The public reputation of parapsychology

A special event caused quite a stir in all of Germany and adjacent nations in 1974. A young Israelite by the name of Uri Geller (born 20th of December 1946 in Tel Aviv) was introduced by Wim Thoelke in his ZDF show “Drei mal Neun” on the 17th of January 1974. He was given a number of forks and spoons in front of a running camera and he demonstrated how he could break some of them by holding his hand over them and how he could bend others by rubbing them lightly between his thumb and index finger. Besides this, he also made defective timepieces work again by holding his hands over them. He furthermore encouraged television viewers to bring out cutlery and their defective watches and clocks and place them on a table on front of them, this with the idea that they might bend and that the timepieces might work again. The strange and wonderful eventuated: Many viewers reported after that their forks bent and their clocks worked again. Television stations and newspapers received thousands of calls about successful experiments. Something particularly drastic happened with the Family Scheid from Karlstadt am Main. Mrs. Barbara Scheid (63) sat in front of her television set with her daughter Elfriede and two of her grandchildren. During the broadcast the daughter said in jest: “I hope that our silver cutlery isn’t also broken.” The mother and one of the grandchildren went to an adjoining room and opened a couple of drawers of a sideboard. The shock was great: 42 pieces of cutlery had already deformed in the two drawers, spoons, teaspoons, cake forks, a cake scoop and a ladle. Two pieces were broken. Mrs. Scheid was so terrified that she called the police and asked for help. Some of the 53 bent pieces of cutlery of the Family Scheid. Police inspector Horst Kessler and police chief Horst Hammer did indeed arrive at their flat soon after. Nine more pieces of cutlery bend in front of their eyes. Within 90 minutes, 53 pieces of silver cutlery had deformed. A television viewer from the GDR entered his bedroom after a similar program had aired on the 19th of January 1974 and he heard short bursts of whistling and hissing coming from his wall safe. When he opened the safe, he noticed that an album with silver coins stored within had doubled in size. He opened the album to find that all coins had suffered a slight kink and this had doubled the size of the album. He figured that the damaged this had caused him was around 50,000.00 DM. A watchmaker in Hamburg on the other hand was lucky. From 13 alarm clock in for repair, five worked perfectly and they no longer had to be repaired. Similar shows with Uri Geller were also broadcast in Switzerland, Austria and England. With the same results everywhere.