing heavily in the research and development of para-psychological phenomena. Not only that, but their intelligence – which was likely intended to mislead them – suggested that they were increasing their budget from an already whopping 60 million rubles. Keep in mind, these were Cold War times, so the U.S. was determined to beat Russia at everything.

The United States government began funding CIA projects to invest in ESP testing and uncover paranormal abilities. They launched a program called “Scannate” at Stanford University where they brought in well known psychics and tested their claims.

One of the most popular psychics was rocketing to stardom – his name was Uri Geller, a soft-spoken Israel who invoked the help of God to perform his stunts.

The common feats Uri performed involved bending spoons and visualizing images that a subject known as a “sender” concentrated on. In a 2017 interview with Good Morning Britain, Geller claimed that the CIA had requested him to investigate a Russian embassy using remote viewing and solve the mystery of JFK’s assassination.

The most infamous moment of Uri Geller’s career, however, occurred during his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Unknown to Geller, Carson had contacted former magician and skeptic James Randi.

Carson himself had experience with magic and doubted Geller’s psychic claims. He contacted James Randi and asked for instruction on how to keep Geller honest. James Randi insisted that Johnny provide the instruments for the tricks and keep Geller and his crew away from them prior to his performance. Randi believed Geller was performing cheap magic – and the spoons were already bent before he went on stage.

Johnny Carson’s control of the objects prior to Geller’s appearance seemed to pay off – Geller was unable to demonstrate a single telepathic ability during his 20 minutes of onscreen time. It was unforgettably awkward and put the brakes on Geller’s exploding popularity. Nonetheless, Uri Geller continues to be known worldwide as a legitimate psychic and convince many of his paranormal abilities.

My short film “Doctor with the Red Houseware” involves a cult that employs the use of astral projection for communication with an otherworldly being. Feel free to check out the trailer below if that’s of interest to you.

The Ganzfeld Experiment and ESP

The “Ganzfeld Experiment” was introduced to experimental psychology during the 1930s. The aim of the experiment was to test for PSI – or anomalous processes of sensory information. The term “Ganzfeld” is a German word that means “entire field”. The experiments were essentially designed to test the existence of a sixth sense – so it’s not hard to see why sensory deprivation exercises developed from these experiments.

During the Ganfeld Experiment a subject, known as a “receiver”, would be isolated into a dark room. Translucent ping pong balls were cut in half and taped to their eyes. A red flood light illuminated the room. Headphones secured to their ears bombarded them with white noise. The receivers were deprived of normally functioning senses to force them to use a subconscious sense to interpret the world around them.

Another subject, known as the “sender”, would concentrate on a select image in another room. Researchers wanted to learn if the receiver could receive telepathic communications and visualize the image that the sender was focusing on.

The experiment concluded with the receiver attempting to properly identify the image that was being telepathically communicated. They were presented with 4 images, which through guess work alone had a 25% chance to be accurate. Correctly identifying the image was known as a “hit”.

Charles Honorton

Through 42 experiments conducted from 1974-1982, the hit rate was 33 percent. This is statistically significant, and it was enough for Charles Honorton – an American Parapsychologist – to conclude that a anomalous process of sensory information did exist. Unsurprisingly, the methods employed in the study were scrutinized for not employing optimal protocols and contained insufficient documentation. Ray Hyman, a psychologist, criticized the flaws in randomization for choice target and judging procedure. It seems the success of these experiments fueled legitimate intrigue into the possibility of remote viewing.

I’ve been researching astral projection and remote viewing to better understand its history and how it received funding of 20 million dollars through formerly classified CIA experiments. Astral Projection is a communication method employed by the “Mountain Cult” in my upcoming short film “Doctor with the Red Houseware.” I’ll post a link to my trailer at the bottom and my sources directly below. I am not a historian, nor a documentarian. I simply drink a lot of coffee, walk in a lot of circles, then write down the results of that journey.

  1. Bem, D. J. (1996). Ganzfeld phenomena. In G. Stein (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the paranormal (pp. 291-296). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganzfeld_experiment