CLASSIC HOAXES: Uri Geller – The Greatest Prankster Of All Time?

This may well be the first time that you have heard of the name ‘Uri Geller’ and it is not surprising at all. Because, quite frankly, from the time when he was a guest and his hoax exposed on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, his career went on a full nosedive and had never rebounded ever since then. But he’s still out there pranking people with his frankly quite laughable ‘gifts’. He claims to be able to bend spoons using just his mind.

Here is a brief background of this Israel-born, self-proclaimed psychic who now resides in the United Kingdom…

Geller has been an illusionist and performer for about four decades now. His trademark and most popular trick is, as we say, spoon bending, in which he allegedly bends a metal spoon using the power which resides inside himself. He claims to be accomplishing it through psychokinesis and telepathy, although he – and no one else – has ever been able to really prove it, which is why so many skeptics consider him a prankster. Have you seen the spoon bending scene by a young American monk in the move The Matrix? Well, that one is said to be inspired by Geller’s typical performances.


His other acts include depicting concealed pictures or illustrations and influencing stop watches to run, go faster, and halt, all with the power of his mind.

He was a former soldier of the Israeli Army when he was 18, and was wounded in battle during the Six-Day War in June 1967. After that, he embarked on a career as a performer. By the 1970s, he became popular in the United States and Europe, and then on that fateful 1973 night with Johnny Carson at The Tonight Show, his acts were unintentionally revealed to be hoaxes.

Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show when Uri Geller was invited to display his famed psychic abilities in front of a live studio audience and possibly millions more who were watching it on TV. Bonus: the actual footage of this event can be easily searched in YouTube if you want.

Carson was a former magician himself and has become an exposer of hoaxes, so he wanted to see Geller’s notorious acts right before his eyes.


What Geller didn’t know was that prior to his guest appearance, Carson’s people had contacted his greatest skeptic, James “The Amazing” Randi, to spoil any prospective trickery. Carson was unconvinced that Geller indeed had real psychic powers and consulted Randi to help them find out if Geller’s claims were true or not.

Randi simply instructed the show’s organizers to provide Geller with their own spoons, keys, and metal objects and not allow him or any of his staff members to go anywhere near these items.

During the actual broadcast, Geller was then presented to the TV show’s audience. He sat in front of Carson, who stayed behind his table counter set. A small table was prepared in front of Geller where all the metal objects were placed for him to manipulate with his powers.

A few minutes passed and Carson was urging him to get on with the performance. At once, Geller was seen taken aback by all the items in front of him but still continued to go on with the show. He moved his hands on top of the items as if trying to mentally control them. Evidently, that didn’t work.

A few moments again passed, then he seemed to have suddenly become nervous when he was made aware that the items were not “touched” by his group. He still couldn’t move any single one of the items.


After a brief commercial break, and with Carson appearing to be getting bored of what was not happening, Geller simply told Carson that he was “pressured” and that he was not “strong enough” that night, so he could not perform.

Geller’s biggest skeptic up to this day is James “The Amazing” Randi. He was also a former magician and scientific skeptic. He even wrote a book titled “The Truth about Uri Geller: One of the most eye-opening exposés of the decade about psychic claims and magic!”

Randi was the first of many to prove that Geller’s performances are only tricks and not really due to any psychic powers. Randi even infamously compared them to magic tricks found at the “backs of cereal boxes,” calling Geller a prankster, which led to a legal court dispute between the two. The conflict, however, was settled outside of the courtroom and no one really knows what they have actually agreed upon.

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