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Observations placeholder

Hasted, Professor John – 08 Spoon bending - The metal bending skills of Japanese boy, Masuaki Kiyota



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


During 1978 a Japanese boy, Masuaki Kiyota, was invited by a television company to visit London and attempt to ‘demonstrate’ some optical phenomena.

I decided to examine his metal bending, and brought with me two freshly purchased stainless steel teaspoons and two of my own household dessert spoons; all of these I quickly identified by nicking their bowls in various places, using wire cutters. I also traced their outlines on paper and located their magnetic poles. I kept them securely in my pockets during Masuaki’s visit.

On the first day I pulled out a dessert spoon from my pocket, quickly checked the identification by touch and offered it to him during a break in the filming at Birkbeck College; he straightway placed it in his left hand trouser pocket and withdrew his hand; I could see a bulge, presumably (but not certainly) made by the spoon. No one else who might have received the spoon from him came near us. He then asked to be shown to the toilet, so I took him there myself, unaccompanied. Before we had reached the toilet, while we were walking together along the basement corridor of the College, Masuaki pulled a spoon from his pocket and gave it to me; there was a single 180° twist in its neck, which appears in Plate l.la (2).

By touching the nick in the bowl, I found that it was my spoon, and I kept it in my hands until I returned it to my pocket. Of course I did not see the twist take place, but my observation was that the necessary tools (such as hand vices or wrenches) could not have been used on his person without my noticing; therefore I deduced that Masuaki’s twisting of the spoon, whether carried out with two hands, with one, or with none, must have involved local softening of the metal.

Similar twisting of the spoons shown in Plate l.la (1 and 3) took place during Masuaki’s visit, but I was not personally responsible for observing them. The last teaspoon I continued to keep in my pocket, and after checking the identification I offered it to Masuaki two days later in a taxi while I was sitting beside him. He played with the spoon one handed, all the time in my field of vision; within two minutes it became twisted (Plate l.la (4)). It happened too fast for me to get a really clear visual image of the happening. I again checked my nicking and returned it to my pocket.

The identification of a spoon by touching the nicked bowl is easy and quick, perhaps embarrassingly so. Later during the day I pulled a teaspoon from my pocket without checking it and showed it as evidence of the taxi event to another investigator. I had earlier explained my identification technique, and he was able to see that it was in fact another teaspoon altogether (Plate l.la (1))! I pulled out the ‘taxi’ teaspoon and this time there was no trouble with the identification. My face was undoubtedly red, but this is no reason why the observation should be invalidated.

I describe these events in order to show the difficulties of observing spontaneous phenomena. Had Masuaki been sat down in front of the television cameras and invited to bend metal, there would not have been a very high chance of success. But Nippon Television in Tokyo have during 1979 achieved some good video recordings of twists.

The source of the experience

Hasted, Professor John

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps



Spoon bending