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Observations placeholder

Professor John and Lynn Halstead – 02 Poltergeists and psychokinesis –A small Japanese marine ivory statuette of an old peasant appeared in the air and then fell to the floor



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


In November 1974 my wife Lynn and I had been in our house in Surrey for only two years. Our ten-year-old son John Andrew was away at boarding school. One Saturday afternoon Uri Geller and two friends paid us a visit. l had already met Uri on several occasions and had observed his metal-bending. But Lynn had never spoken to Uri and had never seen anything bend. She was strongly sceptical, and had never had the slightest interest in psychic phenomena; until my first observations of Uri, neither had I.

Lynn served us drinks in the lounge, and our guests commented on the carvings displayed on the piano and bookshelves. Lynn took Uri into her kitchen to get him an apple while the others stayed in the lounge. A plan of the ground floor of the house is shown in Figure 18.1 to indicate just where they were standing in the kitchen (g,l). Lynn had started to tell Geller that she was entirely sceptical about metal-bending, and I was just entering the kitchen (h). I saw clearly a small object appear a few feet in the air and fall to the floor in front of the back door. It was about the size of the lid of our vacuum coffeepot, and at first I thought that this is what it was, and that pressure had blown it out. Geller turned round to face it, and we saw that what had appeared in the air and had fallen was a small Japanese marine ivory statuette of an old peasant. This had been in its normal place on the bookshelf in the lounge, as in Figure 18.1(b).

Figure 18.1 Ground-floor plan of the Hasted house showing positions of appearance and disappearance of objects. L, lounge; K, kitchen; U. utility room; D, dining room; H. hall; T. toilet; S. study; FD, front door; BD, back door; b, bookcase; c, cooker; e and f, windows from which observers watched striking clock; s, kitchen sink; t, kitchen table; h, l, and g, positions of Hasted, Lynn and Geller at moment of appearance of statuette in front of locked back door.
Objects whose changes of location are shown include clock key, dining room door key and turkey liver.

I was certain that the statuette had not been thrown; it would have described a trajectory instead of dropping more or less straight downwards. Any ball-game player is quick to react to trajectories, and should be able to judge where a ball has come from. This object is rather smaller than a cricket-ball, but not far from spherical. It was probably made in the nineteenth century. If the statuette had been thrown by Geller, it would have bounced into the corner instead of dropping downwards. Moreover Geller had his back to its landing-place, and his hands were in front of him, with an apple in one of them. I was certain that Lynn had no physical part in it. If the statuette had been thrown from the hall by one of Geller’s friends, it would have had to pass me, standing in the doorway; I was sure that it had not. The statuette could not have come in through the back door, which was locked from the inside; all the windows were closed, and according to my notebook no visitor had been into the kitchen before Lynn and Geller.

It is true that I might not have been prepared to describe this event as a disappearance followed by a reappearance if I had not heard of strange events having taken place when Geller visited American laboratories. But the sudden appearance of the statuette was such a clear-cut phenomenon that I had no alternative but to accept it, although I was puzzled and tried in my own mind to explain it away. Lynn’s reaction was shock; she also believed it to be an inexplicable event and was frightened.

We did not touch the statuette until it had been photographed. Lynn used her Polaroid camera, and obtained nothing but black pictures, which in itself could possibly have been a paranormal effect (chapter 24), since she operated the camera perfectly well the same evening; but other explanations might also fit.

The source of the experience

Hasted, Professor John

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps