The latest facts. The Damned Facts.

James Randi --- Wizard (
Tue, 17 Oct 1995 10:39:44 -0400

Those Damned Facts again!

Drat! Facts have a way of spoiling a perfectly good story. Examining
one of Mr. Uri Geller's latest exciting breakthroughs, we find that
reality once more intrudes on fantasy.

Some months ago, during Silly Week, CNN-TV ran a bit on the
desperation of the U.K.'s Reading football club. Seems the popular
team was not faring well in the rankings, and were looking for
something -- anything -- that might improve their situation. Never
loathe to offer something useless to those in need, Geller announced
that his vast powers (those obtained from the planet Hoova through the
flying saucer named "IS") were now at work to bring Reading to a
winning position. Gadzooks! How can they fail, we have to ask!

I asked a few questions of the club, and discovered that the chairman,
John Madjeski, is a friend of Geller. Geller claimed that the team
never lost when he attended the game in person. Now we find that he
claimed to have been present at only three games, and that the team
had won all three games! Of course, he might have had many
obligations to assist mankind toward a better future through
spoon-bending, so we must try to understand. His vibrations were
applied to this situation at a time when, according to a club
spokesman, they "were losing very few games," and "there didn't seem
to be a noticeable change in performance after [Geller] had announced
[his psychic assistance]" but also that no one there was aware of just
when he started to apply his powers.

Reading missed out this last season, despite the powerful assistance
of Geller's mind. When asked about this failure, he said that the
40,000 fans in attendance were not enough massed mind power to pull
the team through. Oh. I see.

It appears that Reading has no difficulty in accepting surreptitious
psychic help. Is this covered in the rule book? I'm sure that
stimulants, drugs and concealed weapons are forbidden by the rules,
but would Reading enlist supernatural help, rather than depending on
skill, strength and dedication to win a game? Isn't this what built
the British Empire?

We may soon expect a coven of witches on the field at half-time --
perhaps supervised by Geller -- placing curses on the other team. Why
not? It's no more silly.

But all is not lost. Reading can forget all about training sessions
and practice. Mr. Geller says he "thinks" the team will "make it this
year." That's a relief!

Geller has now offered, through the National Enquirer, to bring "good
health and fortune" to readers who place their right hands on a photo
of his right hand. We hope that this latest miracle will be more
successful that the Reading football club one.

Hmmmm. Maybe I should send you all a list of some forty-odd promises
made by Mr. Geller that have not been fulfilled.... There are more,
of course, but one is hard-pressed to keep up with the bulletins that
pour forth from this imaginative chap.

In response to many inquiries, the Scientific American Magazine matter
is still being discussed, and I expect an answer momentarily. Several
folks have renewed subscriptions on the strength of my mention of a
column there, and I trust that they will not be subscribing only for
that reason. S.A. is still the leading science magazine, and the new
owners will, I'm sure, continue to offer the same high-quality

My Netherlands and Indiana trips were tiring but very successful and
satisfying. Off to Japan next month to investigate a 14-year-old
Taiwanese girl who is doing the tired old reading-a-billet stunt that
was so popular in China when I was there. I thought I'd "laid the
ghost" of this flummery, but apparently not. The parapsychologists in
Japan and Taiwan have fallen for the trick (why am I not surprised?)
and now I have to go to the other end of the globe--again--to show
them how to do science.

There's no end to it....



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