'There was no way I could explain it': the CIA scientist convinced by Uri Geller's psychic powers
The biggest piece by far in the jigsaw one has to assemble to get a true picture of Uri Geller’s hidden, below-the-line life as a spy, is a witness named Kit Green, the CIA contract monitor who oversaw the research into his abilities in the 1970s.
Kit Green is truly the man who knows. At the CIA - where he gave the green light to the American psychic ‘remote-viewing’ programme that started with Geller and became a 20-year research project called ‘Stargate’ - this remarkably multi-faceted PhD medical scientist was the CIA’s branch chief for life science in the Office of Scientific Intelligence.
After leaving the CIA, he qualified as a medical doctor. By 2013, aged 73, Dr Christopher C. Green, to give him his full name, was professor of diagnostic radiology and psychiatry at Detroit Medical Center and assistant aean at Wayne State School of Medicine, the largest medical school in the USA.
Until recently, to Geller, however, he was ‘Rick’, his CIA contact. And to this day, the two have never met. But this is how Dr Green remembers first hearing of Geller in 1972.
“One afternoon, I got a telephone call at my desk, in the headquarters building. And the phone call initially was on what we called ‘the red line’, a classified line. It was an intelligence agency of a very powerful ally of the United States of America, and they were troubled because a member of their military, an enlisted man, was doing things for them that they couldn’t understand that appeared to have an electromagnetic aspect.
“He was capable of altering highly sophisticated electronics, which included imaging electronics, at will. And they didn’t know how he was doing it. The question was simply, ‘Can you help us?’ My response initially was, ‘Of course, I’ll be glad to try.’ I was very interested as an electro-physiologist and neurophysiologist, not as a physician initially. And that was what I was initially asked about. The word ‘psychic’ didn’t appear for a long time with Geller.”
It was some months before Geller, for it was he who was the subject of the phone call, finally made it into the safe hands of Stanford Research Unit (SRI) in California. Part of the nearby Stanford University since 1946, it had become an independent think tank, laboratory and problem-solving organisation in 1970 and worked on contract for both private industry and government, including secret defence work.
One of Geller's 'psychic' drawings, released by the CIA
The CIA had seen to it that what was being done did not look overtly as if it was in any way a CIA project, but when the tests on Geller were underway, Dr Green’s phone rang again.
“It was the chief scientist at SRI and he was talking about other aspects of Uri Geller’s capabilities. I of course said, ‘Well, what other kinds of things are you talking about?’ And without much of a pause the scientist said, ‘Well, he says he can see things at a distance.’ And I said, ‘No, he can’t.’ And they said, ‘Yes, he can – and he’s right here.’ So I said, ‘Hi, Uri. Well what can you see?’.”
Geller was simply told on the call with Dr Green that he was “a scientific colleague on the East Coast” who was curious about his remote-viewing capability. “So,” continues Dr Green, ‘I turned and picked up a book, a collection of medical illustrations of the nervous system, and I opened it up to a page and I just stared at it. And Uri said, “Oh, I’m seeing something kind of strange.”
Geller scribbled something and crumpled it up, did the same again, and finally said, “Well, I don’t know what to think. It looks like I have made a drawing of a pan of scrambled eggs. Yet I have the word ‘architecture’ coming in strong.”
Credit: Trevor Clark/REX/Shutterstock
What astonished Dr Green – to the extent that he went on to get authorization for the $20m programme that would become ‘Stargate’ – was that the illustration on the page he had ‘shown’ Geller was a cross-section of the human brain. “But what caught my attention was that I had written across the top of his drawing the words ‘architecture of a viral infection’. I had been looking at the biological warfare effect on the nervous system of a threat virus.”
Fascinated by the impromptu experiment in the office, Dr Green, the archetype of the sceptical scientist (sceptical in the sense of inquiring, not merely dogmatic) resolved to redo it – unannounced and from home – at the weekend.
Certain things were still troubling him about the approach from SRI. Unlikely as it was, perhaps he had been fooled; the folks at SRI had, after all initiated the test by calling him. What if it had been the other way round?
“So I did an experiment in which I established myself and some documentary materials, including some numbers written on paper by a colleague and sealed in an envelope and then in another,” Dr Green relates.
“And I arranged to do this experiment in my home as an unclassified project with no forewarning to him. Although it was the weekend, the team at SRI happened to be there when I called, and I asked if Uri could describe the unspecified item. I had put the double envelope up on a music stand in my den.
Credit: Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images
“Two things occurred along with him reading the numbers correctly, as I established when I broke the seals and opened the envelopes. While he was ‘viewing’ them, I moved the documents from one position to another inside the envelopes; I went over and lifted the outer envelope while I was on the phone and turned it through 180 degrees because it was upside down. And he became very upset while I was doing it. Actually, he started to scream and asked, ‘What happened? What did you just do? I’m getting nauseous, I want to vomit.’ When I explained, he said, ‘Please don’t do that again because I was reading when you rotated it.’
“But then after that he said something else had happened and wanted to know if I was alright. I said, ‘Slow down. I’m sitting upstairs in my den at my home, in northern Virginia, it’s a beautiful day, my family’s downstairs, what are you talking about?’
“He said, ‘OK, Rick. For reasons I can’t explain, something happens and I get suffused with an incredible amount of information, which in some cases is very disturbing, and I just now received a strange picture and event. I had a picture of glass shards fracturing and going through a body and pain as it went through, and in the background I saw a square-headed dog that was completely white with blood coming down from the dog’s neck onto the floor, which was a sea of green. I didn’t know what that meant and I was worried because it was while we were having our conversation.’
“About an hour later,” continues Dr Green, “we finished and I went downstairs into our family room, which we’d moved all the furniture out of a few hours before to have a new green carpet laid down. And my family had put in the room on the new carpet a tall pole lamp with a huge glass shade and it had shattered all over the carpet. I found the family and asked what happened.
Credit: Jeff Gilbert
“They said that about an hour ago, Charles, our snow-white English bulldog – with a square head – had run into the room, got tangled in the cable and pulled the lamp over. And my mother the week before had macraméd a huge, wide, bright red collar to go around the bulldog’s neck. And it had been the collar that twisted round the cable.
“Now when I’ve reported this in the past,” says Dr Green, “people have said, ‘So what. It’s an anecdote’. And I say, ‘Sure it’s an anecdote, an uncontrolled experiment, but it happened to me.’ And it was too far away in the house for me to have heard the crash.”
Did such incidents not severely challenge the rationality of a young scientist, already in a plum position in the CIA and clearly destined to go places?
Uri Geller at home in London in 2015 Credit: Andrew Crowley/Daily Telegraph
“I did find it disturbing intellectually, because there was no way I could explain it from a materialistic perspective,” Dr Green says. “I found it scientifically intriguing, but not a counterintelligence issue, because I know darned well I was not being spied on in my home, or that they were looking into my home with cameras or something. Because they didn’t know I was going to be having this conversation until a minute or two before when I picked up the phone and called.”
“The fact of the matter is that that isn’t correct. Anybody who has studied Geller and seen what he does, and the films of what he does, recognizes that there are profound differences between what Geller does and magicians’ tricks. There’s not even a remotely qualified individual who’s ever investigated Geller who believes this orthodoxy – that it’s all trickery – has any value. It does not.”
Extracted from Uri Geller: Magician or Mystic? by Jonathan Margolis, published by Apostrophe Books