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Observations placeholder

Hasted, Professor John – 03 Spoon bending - Spoon softening



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


When metal is bent paranormally the yield strength becomes temporarily abnormally low; in other words, the metal softens. It is difficult to observe this directly, because the effect does not have to be large for bending to occur, and usually it is not such a large effect that it is obvious to the observers. On rare occasions, however, the metal becomes as soft as putty. The first time that I saw such a phenomenon, it made a deep impression on me. I wrote at the time:

Before he [Uri Geller] had been in my office for two minutes, I spoke of my experiences with the children, and handed him one of the stainless steel spoons which had been bent by the girl.(Valerie P. Actually it was her brother, Graham P., who had bent it.)

Geller held the handle and did not touch the bend.( It has been supposed that Geller performed the well known conjuring trick to prepare a near fracture by working the spoon to and fro, covering it between the finger and thumb, and gradually revealing that the spoon is bending.) Within a few seconds, and under my close scrutiny, the bend in the spoon became plastic.

It quickly softened so much that the spoon could be held with one end in either hand and gently moved to and fro. I had never seen Geller produce a really plastic bend before, and I asked him to hand the spoon to me in one piece. I took one end from his left hand into my right and one end from his right hand into my left. The acute angle, about 60°, was essentially unchanged in the handing over.( A photograph of myself holding this spoon appears in Geller’s book, My Story.)

 I could sense the plasticity myself, by gently moving my hands. It was as though the bent part of the spoon was as soft as chewing gum, and yet its appearance was normal. I continued a gentle bending movement for about ten seconds, and then decided that it might be more interesting to try and preserve the spoon in one piece than to pull it apart. As carefully as I could, I laid it on the desk. It was not appreciably warm. I did not dare touch the bent part for fear of breaking it, and it lay on the desk apparently in one piece for a few minutes; but on attempting to move it I was unable to prevent it from falling apart, a ‘neck’ having developed.

This was the first time I had clearly seen a really ‘plastic bend’, since these are much rarer than the slow bends I had observed previously. I do not think there can be any question of fraud when a really plastic bend is produced under close scrutiny, unless there is serious chemical corrosion, such as that produced by mercuric salts. Even then, the metal behaves quite differently, becoming wet, discoloured and brittle, but hardly plastic. Chemical corrosion is accompanied by a change in weight; therefore I was pleased that I had recorded the weight of this spoon as follows:

Original weight 24.3526 g

Weight after bend by child 24.3533 g

Combined weight of pieces after fracture 24.3529 g

These variations are within the limits of weight changes, both up and down, which have been observed in other bent specimens. The errors are due to dirt and to moisture condensation and evaporation.

To be quite sure of such softening, one must be able to inspect it at close quarters both with the eye and by handling.

A piece of metal that has been critically weakened by bending to and fro can be held rigid at the weak point between finger and thumb. A gradual series of bends can be made apparent by suitable manipulation, but all the time the weak point is held firm, and the movements are made against the restraining force of the flesh of the ball of finger and thumb.

The conjurer Mr Randi has demonstrated this trick to me, and it is most effective. It caused me to pause and think: was the Uri Geller spoon softening, or others that I have observed, of the same character?

No, the character was not the same, in two important details: first, there had been no opportunity for Geller to weaken the spoon by working it to and fro; and second, the part of the spoon which softened and bent was clearly exposed to view, and not held firm. In fact, I was able to hold the end of the spoon myself, and sensitively probe the softening by movements of the hands against the resistance of the metal. It was an uncanny experience.




The source of the experience

Hasted, Professor John

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps



Spoon bending