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A Champion Grubby Speaks Out PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I hardly know where to start... First, see americanchronicle.com. This account is just so packed with mis-statements, outright lies, and scientific howlers, it would take me all day to itemize them - but it can still do a lot of harm just because the ignorant reporter - Peter Fotis Kapnistos - has published the material. I suggest he may now want to return to his former calling in fashion and advertising photography, rather than continue to pose as a "journalist."

To quote him, he says, first:

...it was alleged that Uri Geller was caught cheating in an Israeli TV documentary that has lately also circulated on YouTube.

No, it was proven that Geller was doing one of the only five tricks he knows, and second, that was not any "TV documentary," at all.  It was simply a TV entertainment show. Kapnistos continues:

The accusation was that a slow motion shot revealed him producing a small magnet from behind his ear or out of his hair to influence a compass needle.

Well, anyone who might have said that, would not have been a magician, I'll tell you that. In any case, I've never seen such a statement, except from Geller himself - because he knows that it's a ridiculous scenario, as I'll show you up ahead, one that can't be supported. No "slow motion" was required to show that Geller blatantly placed a thumb-tip - a very common and often-used magician's prop - onto his thumb, which then seemed somehow magnetic, because it caused the very sensitive marine compass to turn as soon as it was brought near the instrument. Kapnistos, again:

...we see a wide overall view of the controversial Israeli TV video scene where Uri Geller's critics accuse him one way or another of allegedly plucking a slightly thick "hidden magnet" from the edge of his hairline.

No, that's not true. The magicians - particularly the Israeli magicians, who are seriously embarrassed by this crude trick from their countryman - never made any such silly statement. That's like saying that a magician produced a rabbit from a hat by having it shot there from a concealed offstage cannon. But this "journalist" really reveals his ignorance by this next statement:

...the video footage makes it readily understood that Uri could not possibly have placed pointlessly thick thumb magnets on both of his hands.

"Both his hands"? Suddenly we have two "thick thumb magnets" being wielded by the magician? Believe me, one is more than sufficient, folks, as I'll show you next week. But just how "thick" - or massive - does a magnet have to be to dramatically affect a marine compass, one of the size that Geller used on the TV show? Just 1/16" thick by 3/16" diameter - and you can easily get a number of those tiny discs into any thumb-tip! Does Mr. Kapnistos really think a responsible journalist would describe such a miniscule object as, "thick"? The fact is, that we magicians are astonished that Geller actually chose to use a plastic thumb-tip, rather than just taping a tiny disc to his finger!

As for the Swedish person Kapnistos says has so carefully researched magnets and their effects on compasses, he's an incompetent, too. His ignorance of the subject is apparent. One statement by Kapnistos says that

...a magnet small enough to hide in someone's hairline can't possibly make a compass needle shift as much as it does in the Uri Geller video.

Au contraire, both of you "experts"! A tiny neodymium magnet contained in a plugged-on thumb tip sure can! Kapnistos, not yet sure that he's made a complete fool of himself, next goes into a rant about Brian "Sapient" Cutler, who he says is

...ostensibly a young apprentice of James Randi.

Well, I'm sorry, "journalist," I'm damn sure he was never an "apprentice" of mine, though he's been a big problem to Uri Geller, in his own way. You see, Sapient sued Geller for a false copyright statement, he won, and got the spoon-bender to pay an undisclosed settlement. This "apprentice" material came right out your hopeful imagination.  But you go on, in your delusion:

Why the mainstream media should side with him and prop up a defamation video for years without first analyzing its actual focus material remains a mystery.

Well, genius, the mainstream media have analyzed the evidence, and they agree with me, as do the magicians and the scientists. And, while we're at it, why hasn't Geller chosen to make a fool of me by taking the million-dollar JREF prize? Think about that. Wouldn't you, if you could? But I have to tell you, your next stupid statement is such a howler that I can't believe you ever even made it through grade school. Folks, read this, from the fevered pen of "journalist" Peter Fotis Kapnistos, following an incoherent account of someone he says can change his body temperature:

It should therefore be evident that Uri Geller, in a similar way, can raise his core body magnetism.

No, I didn't invent that, folks, I couldn't have, because any schoolchild knows its complete nonsense. There is no such thing as a human magnetic field, and certainly no "core magnetism" to be found. Mr. Kapnistos, Uri Geller does the magnet trick in the same way that we used to do it at summer camp to confound the new kids - and the same way that kids all over the world still do it! Compasses are sensitive to any magnetic substance coming anywhere near them, and they respond dramatically to that influence. Watch here next week, and I'll have a video up that shows you just how easy the trick is!

Moving along in this juvenile drama, here's the "journalist" again:

James Randi has said he aims to ruin Uri Geller's reputation.

Sir, and I use the term loosely, Geller doesn't have any reputation to ruin. He's looked upon as a clown by any and all serious - real - journalists, and as for that statement you attribute to me, I'll send you the JREF million-dollar prize, as soon as you provide the evidence for that claim. I suppose you haven't come upon that prize in your intensive fact-gathering for this uninformed attack on me, but look it up, will you?

As for the number-manipulation that this farceur does with asteroid 3163, it's below consideration. But my attention is fully taken by what he says and implies in the matter of the attacks made on me in New Jersey years ago, when I was the victim of harassing telephone calls from teenagers in the area who called me at all hours. This was put in the hands of the local telephone authorities, we traced the calls, and arrests were made. The calls ceased. Writes Kapnistos:

Randi later said that he had been working on behalf of the telephone company in its attempt to track down a minor who had been making obscene calls. It seems that at various times Randi has said that this tape was made by his enemies to blackmail him, that he made it himself, or that the police asked him to make it in an attempt to track down a teenager making obscene calls to his home.

Yes, I did work at the instruction of the New Jersey Bell company, I made the evidential recording with equipment I borrowed from radio station WOR, where I worked a program at that time, but I never said that the tape I presented to the authorities was "made by [my] enemies." The JREF prize is yours as soon as you provide that evidence, too, Kapnistos. You continued:

On May 22nd, 1999, Randi gave a public lecture at Cal Tech, in California. At that time Randi read from a formal statement that he had apparently already sent to some people, and for which he invited others to write to him. This statement consisted of Randi´s explanation for the infamous "Blackmail Tape" and repeated his version of the events that led up to the production of the tape. Randi claimed that he made the tape under the direction of the police chief of Rumson, New Jersey, to entrap harassing obscene callers.

Yes!  You finally got something right, "journalist"! I flooded the media, law enforcement, the U.S. Postal Service, and New Jersey police, with that document, and later related the entire matter to an audience at Cal Tech. But you forgot (?) to mention that on that same occasion, as I finished reading the document, I took the opportunity of flooring a nasty chap who had made similar accusations about me, and had been boasting about it loudly. One shot, to the chops. He went down, and was carried out. VERY satisfying, I assure you. Want some, Mr. Kapnistos? I got some...

I won't do this again. I'm finished having to inform idiots of the facts about these Grubbies. If they want to listen to what my adversaries say, and choose to repeat it without checking - as any honorable "journalist" would do - they can become misinformed easily and happily. Fantasy is their territory, and I leave them to it. Geller knows full well that I'm the biggest thorn in his side he can imagine - because I know the facts, and I tell them to anyone who asks. Let him fret and screech; I'm not listening.

But my next book, "A Magician in the Laboratory," will have a short section on Geller that I'm very sure he won't care for. Stay tuned...  And don't miss the special video I'll have up, next week, showing how to do the stupid compass trick...

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Comments (20)Add Comment
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written by Skemono, April 21, 2009
But you forgot (?) to mention that on that same occasion, as I finished reading the document, I took the opportunity of flooring a nasty chap who had made similar accusations about me, and had been boasting about it loudly. One shot, to the chops. He went down, and was carried out. VERY satisfying, I assure you.

I hope you can put this on your YouTube account someday... I would dearly love to see that. That could be almost as fun as watching John Glenn punch one of those people who don't think we put men on the moon.
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written by MadScientist, April 21, 2009
Ah, Randi all fierce and fiery - I wish I could see him tear this ignoramus apart in person. Those claims about magnets not being able to affect ships' compasses is just so unbelievably stupid. Anyone who's seen these compasses might note the various movable (non-magnetized) iron weights; when the ship is loaded the weights can be adjusted to compensate for the cargo's effect on the compass. If you so much as brought a small non-magnetized piece of soft iron or a magnet near the compass you would have been in big trouble. Even with magnet materials from 40 years ago you could make an easily concealed magnet which would screw up a compass; I could make one that would fit under my fingernails and it would just look like dirt - and if I painted my nails you'd never see it. Today you can buy an N40 class magnet in the shape of a simple ring (it will screw up the magnetic strips on your plastic cards, so wearing such a ring as jewelry is not a good idea).

Any links to the Israeli video? I'd love to see that now. I remember the Tonight Show long ago - I almost missed it but was forced to watch it; initially I didn't want to watch it because I got the impression that Carson might be peddling the same crap that others were. The Uri segment was sooo boring but so funny; Johnny Carson really handled him well and it was just so funny watching this trickster making such incredulous claims and yet being unable to demonstrate any of his tricks.
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written by Gr8wight, April 22, 2009
You Buzz Aldrined him? Dude!
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written by Cian, April 22, 2009
... can't wait for A Magician in the Laboratory!!

smilies/wink.gif but surely when randi did the compass trick for barbar walters he rose his core magnetism! its the only way smilies/grin.gif
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written by harpman, April 22, 2009
i once tried to talk some reason into this oscar person, his video can be found on youtube, i posted under the name FVBAR:
http://www.youtube.com/comment...SKo&gl=US

my new friend oscar and soon to be new friend peter have truly honed the skill of delusional thinking, and i'm inclined to say to perfection
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written by harpman, April 22, 2009
oh sorry the link doesn't work: oscar posts under "MMAProfessor" and the title of his post is "MMAProfessor proves skeptics wrong."
Dearest James i cannot wait to share your video reply on this one with my new friend ^^
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written by bosshog, April 22, 2009
The "Earth", an alleged planet, is claimed to "revolve" around a celestial body that proponents of the "Solar System" theory refer to as the "Sun". This "Sun" is said, by those who promote the theory, to be a star which allegedy gives forth "energy rays" that cause the so-called "Earth" to become warm. They insist that it is this energy and not the warm hand of God that permits life to exist on "Planet Earth".

Sounds pretty weak to me.
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written by mazyloron, April 22, 2009
HA! That site has google ads, which I guess picked up on the repeated use of the word "magnets" in the article, and now, right underneath the paragraph where Oscar says that a magnet can't affect a compass, there's an ad for rare-earth-magnets(dot)com, which sells "MAGCRAFT® rare earth neodymium magnets...strong high-quality neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB)..."

There's a big picture of some small, "super-strong" magnets right there with the paragraph saying small magnets aren't strong enough. Oh the ironies.

Hopefully this URL will post properly:
http://yfrog.com/6qmagneticironyj

Also: @bosshog
I agree, that sounds pretty flimsy. Good thing it's just a theory, huh?
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written by Rustylizard, April 22, 2009
Perhaps Kapnistos got some of his “research” data from Wikipedia, where a sentence on the Geller page reads: “One slow motion shot revealed him producing a small magnet from behind his ear to influence a compass needle.”

Many years ago, I made the mistake of subscribing to a newsletter which published an admixture of data ranging from factual to tripe. Incensed by the measures Geller was taking to silence his critics, I objected to the editor when it was claimed Geller had psychic powers that could bend spoons. After several tit-for-tat exchanges, I was invited to attend a demonstration and see for myself if the proposition was true. Not being a magician, and certain I would not be allowed to institute the necessary controls, I recommended they invite James Randi or Joe Nickell if they were really interested in finding out the truth. Communications stopped. I doubt that either man ever got the invitation.

Since Randi puts his money where his mouth is, and Geller never shows, I wrote this little poem called Geller’s Lament:

Gather round friends; I’ll make you swoon,
As I bend for you a silver spoon.
For I will not use force of any kind,
Except the power of my mind.

But if James Randi comes around,
I’ll pack my bags and leave this town.
He plugs my psyche with a cork,
And damn…
I can not even bend a fork!
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spoon straightening
written by Mouse, April 22, 2009
I don't know, but I guess that it is a lot more difficult to straighten keys and spoons than bend them. Unless you have special powers. Would this be a good test of Mr Gellers lack of powers.
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The Video
written by JasonPatterson, April 22, 2009
@MadScientist:
This is a 2 minute version of the video. It doesn't specifically show what he's doing, but it gives you some big clues.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Y7QR314xA

This shorter version cuts to the chase a bit (30 seconds) but you miss out on the actual demonstration. I'd check the first link first, personally, then go with the second if you don't see what he did. You'll see it though. He may know 5 tricks, but he does them poorly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJSxsbToLeE
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Addition
written by JasonPatterson, April 22, 2009
The original article, along with a lovely place to reply to it, can be found at:
http://reporter.blackraiser.com/?p=534
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even a child can see it
written by dormouse, April 22, 2009
I showed this to my children. Zach is 8 so I asked him, if he wanted to pretend to move a compass with his mind, but couldn't touch it, what would he use? He immediately answered 'a magnet'. "WHere is he hiding it?" I asked as Geller waved his fist above the compass. "In his hand of course" says my 8 year old.

So then we watched it again. My 7 year old daughter, Miriam, gets the credit for being first to spot the blatant move as he sticks the magnet on his thumb. Zach got there about 3 microseconds later.

You'd think he could at least learn some decent sleights...

Ken
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written by Gord_in_Toronto, April 22, 2009
The American Chronicle appears to be the ultimate puff "journal". It will publish anything that you send that passes (retrospectively I gather) its rather weak "editorial guidelines".

The "article" in question appears word for word at the site http://reporter.blackraiser.com/?p=534.

Peter Fotis Kapnistos seems to be a believer in all things woo. Do your own Google. smilies/wink.gif

The article appears to violate the Author Agreement at http://www.americanchronicle.c...-agreement
that requires that for all submissions "The Content is based on true facts and diligent research."

In my humble opinion this is a silly unprofessional piece by someone who has not done a modicum of research and appears to wedded to all things woo.
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re: even a child can see it
written by Bruno, April 22, 2009
This is quite typical. This is why magicians dread performing before children. Kids simply don't have the sort of mental baggage that becomes ballast when confronted with novelty.
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written by Roo, April 23, 2009
The Kapnistos article is ill-researched, poorly-written drivel. I cannot imagine what the writer hoped to achieve by suddenly switching from discrediting evidence of Geller's cheating to making insulting allegations of Mr. Randi's misconduct involving young boys. Unless, perhaps, the article was penned with the involvement of Geller himself, with the ultimate aim of having another snide little pop at Mr. Randi... Either way, the piece isn't worth the filespace it's located on.
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written by harpman, April 23, 2009
well said smilies/grin.gif
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written by JasonPatterson, April 23, 2009
@Roo: While it wouldn't surprise me to find what you propose to be true, it should be clear that there is no actual evidence linking Geller to this story. No more than there is Randi to the (insane) implications made in it. Past history suggests one of the two might be more likely to be true than the other, but neither is supported or refuted in any way. (I understand that you weren't making an accusation against Geller.)
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written by politas, April 26, 2009
I thought the JREF million dollar prize money was for someone showing evidence of a supernatural phenomenon, not simply proving James Randi wrong about something. Proving that Randi said that a tape was made by enemies is hardly a supernatural phenomenon.
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written by CryoTank, April 27, 2009
It should therefore be evident that Uri Geller, in a similar way, can raise his core body magnetism.


Cripes! My brain just paused there for a few seconds.
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