How do you do the spoon bending trick?

I was wondering if anyone had any information on how to do the spoon bending trick so that I can do it too. Apparently many magicians and even schoolboys have been able to do it.

The physical trick is to hold the spoon so you can exert maximum leverage over it with your thumb. Move your thumb rapidly over the shank, and exert gradually increasing pressure until it starts to bend, and sustain that pressure through a series of tiny bends.

The mental trick is to convince the audience that you’re NOT exerting physical effort aginst the spoon. Which is why you also learn to retain a relaxed body posture though your hand is working very hard, OR you pass off the strain as the effort of focusing “psychic” energy.

It helps a lot if you prepare the spoon in advance. Get a spoon and bend it back and forth ten or fifteen times until the stem just under the bowl has suffered metal fatigue, but still looks intact. Then you can bend the spoon before an audience with (apparantly) little effort. Keep up a snappy patter and you’ll fool 'em. It also helps if the spoon is very shiny. The glare might obscure fine detail.

Naturally, you’ll have to practice and sacrifice a fair number of spoons before getting the trick just right.

You mean Uri Geller did not really have magic powers? i am shocked! :wink:

Me, I always did the “talk a lot while fondling the spoon and then jam it against the bottom of the table when they’re not looking” technique. You would be amazed at the number of people who clearly remember seeing me bend the spoon with just light finger pressure.

Spoonbending with Mr Nude

The Amazing Johnathan did it using the classic magician’s technique of misdirection, sort of like DrFidelius described. His shows run occasionally on Comedy Central – in one of them, he does this trick.

What? An entire thread on spoon-bending and Uri Geller, and nobody mentions James “The Amazing” Randi? :eek:

You know Randi is awesome because Penn and Teller like him. :slight_smile:

You mean the REAL spoonbending? Melting cutlery without the metal even getting warm?

Besides Uri, Michael Crichton and Katrina B. claim to be able to do it:

Crichton’s book TRAVELS

Fork bending

“Do not try to bend the spoon, for that is impossible. Try instead to see the truth.”

“And what truth is that?”

“There is no spoon.”

::ducking and running::

so where does telekinesis and psychokinesis fit in ?

is that a science or is it just euphemisms to cover frauds ?

i was under the impression that it was possible to bend spoons using psychokinesis (which i thought was a known scientific phenomenon). uri geller might be a fraud, but i’m not talking of individuals, i’m talking about the phenomena.

somebody please enlighten me.

here’s what our friend google found for us:

Bent spoons can be hoaxes. Eyewitness accounts of cold, soft metal can be lies. If a scientist successfully brings the phenomenon into the lab, it just means that the scientist is lying or deluded. If “spoon bending parties” become popular, where many hundreds of people soften their own cultery while it’s in their own hands, why that’s just mass delusion.

See how it goes? According to contemporary theory, there is no way to soften a spoon without heating it red hot. Therefore any evidence to the contrary must be an elaborate hoax. (If the skeptics are correct, then extremely elaborate hoaxes and mass delusions are common. But if the spoon-benders are right, then modern science has a profound problem with psychological Denial.)

The only way to convince a skeptic that minds can soften metal is if you show the skeptics how to do it themselves. And even then, that only affects those particular skeptics (who might be too embarassed to tell their experience to their fellows.)

In the 1980s Dr. J. B. Hasted studied the spoon-bending phenomenon and succeeded only in destroying his own credibility.

The metal benders

Um, Xash, in case you were looking for a real answer, telekenisis has never been shown to exist in a controlled, able to be duplicated, setting.

bbeaty goes a little far in claiming that no scientist would ever admit it works, but it would indeed take some fairly strong proof to convince most scientists. After all, our current physics models work pretty well in the real world – we can build gigahertz computers, satellite communications, nuclear weapons, MRIs and CAT scans, etc. And these physics models don’t have ANY way for telekenisis to work.

So for a scientist hearing an eyewitness claim that they really did see someone bend a spoon, the question is, what’s more likely - that the eyewitness was confused, fooled, or lying, or that our models are wrong and we managed to get the internet working just by sheer luck? When you add to that the fact that many people who have demonstrated spoon bending freely admit that it’s all a trick, the answer becomes fairly obvious.

Now if there were lots of experiments that removed the possibility of human confusion, and were able to be duplicated, that showed telekenisis working, then we’d have to begin considering the idea that our models are wrong. But there ain’t lots of these, in fact I doubt there are any of these experiments.

So short answer again, no telekenisis doesn’t exist.

You really have to read James “The Amazing” Randi’s books on this. The Magic of Uri Geller (originally Ballantine, 1975, now Prometheus Press) tells you a lot. There’s also a photo article by him in the magazine Technology Review circa 1976. Also, see his book Flim-Flam!.

Martin Gardner has written about this, too. See his many books on the paranormal, especially Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus

Suppose PK is possible and spoon bending is as common as people like Jack Houck claim it is. In that case an apt description would be: “no scientist would ever admit it works.” On the other hand, if PK doesn’t exist, it means that mass hallucination is very common… and if you soften your own spoon during a “spoon bending party”, and you even have the mashed metal to prove it, then the event didn’t actually happen.

Hold on. The main claim isn’t about witnessing magic tricks, so I think you’re pulling a Straw Man here. The main claim is that ANYONE can soften a spoon themselves, and see it happen in their own hands. Mash the bowl of the spoon into a small wad as if it were damp cloth. The Jack Houck parties exposed hundreds of people to the phenomenon. See the link below for one description of such an event.

If this was a one-time thing, then Michael Crichton could simply be writing fiction, but these parties were common in the 1980s. So, what really happened? Was low-temperature cadmium/lead alloy involved? Everyone got to keep the spoons.

Michael Crichton’s book TRAVELS
the spoon-bending chapter

Me, I’ve never witnessed it. If I managed to soften a spoon, the first thing I’d do is put a big thumbprint into the metal. The “Superman” fingerprints-in-steel would be hard to fake. (Not impossible of course, but it’s much more convincing than mangled cultery, even if said cutlery lacks scars from pliers.)

Another incorrect argument. To paraphrase, you’re saying that if “spoon bending” is possible, then physics is wrong (hence the internet wouldn’t exist.) Incorrect, because the same argument has been used against many other unexpected phenomena (“If jumping genes exist, then we’d have to throw out all we know about genetics.”) But when Transposons are proved real after decades of uphill battle, science remains undamaged because it’s simply EXTENDED. New, unexpected, and even counterintuitive and fiercely-fought discoveries are no threat to science. Science simply stretches itself to include them.

In other words, contemporary physics is incomplete. (But all physicists know this already!) Could something as important as mentally-softened metal be hiding in the unexplored regions of science? Certainly, because one goal of a typical science experiment is to control the variables. If PK is possible it must be excluded from physics experiments. PK will simply behave as a type of unknown contamination; a spurious result in the many conventional experiments performed. In science, everything but the tested variables represent uncontrolled conditions to be excluded. Physicists could have been experiencing PK contamination all along, but they just exclude it with all the other unknown contamination sources by using statistical analyses (pulling the desired signal out of the unwanted uncontrolled noise.)

Let me turn this around. Suppose PK metal-softening is possible. In that case, wouldn’t the more delicate physics experiments occasionally screw up for unknown reasons? And wouldn’t these incidents be associated with particular persons (the “high-spontaneous-PK” ones?) Well, guess what. This effect is well known in physics. Certain people are known to disturb experiments by touching the equipment or simply by walking into the room. During graduate school these scientists discover that they cannot do successful lab work to save their lives, so… they become theorists. They leave the delicate experimental work to others. :slight_smile:

In the same vein, wouldn’t the existence of “spontaneous PK” people cause massive disruption of delicate devices such as the billions of components in a typical PC? If PK was possible, then certain people would be well known to disrupt the operation of office computers by their proximity. Guess what? This is a common phenomen in modern companies. There are some people who simply cannot even be NEAR a computer without having it immediately crash. A portion of these events are explained as “high electrostatic” people, but many more do not involve high voltage and cannot be solved by having the victim wear a grounding strap. This “computer crashing syndrome” is the bane of many who would otherwise become tech workers. It’s also the phenomenon which inspired R. D. Nelson’s infamous “Engineering Anomalies” research project at Princeton. And here are some typical complaints from the victims:

“Electric People”

Oh, and a couple of numbers. The aero engineer Jack Houck put on 262 “spoon bending parties” which included a total of 12,000 people, and 85% of these people were able to demonstrate the metal-softening phenomenon to themselves, while 18% were able to soften objects which otherwise cannot be bent without using tools (e.g. “rubberizing” and then crumpling the bowl of a spoon during the parties.)

As for me, I’m aware of the history of science and the “impossible” things that have proved real. I look at the evidence and as a result I lean towards the reality of PK phenomenon but won’t “believe” it until I’m able to twiddle a fork into a useless mass all on my own. :slight_smile:

Next time you see Uri, give him a plastic spoon and ask him to bend it…

Lots of different aspects of the OP are getting muddled up.

Scientific evaluation of psycho-kinesis: there is as yet no scientific evidence for actual PK which has been accepted by the scientific establishment, and thus all such claims remain on the fringe of science. Maybe better evidential ‘proof’ will come along later, and scientific theory will be revised accordingly. This happens from time to time in science, but it hasn’t happened yet with regard to PK.

Claims that good, strong, evidential proof for PK has been provided, but ignored by the closed-minded sci community: hogwash. The first person to provide such proof can count on lasting fame, fortune and a Nobel prize for a start. The claims are over-stated, do not stand up to good scrutiny, and are often the fruits of either mis-informed people, cranks, or people who know how to make money from publishing.

Spoon-bending: there are magicians such as myself who have done this trick countless times. I’ve done it for scientists, and for close-up TV cameras. There are still images from these TV demos on my website ( under ‘Beyond the Psychic’, listed as ‘TV miracles’ for fun.

It’s a very baffling trick, because there are lots of different methods which we can deploy at different times. The majority involve simple physical force to bend the spoon, but applied in such a way, and at such at time, that you won’t see it being applied. There are also psychological factors and some presentational factors which could be descrived as ‘optical illusions’ involved. It’s a REALLY complicated subject. But it IS a trick. Beyond that, I’m not prepared to say.

Bending the spoon back and forth to weaken it: this is the spoon break, not the spoon bend. But it’s one good method. In my shows, of course, the spoons are examined by someone from the audience specifically to rule out this possibility. But they still bend and break.

Spoon bending parties: yes, they were quite popular in the 70s. You have to allow for a very elastic definition of ‘bending’ and ‘PK’. In almost all cases, people were encouraged to grip the spoons in such a way that they were applying a bending force without actually realising it, and the very slight ‘bend’ that resulted was considered a triumph. Imagine this in the context of people getting themselves into the right ‘state of mind’ where they could get a bit dleusional, a bit ‘out of it’. Also allow for alcohol, maybe something stronger, and the presence of a few jokers who would bend their spoons a lot (covertly) just to get attention or for a laugh. The rest is hype and exaggeration.

Also bear in mind the role of the media. Everything you read is filtered by the journalist’s preconceptions and bias, the need for a good story, and countless other layers of editors, sub editors and so on. Most books and newspaper articles written on this subject are not written by people who are in any position to judge whether it’s a trick or not. Those of us who CAN tell the difference don’t generally reveal what we know to the public.

Uri Geller: tends to still claim that what he does is real psychc power, not a trick. That’s his privilege. I’ve had a warning letter from his solicitors, so I’d better pursue the peaceful option of agreeing to differ.

If you really want to know how it’s done, take up magic as a hobby and eventually you will find out where to get the books and videos that show you how it’s done.

, including the TV demonstrations of which some still imatges are

I tried to preview, honest, but it messed up. I just really hope some kind Mod will look at my last post, the third from last paragraph, and change that word to ‘countless’. PLEASE!