Spoon bending


Spoon bending

Spoon bending is the apparent deformation of objects, especially metal cutlery, either without physical force, or with less force than normally necessary. It is a common form of stage magic, and a variety of methods are used to produce the illusion.

Spoon bending attracted considerable media attention in the 1970s when some people claimed to have the ability to cause such events by paranormal psychic means. The most notable was Uri Geller, who performed by bending metal spoons as well as metal keys and several other objects and materials. Geller's performances were attributed to stage magic by critics such as James Randi cite book
first = James
last = Randi
title = The Truth About Uri Geller
publisher = Prometheus Books
year = 1982
] and Martin Gardner cite book
first = Martin
last = Gardner
title = Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus
publisher = Prometheus Books
year = 1981
isbn = 0-87975-573-3
] .

tage magic

Causing spoons, keys, and other items to appear to bend without any physical force is a common stage magic trick that has many variants. An article in the New York Times profiled the neuroscience connections of stage magic and perception. In the article, science reporter Benedict Carey explained what experts who authored a paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience on the neuroscience of magic tricks had to say about spoon bending:

When the result is a single bend or break, it's usually at the point where the object would be easiest to bend by hand. In many cases, the trick uses misdirection, a basic tool of the stage magician. The performer draws the audience's attention away from the spoon during the brief moment while the spoon is being physically bent. The typical bend, where the bowl meets the handle, requires relatively little force. The magician then gradually reveals the bend. [cite news
last = Emery
first = C. Eugene, Jr.
title = Catching Geller in the Act
publisher = Providence Sunday Journal
format = Reprint, hosted by permission
year=1987
url = http://psychicinvestigator.com/demo/GELRSKP.htm
accessdate = 2007-05-30
]

Other methods use a metal spoon that has been prepared so that a simple flick will cause it to bend or break. This can be done, for instance, by repeatedly bending the spoon at the desired spot, until the metal cracks and weakens. If the spoon breaks, the magician holds together the two halves of the spoon as if it were unbroken, then slowly relaxes the grip, making the spoon appear to bend before splitting in two. [ cite video
people = James Randi
year = 1993
date=October 19
title = NOVA: Secrets of the Psychics
url = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdiEhPwzuLI
format = flv (Clip from episode archived at YouTube)
medium = Documentary
accessdate = 2007-05-30
time = 5:15
quote = Of course, it does take a little preparation. In fact, it takes a lot of preparation... Isn't this a more reasonable explanation?
]

If a magician has control over the viewing angle, the trick can be done by using a spoon that is already bent at the start of the trick. The spoon is initially held with the bend along the viewing angle, making it invisible. The magician then turns the spoon slowly to reveal the bend.

Spoon bending and the paranormal

Due partly to the publicity surrounding Uri Geller in the 1970s, spoon-bending has become a common visual symbol for paranormal ability. It is shown, for example, in "The Matrix", when a young boy bends a spoon to demonstrate the unreality of a computer simulation.

While many individuals have claimed the paranormal or psychokinetic ability to bend spoons or manipulate other objects, spoon bending by mental powers alone has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the scientific community. Magician and skeptic James Randi has offered a prize of one million dollars to people who are able to demonstrate paranormal abilities such as spoon bending. [http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/01/72482 Wired "Skeptic Revamps $1M Psychic Prize" Retrieved June 18, 2008 ] There are many other similar kinds of prizes which can also be claimed for demonstrating any sort of paranormal abilities including the Erasmus Foundation Fund which offers €10,000 for any repeatable and examinable phenomena associated with the paranormal or the occult.

See also

*Anomalous operation
*Pigasus Award
*Psychokinesis

References

External links

* [http://www.michaelcrichton.com/features-spoonbending.html Excerpt from "Travels"] : Michael Crichton's account of attending a PK party.
* [http://www.michaelcrichton.com/qa-travels.html Follow-up comment from Michael Crichton] : Crichton comments on the controversy over spoon bending
* [http://www.metacafe.com/watch/510096/ Mass Spoon Bending in Australia] : Video from Sydney Skeptics in the Pub where everyone is bending spoons.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spoon — This article is about the utensil. For other uses, see Spoon (disambiguation). Spoons from Pompeii displayed at Naples Nationa …   Wikipedia

  • Bending (metalworking) — Metal bending redirects here. For the form of stage magic, see Spoon bending. Bending …   Wikipedia

  • Bent Spoon Award — The Bent Spoon Award is an award given by Australian Skeptics, presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle . The name of the award is a reference to the spoon bending of Uri Geller.… …   Wikipedia

  • Uri Geller — Infobox Person name = Uri Geller image size = caption = Uri Geller in 2005. birth date = Birth date and age|1946|12|20 birth place = Tel Aviv death date = death place = residence = Great Britain occupation = performer, mentalist spouse = Hannah… …   Wikipedia

  • Psychokinesis — The term psychokinesis (from the Greek ψυχή , psyche , meaning mind, soul, heart, or breath ; and κίνησις , kinesis , meaning motion ; literally movement from the mind ), [cite book year = 2001 title = Random House Webster s Unabridged Dictionary …   Wikipedia

  • Project Alpha — For the military project, see Project Alpha (military). Project Alpha was a hoax orchestrated by the stage magician and skeptic James Randi. It involved planting two fake psychics, Steve Shaw (known as Banachek) and Michael Edwards, into a… …   Wikipedia

  • Pigasus Award — Infobox award name = Pigasus Award imagesize = 250px caption = Pigasus Award description = Paranormal fraud presenter = James Randi country = USA year = 1982 website = http://www.randi.org/The Pigasus Award is the name of an annual tongue in… …   Wikipedia

  • Bright Side of the Moon — Infobox VG title = Sam Max: Bright Side of the Moon caption = The GameTap title card for Bright Side of the Moon developer = Telltale Games publisher = Telltale Games GameTap distributor = designer = Brendan Q. Ferguson David Grossman Heather… …   Wikipedia

  • 20th Century Boys — Infobox animanga/Header name = 20th Century Boys caption = Volume 1 cover (Japanese version) ja name = 20世紀少年 ja name trans = Nijyusseiki Shōnen genre = Sci fi, MysteryInfobox animanga/Manga title = author = Naoki Urasawa publisher =… …   Wikipedia

  • Mystery Hunters episodes — Episode descriptions from the Discovery Kids TV series Mystery Hunters. MYSTERY HUNTERS SEASON 1 SYNOPSIS 1 Skunk Ape, Big smelly FootChristina is on the lookout for a smelly ape man lurking in Florida. Araya searches for the elusive Oregon Big… …   Wikipedia