Today we’ll speak about the crazy world of ‘spoon bending’. If you grew up in the 70s or 80s this will have resonate more. Others of you may have absolutely no idea what it’s all about.
Don’t worry, I’ll explain everything. Here’s the basics of what you need to know:
A person (magician/someone who claims they have special powers) takes a spoon. They say using their psychic powers alone they’ll bend it.
They rub the spoon for a bit. And then sure enough, the spoon bends and possibly breaks. Magic?! Hmmm, maybe…
Do people bend spoons using their mind?
I’m afraid the answer (at least in my opinion and that of many others) is “they don’t“. Or, I guess you could also say “in the same way anyone can.“
You see, bending spoons isn’t really a ‘psychic’ thing. Think of it more as a magic trick or stunt – a rather quirky one at that.
So Is Spoon Bending Just An Illusion?
The ability to bend spoons is stepped in controversy. Whilst a minority of people buy into it, it’s been widely debunked by a number of people and doesn’t stand up to common sense.
Frankly, I don’t believe it’s in any way ‘psychic’ and think it does the psychic community a grave disservice. It’s this type of thing that makes people assume people associated with psychics are just frauds.
As I’ll show you later in this article, the idea it was psychic pretty much fell apart when Uri Geller was shown to be…well, not psychic!
Maybe ask yourself this – if someone is claiming they can bend metal using just their mind, why is it the weak part of the spoon they target?
The answer is of course that it’s the part which is weakest. And therefore easiest to manipulate physically.
There have been plenty of experiments to try and prove spoon bending is a real psychic thing. And they’ve never been any that have been successful.
Spoon bending is one of those things that gives the psychic industry a bad name.
Can You Bend Spoons With Just Your Mind?
In my opinion, no. I’m sure tons of people will disagree with me. And that’s fine.
But I’ve never seen any real evidence that to me proves spoon bending is a real thing. However, I’ve seen plenty of evidence that shows it’s little more than a trick.
I’ve certainly seen lots of showmanship. And lots of claims. But no evidence.
Another question to ask yourself – if someone claims they can bend metal with their mind, why would they not choose something more impressive?
If you had psychic powers strong enough to bend some metal, why not do something like an iron bar or car? You’d really try and show off how amazing your powers were, wouldn’t you? I know I would!
The answer is of course that they don’t have those powers. Bending spoons can easily be done with trickery, your hands and pressure.
Uri Geller & His So-Called ‘Spoon Bending’ Trick
If you’ve landed on this page, I’d bet you’ve probably heard of Uri Geller. He’s the wacky looking guy in the photo holding spoons to his eyes.
Uri Geller is – well, very different things to different people. A magician, illusionist, and, according to him, a psychic.
I say ‘according to him’ as that claim has proved highly controversial. And personally not something I’m convinced of.
He rose to fame in the 1970s. His main trick (or psychic ability, if you believe him) was bending spoons.
Geller claims to have first done that at aged five. In the 1970s he’d perform spoon bending on TV and at other appearances.
In fairness to Geller, bending spoons wasn’t his only claim. He also said he could stop clocks. And he was convinced he was telepathic. I don’t agree.
Uri’s big draw and novelty though was his spoon bending. As nobody had really done this before, it was at the time very novel and quirky.
It became the basis of his acts, persona and his personal brand. He was covered in the press and TV.
And let’s be honest – visually it was an amazing and fun trick!
But think of Uri Geller as a performer not a psychic. Yes his tricks are cool and he’s a great stage person.
“I call it a power…there are no tricks here, if I do it, it’s done with real power”.Uri Geller
However, I prefer Derren Brown’s more honest and open approach. Brown has done tons of cool tricks including psychic-themed ones. But he doesn’t claim to be psychic.
In fact, he openly states he used things like ‘misdirection and showmanship‘. The genius is, even though you know this – it’s still incredibly impressive.
Geller, however impressive, I struggle to respect because of this ‘psychic’ claims which clearly aren’t true.
Uri Geller Revealed
Geller’s spoon bending performances began to (like his spoons!) fall apart in the mid 1970s. Many of the public and media were hugely sceptical of his claims anyway and it didn’t take a lot for him to be properly discredited.
The main push to discredit him came from James Randi. Essentially, Randi explained that anyone could do the ‘spoon bending’ that Geller was doing. Later on in 1991 things got messy when Uri tried to sue Randi. (This failed and actually Geller had to pay him $120,000!)
Here’s James Randi explaining how he thinks Geller did his trick:
Probably the worst moments for Geller came from a couple of TV appearances. In this famous one from 1973, he appeared on the Tonight Show.
To say he failed would be an understatement. Carson played it well and didn’t come across to smug or rude about it. But the damage was done and it was pretty evident that Uri had no such psychic powers as he’d claimed.
“I thought: ‘I’m finished. I went back to my hotel and started packing to return to Israel because that was it. I was destroyed.”Uri Geller, after the Carson appearance.
What’s funny though is – he still went on to have a highly successful career! I think many folks didn’t want to accept that they were wrong about his abilities. Perhaps he’s just one of those people that are so confident and unwavering in how they present themselves that people keep buying into it even though common sense dictates they shouldn’t.
Then there was his appearance in the UK TV show “Noel’s House Party” in 1996. In this, he was very clearly caught bending a spoon before the ‘trick’ started. (I.e., the spoon was weakened first to make it easier to ‘bend’ or break). And again in spite of this evidence, he still continued to be successful!
How To Do The Spoon Bending Trick
So, if we assume that bending a spoon has nothing to do with being psychic, how is it done?
- Pre-bend it. Spend some time beforehand ‘softening’ the spoon with your hands (i.e. bending it). But don’t break it. Ensure you leave the spoon looking normal.
- Alternatively, do the above but using pressure. E.g. you could press it against your leg or a chair.
- During your ‘performance’, rub the spoon over and over again. Whilst telling people you are ‘willing’ it to bend/break with your mind.
- The spoon will bend and possibly break.
- Tell people what an amazing psychic you are. Bask in the applause.
An Easy Way To Bend Spoons 🙂
Would you like to know the easiest way to bend a spoon? This is a bit sneaky but..
Well, all you need to do is buy this magic trick from Amazon. $7.29 well spent! 🙂 Sorry, I couldn’t resist!
Conclusion – My Thoughts on Spoon Bending
(A caveat – this page is all my opinion and I don’t speak for the whole psychic community).
Spoon bending is a cool magic trick. It’s something you can do at parties to amuse people.
But it comes down to basic physics rather than psychic powers.
If we take the main ‘spoon bender’ (if that’s a term!), Uri Geller – then he’s been shown to be a fraud several times.
Maybe ‘fraud’ isn’t the right word. Really it’s part of this whole act as a showman.
But he has claimed tons of times to be psychic. And I find that deceitful.
Bottom line: yes it looks good and yes it’s fun. But it’s not because of anyone being ‘psychic’. (Sorry!)
Bending Spoons – FAQs
Does Uri Geller still do spoon bending?
I believe so. The whole ‘spoon bending’ thing is part of his brand. He of course has done some bigger events like stopping Big Ben and so on.
But if you check out even recent press photos of him, you’ll see the spoon used.
And that’s because people have a visual association of it with him. So he’s like ‘that guy who bends spoons’.
I guess it’s a unique part of his brand which makes him stand out from someone like Copperfield or Brown.
Who is Uri Geller’s wife?
Uri Geller is married to Hanna Geller. They got married in 1979.
What are some good books about Uri Geller?
I’d suggest starting with ‘The Truth About Uri Geller‘ which was written by James Randi. Obviously this is biased as Randi was the one who called Geller out on the spoon bending ‘abilities’. But it’s a great read.
Then to balance things out I’d suggest one of Geller’s own books. Whilst it’s old (1975), his ‘Uri Geller My Story‘ is a great read (even if you don’t believe him). One thing’s for sure – he’s had an interesting life!
I like Jonathan Margolis’ book ‘Uri Geller: Magician Or Mystic‘. It’s slightly out of date (2013/4) but takes a balance look at investigating Geller’s claims.
Finally, if you want something more ‘out there’, check out another Margolis book called ‘The Secret Life of Uri Geller: CIA Masterspy‘. The title sums up what it’s about. It’s a fairly wacky topic but a very interesting read. (Again, even if you don’t buy into the theory).
Was Uri Geller the first person to do spoon bending?
From my research, yes he was. That’s not to say it was never done before, but it doesn’t seem to have been used as a trick or recorded anywhere.
There’s an interesting discussion on the MagicCafe forum about this if you’d like to read more.