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Monday, May 15, 2006

It could have been worse. It could have gone to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. 

Found this article about the former home of Lisa Marie Presley's father:

Psychic Uri Geller and two partners have bought the Tennessee house Elvis Presley lived in before moving to Graceland, with a winning bid of $905,100....

"We intend to restore it to its old glory. We would like to bring sick children there (for tours), Palestinian children, Israeli children, American children," the Israeli-born Geller said. "Hopefully one day we might get approval to turn it into a museum."...

Geller identified the sellers as Mike and Cindy Hazen, who bought the house some years ago, though not from Presley, for about $180,000.

Geller had original bid $300,000 last month but a bidding war ensued and the price ballooned, he said. During the process he was approached by dozens of people wanting to go in with him, he said. He chose two, New York lawyer Jim Gleason and Lisbeth Silvandersson, a Swedish-born jewellery maker who lives in England, as equal partners.

He had set a ceiling price of $1.11 million, said Geller, who acknowledges a paranormal fascination with the number 11.

"As the clock closed on the bidding Sunday," Geller said, "I felt intuitively I got the price. I was text messaging Gleason and it was exactly 11 on my mobile phone and suddenly the radio started playing an Elvis song. That was Elvis telling me we got the house!"

Geller not only knew Presley, but also knew Presley's daughter's ex-husband:

“When Michael [Jackson] was a teenager, he read about me in American text books and school books, and I think he always wanted to meet me to see how I bend a spoon or read a mind,” says Geller.

The two became such good friends that the singer accepted an invitation from the psychic to speak at Geller's favorite English soccer club....

“You know, when you invite children into your bedroom overall to the society outside Neverland, or to people who don't know Michael Jackson personally, closely and intimately, that looks wrong. It is wrong,” says Geller.

“I am a father. I have two children. I would never send my children to anyone's bed, not even to Michael Jackson's bed, although knowing that he won't do anything to them. But it's just not acceptable in today's day and age. It's not right.”

Geller says he once sat Jackson down and read him the riot act.

“I really screamed at him. I told him, ‘Michael, you've got to change your behavior,” says Geller. “'Mainly with children, because again, although you know, you are innocent and you are doing nothing to them, it just doesn't look good. It doesn't look right.'”

But Geller runs into skeptics, as this 1996 interview shows:

Geller seems to be less keen to perform metal bending these days, and this may be due to several disastrous incidents where observers claimed to have seen him physically bend objects with his hands. Geller's 90-minute performance at Reading's Hexagon in 1987 was reviewed by the Reading Evening Post under the headline "Uri Branded Fake At Show". A sceptic, Mike Hutchinson, had briefed the Post journalist on the techniques that Geller is alleged to use. Geller now puts more emphasis on his other psychic claims.

"I think that the label of spoonbender stuck to me, and I just somehow wanted to get away from it. Maybe that's the reason, that I was sick and tired of trying to prove myself all the time to people, especially with the metal bending. Maybe because it looks trivial and not important - although many scientists think that it's very important, and can't explain it. Sure, there are magicians who can duplicate it through trickery. But the real ones... there's no explanation for it."

Many of Uri Geller's claims are outrageous. For example, take his assertion that he has transmuted a base metal into gold. "I have said that, it is true. First of all, I worked on it for five hours, but I still don't have proof that it was gold. But something did turn yellow, and I totally believe that it was gold. After that I went and bought lead bars, and I sat for hours... I realised what a stupid and ridiculous thing I was trying to do."

Ridiculous indeed. As are his ostentatious attempts to claim the credit for all manner of newsworthy events. One example was his assertion that Reading Football Club was helped to a Premiership playoff by his psychic intervention.

"I believe so, because [of] the synchronicity that, after 124 years, to almost get to the Premiership... I really started that year helping John Madejski [Chairman of Reading Football Club]. What I do is just sit there and concentrate. So I believe, yes, that I contribute some kind of enthusiasm into the crowds."...

Not content with mere psychic phenomena, Geller also claims to have been in contact with aliens. A being called "IS" (Intelligence in the Sky), apparently from a planet called "Hoova", thoughtfully left some messages on his tape recorder.

"This certain entity, or whatever, did use very strange words, like 'Hoova' and 'IS' and 'Spectra'. These names came from a tape recorder. Now I knew on many occasions that the tape was empty - I mean, I checked it myself. So what was happening? Whose voices were they?"

Did he meet this creature?

"No... I've seen lights in the sky, I've seen UFOs, I've even seen something on the ground that I can't explain, but I've never actually seen a being. I wish I had."

Then the interview got weird:

At this point Geller says, "there's one thing I don't want to go into". He then picks up my dictaphone and starts playing with the buttons. Alarmed by this manoeuvre, I leap out of my seat (the dictaphone was hidden from my view by Geller's side). I quickly help him to find the stop button, and he examines the machine very carefully to ensure that it cannot restart. Reluctantly I let him hold on to the recorder, and sit back down again.

My attention is now distracted because I'm listening for any sounds of rewinding or other tampering of the dictaphone. None are forthcoming, but I cannot relax while he is holding it. My concern is to become justified minutes later. He tells me that my line of questioning is too sceptical for his liking. I shift uneasily in my chair, but try to hold Geller's penetrating (and by now, rather fierce) gaze.

With the tape stopped, Geller proceeds to go into the various claims made about him in books, including James Randi's The Truth about Uri Geller, and Victor Stenger's Physics and Psychics. Quoting the alleged instances of libel in these books, he rants on about how these comments have hurt him, damaged his reputation, etc. However, Geller's litigation has never required him to demonstrate that his 'powers' are genuine, and he appears to be unwilling to challenge in court the accusations that he uses simple trickery.

After getting this off his chest, Geller smiles and tells me that we can continue. However, he has just performed an outrageous breach of interview protocol under my very nose, which has me leaping to my feet again in protest. Below my line of sight, Geller has been secretly and (in my opinion) deliberately rewinding the tape. He has just pressed the record button, which threatens to wipe out a large chunk of the interview, when I grab hold of one side of the dictaphone and tell him firmly that I will deal with it.

For a few seconds there is a bizarre tug-of-war between Uri Geller and myself, over who will gain control of the machine. Clearly, he is trying to stop me from uncovering his blatant act of attempted sabotage. Finally, I pull the dictaphone from his grasp, and find to my disgust that he has indeed wound the tape back a great deal. (Why couldn't he psychically wipe my tape? After all, he claims in his press release that he has wiped computer tapes with his mind.)

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Why couldn't he psychically wipe my tape? After all, he claims in his press release that he has wiped computer tapes with his mind.

That's exactly what I was going to say. Maybe I'm psychic.
Jennifer, here is my horoscope for you:

Something strange will happen to you this week.

Let me know if I'm right.

P.S. Where's the verse about a prophet who is inaccurate in one thing?
LOL! Something strange happens to me every day! I don't know where the verse is...
It's in the Bible.

(Sorry, couldn't resist; kinda like Dave Barry's line about the Mayan calendar.)

I just found Deuteronomy 18:22. And Jeremiah 28:9. And Ezekiel 33:33.
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