The frustrating thing about psychics, mediums, and fortune tellers is that they're still able to make a pretty goddamned comfortable living, even in 2013. Their inability to provide empirical evidence that what they do is anything other than a scam to prey on the gullible seems to have had little effect on their bottom line. Still, there have been little victories along the way, and cameras have been there to capture the hilarity.
6 Uri Geller Is Exposed on the Johnny Carson Show
Contrary to what you might assume, the people most hostile to claims of supernatural powers are magicians. That's why nowadays they usually prefer the term "illusionist" -- they want to be clear from the outset that what they're doing is a trick. But then, every so often, one of them will hit the big time by claiming that they have genuine magic powers. Such is the case with Uri Geller, who in the '70s was basically the Sith Lord of illusionists. And millions of people believed him.
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"Let the naivete flow through you."
If you're too young to remember, Geller found fame with mind-reading tricks and, more famously, mind-powered spoon bending. Swearing that he had actual psychic powers, he used a bunch of sleight-of-hand tricks already well-known to magicians to apparently bend spoons with his thoughts. Of course, any magicians with a moral compass knew exactly what he was doing and made it their mission to take the weasel down. The result was one of the most tense and cringe-worthy appearances in talk show history (in a medium loaded with them):
When Uri Geller was booked to appear on The Tonight Show, host Johnny Carson (a former magician himself) was understandably skeptical about Geller's claims and had called up professional illusionist and psychic head-stomper James Randi to ask how the tricks might really be done. As Randi explained, the easiest way to bend a spoon with your mind would be to spend a few minutes before the show bending the spoon back and forth with your hand until the metal is so weak that it just falls limp when you hold it up to the camera.
With this in mind, Carson surprised Geller on the show by presenting a table full of assorted spoons and knickknacks, rather than letting him bring his own props, and gave Geller free reign to pick whatever trick he wanted to perform. You can watch Geller slowly descend into panic mode, knowing that his trick won't work and millions are watching.
He thought it would be a canned, no-sweat interview, like he was on [network you hate].
It just gets harder to watch as it goes. Carson looks on, annoyed, as Geller tries to stall by ineffectually waving his hands over the table while he works out how the hell he's going to get out of this one.
For the first time, he found himself genuinely trying to call on a higher power.
After a series of the most incredibly awkward silences you will ever witness on a television broadcast, Geller eventually squirms out of the segment by claiming that he's just not feeling strong enough tonight.
Geller spent the rest of his career trying to sue James Randi over the humiliation, and after consistently losing his legal battles, he eventually quietly admitted that he was nothing more than an entertainer and not a wizard who could wield the powers of black magic. No shit?