As of 1971, there were many American psychic personalities who had some kind of fame, greater or lesser.
Some of these were noble people, some pretentious, some tended toward scumbaggery -- but NONE of which had any SCIENTIFIC credibility (as it was referred to back then) and ALL of which were ATTACKED by skeptics if they became too visible.
Parapsychologists tended to avoid the entire lot of them so as not to be painted with the skeptical tar brushes.
The most famous was probably the seer of Washington,
D.C., Jeanne Dixon. But skeptics avoided shoot-outs with her because of
her tremendously powerful political and media connections.
In other words, the social and antisocial battle
lines were well drawn and well understood by everyone -- and it seemed that
those lines would remain in force forever. I fully expected to be victimized
within the scope of this traditional situation -- if not by parapsychologists
themselves, then certainly by the skeptics and media. I warned all my enthusiastic
contacts that well, if I'm here now, I'll be gone tomorrow.î
However, in 1971 Dr. Andrija Puharich DISCOVERED
Uri Geller in Tel Aviv, and shortly thereafter brought him to the United
States -- and it was the ARRIVAL of Uri into the American situation completely
and unexpectedly that blew to smithereens the typical situation I have outlined
And for this I owe Uri a tremendous gratitude of a type that I guess he'll be surprised to read of in these pages.
Zelda Dear of course knew Puharich quite well --
in that her employer, Mr. Reed Erickson, funded many of Puharich's projects
regarding psychoactive substances -- and which projects were all the rage
during the late 1960s.
So I'd met Puharich many times in Zelda's apartment where anyone who WAS or wanted to be someone in psychic research gathered. I think Puharich was disappointed with me in that I wouldn't take part in ingesting substances. But he, as did Dr. Jean Houston and other luminaries, praised my paintings as being representative of REALITIES usually only available via substances.
I considered Puharich to be a man of great vision,
and read everything he had written. His credentials were awesome and solid.
Thus, I understood that he was looking for a paragon of psychic performance,
and it appeared that he first found this paragon in the person of the brilliant
Brazilian psychic surgeon, Arigo -- but whom unfortunately was killed in
a car wreck in 1971, a loss to the world, I think.
Puharich went to Tel Aviv to witness Geller's metal-bending
talents, and commenced a series of tests. During these Geller manifested
psychokinetic abilities, and dematerialized objects that reappeared elsewhere.
Under hypnosis, a mysterious voice was heard in the same room as Geller,
claiming to be a superior intelligence of an extraterrestrial nature. A
Hindu scholar had conveyed similar messages to Puharich in 1953, and again
in 1956 by someone else in Arizona.
Many observers of Puharich's career have noted
that the communicating of superior intelligences in spaceships manifested
in the presence of Puharich and seemed to follow him around from one psychic
to another. As noted in the Berger & Berger encyclopedia of Parapsychology
(1991), Along with Geller, Dr. Puharich thinks that he also has been chosen
by extraterrestrial entities to persuade the world of the reality of their
existence and benevolence of purpose.î
It is fair to say, then, that Puharich (deceased
in 1994) either began, or certainly gave currency to, the concept of extraterrestrial
psychic communication. Because before him I know for certain that not even
scumbaggy psychics would have dared as much -- and anyway this particular
territory belonged otherwise to the first UFO CONTACTEES of the early 1950s
and whom were savaged by skeptics, media and scientists.
For his part, Geller proved to be a delightful
personality. He was dynamic, optimistic, and with endless reserves of energy.
He was also exceedingly handsome and possessed an extraordinary public charisma
-- all of which ultimately added up to his superstar glamour.
He was exactly what the dour realms of parapsychology versus science and skeptics needed to experience.
In my estimation of him, he defiantly dared to walk where angels feared to tread -- and was also to prove to have many more than the nine lives attributed to cats.
Finally, it should be said that Uri simply adored
the ambrosia of the public stage -- and it was this wonderful talent that
wrecked the cast-in-cement power of the skeptics and who thereafter really
had to work overtime even to be heard through the applause of Uri's vast
I thought all of this was great, and admired Uri very much for this fabulous CONTRIBUTION. DECONSTRUCTING the skeptics IS, after all, a needed contribution.
Parapsychologists, of course, ran for cover. Some
of them even made public and semi-public announcements that THEY would never
touch Geller with a ten-foot pole -- much in the same way they worked overtime
to avoid taking notice of Cleve Backster's breakthrough work.
Uri, of course, simply stole the limelight from
all other psychics of whatever water, and the bitching I heard along these
lines was vastly more amusing than watching TV.
There can be no question that it was Geller who
put psychic research back on the map of public awareness, not only in the
United States but regarding the entire world. Regardless of what was said
about him, he reached deep into the human psyche and reminded our species
of something that is hard to articulate, at least for me.
This was a tremendous and wonderful achievement.
It was doubly wonderful for little me. I thought
the collision (for that is what it certainly was) between Geller and society,
scientific and otherwise, was simply fascinating -- and the collision was
clearly won by Uri.
But in my case, although media AND skeptical interest was increasing, and I was having to work overtime to outwit it, Geller's extraordinary luminosity attracted all of the negative attention that otherwise might have become focused ON ME.
Thus, I slipped unscathed through the summer and autumn of 1972, clearly a crucial time if the skeptics had taken notice of my existence. They did not, otherwise arming themselves in a futile attempt to cut Uri down.
When little me next became something to notice, I was already associated with a project everyone understood was being SECRETLY sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency -- THE Company with tremendous influence in science and media everywhere. Here, then, was a horse of a strange color, and no one knew what to do, or say, or think.