Sunday, February 20, 2011

Uri Geller and the Weeping Chopin Death Mask

First, I would like to share this timeless classic of Uri Geller being debunked by the Amazing Randi:

On page 182 of Chopin and Beyond, Byron Janis tells a story about the death mask of Chopin on his piano that began to weep salty tears in the presence (and at least one hand) of Uri Geller. I imagine that Geller might have used a gimmick, like a little cellulose bubble filled with salt water, to make this illusion.

Janis mentions that his Chopin death mask was "one of three originals in the world." I thought that Auguste Clésingerone made only two, along with a cast of Chopin's left hand. I think that Janis might have been "had" more than once.


opus111 said...

I'm as baffled by this as Janis is (apparently) convinced. I'll continue to enjoy his albums - and will even seek out his book - but I can't help but wonder: Is it downright naivete? (Does his his affection and affinity for Chopin's music cause him to lose touch with reality?) Or is it simply a matter of charlatanism and willful deception?

Thanks for the heads up on this 'paranormal' dimension of a great artist's life.

Elaine Fine said...

There is no question about Janis' musicianship as well as his naivete. People who indulge in "magical thinking" of any kind can be easily duped, and people like Geller latch onto the easily duped, because that's what they do.

opus111 said...

Rightly said. If you haven't already, you might want to check out Arthur Conan Doyle's writings on the "paranormal." Well, he really threw himself into what he called "spiritualism" in his later years. It's all rather uncanny - but I still very much dig his fiction.

Baumiao said...

James Randi learnt some magic tricks about bending spoons and keys by using trick methods and just assumed that that was what Uri was doing. Two completely different procedures. Also, re the TV footage....psychics can't always 'perform' to cue at the drop of a hat all the time. That bit of footage with the Tonight show host wasn't fair. Uri siimply couldn't do what they asked of him right there and then and said so. End of story. So to James Randi, he's a fake. One tiny rare clip of Uri declining to 'perform'. What about the 99% of times he has been successful? It is film footage manipulated and edited by Randi specifically to make a case against Uri.