Once I realized I was involved in an event of immense importance, I began to retrace those incidents in my life which brought Uri and me together.
The first of these concerns Dr. D. G. Vinod, a Hindu scholar and sage from Poona, India, whom I briefly met by chance in New York City in December 1951. Two months later, on February 16, 1952, I had my first serious meeting with him. At that time he surprised me by asking permission to hold my right ring finger at the middle joint with his right thumb and index finger. He said that he used this form of contact with a person to read his past and his future. I agreed. He did this for about a minute, whistling between his teeth as though he were trying to find a pitch. Then he leaned back in his chair, and for an hour told me my life story with utter precision, as though he were reading out of a book. His accuracy about the past was extraordinary. He then predicted such a rosy future for me as an Arjuna figure that I was embarrassed. Nevertheless, I realized that here was intelligence on a scale I had not imagined to exist. I promised Dr. Vinod that I would call him to the laboratory in Maine as soon as my next experiment was ready.
As it turned out, this promised meeting was not to be held for nearly another year. On December 31, 1952, Dr. Vinod and I took a plane from New York to Maine. We landed in Augusta at 7:30 P.M., and Hank Jackson, the administrator of the laboratory, the Round Table Foundation, was there to meet us. We drove over the country roads in the snow, chatting all the way. We entered the great hall of the laboratory, and without saying a word or even taking off his overcoat, Dr. Vinod found his way to the library and sat down on a sofa. Hank and I followed him. We realized that he had gone into a trance. We sat opposite him, waiting expectantly. Curiously enough, the house was always bustling with activity, but on this New Year's Eve there was not a sound in the house from child, man, woman, or animal. There was the hushed silence of expectancy as Hank and I watched our entranced sage.
Then, at exactly 9 P.M., a deep sonorous voice came out of Dr. Vinod's mouth, totally unlike his own high-pitched, soft voice, saying in perfect English without an accent:
M calling: We are Nine Principles and Forces, personalities if working in complete mutual implication. We are forces, and the nature of our work is to accentuate the positive, the evolutional, and the teleological aspects of existence. By teleology I do not mean the teleology of human derivation in a multidimensional concept of existence. Teleology will be understood in terms of a different ontology. To be simple, we accentuate certain directions as will fulfill the destiny of creation.
We propose to work with you in some essential respects with the relation of contradiction and contrariety. We shall negate and revise part of your work, by which I mean the work as presented by you. The point is that we want to begin altogether at a different dimension, though it is true that your work has itself led up to this.
I deeply appreciate your dedicatedness (sic) to the great cause of peace which is a fulfillment of finitesimal existences. Peace is not warlessness. Peace is the integral fruitage of personality. We have designed to utilize you and thus to fulfill you. Peace is a process and will be revealed only progressively. You have it in plenty, I mean the patience which is so deeply needed in this magnificent adventure. But today, at the moment of our
advent, the most eventful and spectacular phase of your work begins.
Andrija Puharich (AP ): "It is helpful to have your guidance."
We don't guide, nor do we seek guidance, although we appreciate the sense in which you mean it. All of us, including yourselves, can claim no better than being the expressive instruments and avenues of this purpose.
Einstein has privately felt the need of correcting himself, Infinitization of any mass, M1, according to him,(1) can be achieved by equating it with:
An implication of this theorem, as yet unrevealed, will solve the problem of the superconscious.
The whole group of concepts has to be revised. The problem of psychokinesis, clairvoyance, etc., at the present stage is all right, but profoundly misleading - permit us to say the truth. Soon we will come to basic universal categories of explicating the superconscious. Just as Jesus said, "It is not work, but grace." A fruitful, creative approach to the superconscious is indeed a progressive reception of grace.
We cannot really go on with experimentation in this direction, but if we get seven times the electrical equivalent of the human body - if we get it seven times - do you know what would result? It would result in seven of the mass of electricity. That's a very strange term, but it's true. If it gains sevenfold, corresponding approximation to light velocity will be ninety-nine per cent. That is the point where human personality has to be stretched in order to achieve infinitization. This is one of the most secret insights.
See Appendix One for the philosophy of the Nine.
(1) This is a form of the well-known Lorentz-Einstein Transformation equation where c^2 is velocity of light squared, and v is velocity. Here, M1=E, energy.
When Dr. Vinod awoke from his trance after some ninety minutes of speech by the Nine, he had no recollection or knowledge of what had been said. Hank and I worked for a month with Dr. Vinod, listening to the profound wisdom of the Nine. It was a deeply moving experience, and we really believed every word that we heard based purely on the internal evidence. This work was interrupted in February 1953 when I had to serve as a captain in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
What was lacking in our study of Dr. Vinod and the Nine was some kind of external evidence for the reality of what was being said. Such evidence was forthcoming and occurred when I returned to the laboratory in Maine on a military leave.
On June 27, 1953, nine people met with Dr. Vinod at the Round Table Foundation in Maine. They were Henry Jackson, Georgia Jackson, Alice Bouverie, Marcella Du Pont, Carl Betz, Vonnie Beck, Arthur Young, Ruth Young, and I.
Dr. Vinod sat on the floor in the lotus posture holding in his hands a string of sacred beads, called rakshas. On his lap was a simple copper plate nine inches in diameter. On the floor to his side was a small statue of the Hindu god, Hanoum. Thus, Dr. Vinod was in the center of a circle made up of the nine people listed above. He entered a trance state at 12:15 A.M. He spoke for about fifteen minutes and then one of the Nine, R. spoke through him, saying:
Tonight we want to create Brahmins in this world. Brahmin means a person dedicated to Brahman.
At this instant all nine observers in the fully lighted room saw the appearance, in an instant, of what appeared to be a pile of cotton threads about three feet from Dr. Vinod. It seemed to this observer that the pile of thread had just popped right out of the wood floor. Dr. Vinod, still in a trance state, leaned over to pick up the threads. When he untangled them, he brought forth loops of finely woven cotton cord. He handed one to each person and there was exactly one loop for each. He asked each person to slip the loop over the right shoulder and under the left arm.
What we had witnessed was the appearance of a material substance from nowhere! All present were quite sure that the large ball of cotton material had come from the floor and no place other than the floor.
Has everyone received one? This is called the Yadnyobavita. These are the sacred threads which Brahmins wear on their necks, as soon as they are through with the ceremony. We have to be born twice; unless we are threaded, we don't become Brahmins. This is the sacred thread which makes the human being the Brahmin. Each one of you becomes a Brahmin on this full-moon day.
Alchemy had three different areas of function. It really wanted to solve the problem of deterioration, disease, and death. All metals are really gold in one way, but deteriorated gold. So transformation of the lesser, grosser metals into gold was one idea. The second was to find an elixir to eliminate all disease from the human body, and the third was to produce the nectar to eliminate death. These three threads on this sacrificial thread stand for each of these functions - altogether there are fifteen threads. I don't know how many you have, that's perhaps the symbol of the full moon. Of course, you all know that alchemy is actually operative whenever we are forcing a crisis on ourselves, or permitting a crisis to be forced on us, we are exposed to alchemy. Of course, "Al" means God, and "Kem" means Egypt; therefore Alchemy is God of Egypt, and God of Egypt was this.
It's very strange that the life of Buddha had these same three crises in it; the sight of disease, and the sight of death, and the sight of old age, which is deterioration. He had never been exposed to these crises. He lived like a plant in a green room. Suddenly he came across these three instances, as he was passing through a street in a chariot. He came home and he couldn't rest and asked himself, "Why must the human body deteriorate? Why disease? Why death?" And he went out of his palace at midnight. He left a wife and newly born son.
I don't know why I'm speaking this, but I think it has some reference to some of you already exposed to emotional, spiritual, and perhaps financial crisis. An Alchemist process to which we are addressed - let us welcome it....
I cannot go into all the details of the meaning of these trance utterances by Dr. Vinod. The material that was given would fill another volume, and only a small sample is presented in Appendix One to give a synoptic view of the philosophy of the Nine. We took every known precaution against fraud, and the staff and I became thoroughly convinced that we were dealing with some kind of an extraordinary extraterrestrial intelligence. But for this belief we had no solid proof in 1953.
Three years later, I was called to Mexico to help solve an archaeological problem. With me was Peter Hurkos, one of the great telepathic talents of modern times. Peter and I arrived in the colonial village of Acambaro, Mexico, on July 26, 1956. Rooms had been reserved for us at the only hotel in town. When we got there, we found that the only two good rooms in the hotel had been given to an American family by mistake. But it was late at night, so we accepted two strange windowless rooms and planned to get more decent accommodations by discussing the problem the next day with the Americans who had been given our rooms.
In the morning we met the Americans, a Dr. and Mrs. Charles Laughead from Whipple, Arizona. We could not understand why they were so happy to see us and why they so gladly gave up their lovely, sunny quarters in exchange for our drab, dark ones. When Dr. Laughead, who was a medical doctor, found out that I was an M.D. and that Peter was a psychic, he was beside himself with joy. He then told us the following story:
"Through the assistance of a young man, who is a very fine voice channel or medium, we have been in frequent communication for over a year with the Brotherhood of one of the ancient Mystery Schools in South America. These sessions covered a wide range of subjects, from ancient history and life origins on this planet to science and religion. This Brotherhood also served as a communication center for contacts with intelligences on other planets and star systems and on spacecraft. Some of these intelligences obviously were not human and operated on energy and life support mechanisms entirely foreign to our thinking. Their knowledge and wisdom far exceeded our comprehension. For simplicity, we referred to them as Space Beings or Space Brothers.
"In one of these sessions our attention was directed to the story of the arrival on earth of men from outer space in very ancient times. This landing took place on a small island near Easter Island, called Mangareva. We were then told that the clay figurines at Acambaro, Mexico, would corroborate by certain clues the story about these early space travelers. We were then directed to search out a possible location for continuing study and research in Mexico, and on this scouting trip we naturally came to visit the library of figurines at Acambaro.
"Because of the unusual nature of this meeting with you gentlemen and the work under investigation, we feel you must be related in some way to the unfolding story of the ancient mystery of man in space, even though at the present time you may not have recall of previous life cycles on this and on other planets.
"The voices of our mentors speaking through our young channel sounded so authoritative that we felt impelled to follow through with their suggestions and come to Mexico. And here we are, having arrived only an hour before you. Are you not brothers from space?"
Dr. Laughead stared at us so intently as he said this that for a moment I thought, "Maybe I am." But then Peter and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. The whole idea was just too absurd. Peter hastily said in his broken English, "Meester, I'm born right in my modder's bed. I'm no space mensch!"
We talked for an hour to these charming but naive people, to no avail. They were firmly convinced of the authenticity of their message. They coaxed us to admit our true space origins. We gently but firmly backed away. We then bade them good-bye and went off to take care of our business. During our stay there we carefully avoided seeing the Laugheads again. This space-brothers talk was just too wild for our tastes.
On August 15, 1956, I received a letter at the Round Table Foundation from Dr. Laughead, mailed on August 12, from Whipple, Arizona. The envelope was addressed to Dr. Andae Poharits (misspelled). The letter, labeled by me as '`Test No. 1, read as follows:
Test No. I
Dear Dr. Pharits [again misspelled].
It was indeed a pleasant surprise for us on our recent Mexican tap to discover and make the acquaintance of others interested in the same things we are interested in, particularly to find another M.D. interested in and working in the field of parapsychological research.
As you well know, a professional man that dares to venture into this area is certain to have a lot of "pot shots" taken at him, and I admire your courage in devoting your full time to this study.
On the evening of August 11th, we received the two enclosed communications, each through a different channel, and we were instructed to forward them to you at once. [Author's note: I have labeled these enclosures "Test No. 2."]
We were told that you would understand and would know what to do concerning them. We were also instructed to send a copy to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Young.
After leaving Acambaro we visited the Chicomostoc ruins near Zacatecas where I had a pick up that my wife Lillian and I had lived there about 1200 A.D. as Indians and that we had been brothers at that time. We had started from there north on a journey which eventually took us as far as Mesa Verde in Colorado, visiting Indian tribes along the way. At Mesa Verde a great spacecraft landed and contact was made at that time with the brothers of space.
We trust that our paths shall cross again and that which began so strangely in an ancient Mexican town is but the beginning of an interesting association.
[signed] Charles Laughead
I just couldn't believe what I was reading, especially when I read the enclosures that I shall describe shortly. I decided to use Peter Hurkos's proven ability at psychometry to assess this note.
"Psychometry" is an old term used to describe a form of extrasensory perception. In psychometry Peter takes an object in his hands and simply recounts whatever mental impressions he gets from it. (This is the way in which Peter would work with the police; by touching objects belonging to missing persons, he could get enough information so that the person would often be found. ) With us was Harry Stone, another telepathic talent, who often worked with Hurkos.
At 2 P.M. I handed Peter Dr. Laughead's letter, Test No. 1, sealed in a brown opaque envelope. Here are Peter's psychometric impressions in English:
"I must tell you, Andrija, this is not a fake. No, it is not a fantasy. These people have found out something. There is a professor here. There is a doctor in here, engineers. They don't get pay from another country."
At this point Harry Stone wanted to participate in the reading. So we handed him the Test No. 1 envelope.
"I see two lines, like a blowtorch, but it is two jets. It was red in the beginning, but the fire fumed blue. I see two rows of fire all shooting out with jets. The fire gets so violent that it starts searing me."
AP: "Harry, look into that fire."
Harry: "Now I see the eye of a hurricane fuming around. I see two men - I think they are two men, but they don't want to show their faces to anyone. They were covering themselves somehow."
AP: "You said that you think they were men. Why did you say that? Can you draw what they look like?"
At this point Peter said he would like to make a drawing of what he saw. His drawing showed a figure in black with a pointed cap, but no arms or legs. Harry said that this is the same thing he saw.
Hurkos: "These are people in black, but I also couldn't see their faces. They are in a costume which can withstand thousands of degrees Centigrade heat. This is nothing to laugh at. It is all quite serious."
AP: "Is that all you get?"
Peter and Harry both said they were tired and didn't want to work anymore. I handed Dr. Laughead's letter and the two enclosures to Mrs. Ida Gold, the secretary, and asked her to transcribe them and the tape of the experiment into typescript. She went ahead with this task immediately.
An hour later she came to me in great puzzlement and said, "Dr. Puharich, I have been a bonded court secretary for thirty years and have never seen what I have seen just now. Here is the material you asked me to type. It covers twelve and one-half pages. I did not change the carbon paper but kept using the same one over and over again. Now, look at each of the carbon copies. Notice that page one carbon is black and clear. Pages two to nine are good but getting lighter and less clear. Note how pages ten and eleven are getting very light and still less clear. This continues on the top of page twelve where the first ten lines are really light and faint. Then as soon as I began to copy the first enclosure, Test Number Two, the carbon copy from line eleven and on got black and clear - just as it was on page one when the carbon paper was fresh. This is impossible - how can carbon paper suddenly get rejuvenated?"
I examined the sheets and she was absolutely right: the carbon copy of the first enclosure, Test Number Two, from Dr. Laughead was in clear bold black typescript:
At the moment of our advent, December 31, 1952, your most spectacular phase of work began. We are Nine principles and forces. The nature of our work is to accentuate certain directions as will fulfill the destiny of creation.
We used the body or brain of Dr. "V." We can and are using other bodies also.
Remember the formula:
It is vital that you have a personal conference with Dr. "L" as soon as possible, for it was not accident that you met him in Mexico. We will have more - much more for you.
A very similar message (as the reader will recall) was given through Dr. Vinod almost four years before. I tried for two years to find out if this material had come into Dr. Laughead's hands from someone connected with my laboratory, but the search was fruitless. I talked thereafter many times with Dr. Laughead, and he stoutly maintained that the material had come directly from the mouth of a medium whom he did not want to name.
But even if Dr. Laughead had tried to commit some kind of a deception, it could not account for the rejuvenation of a worn-out sheet of carbon paper. I could only conclude that some kind of an intelligence had created this black imprint by means entirely unknown. I was even willing to admit that there might be some reality to Dr. Laughead's "contacts" with spacecraft.
But the second enclosure that came with Dr. Laughead's letter was an even deeper mystery. I could not understand this piece of writing until many years later when I was in Israel in 1971. I now give a faithful copy of this piece of writing sent to me by Dr. Laughead:
Received evening of August 11,1956
Test No. 2
M: We are in the place where the first of the prophets have had their origins and wherein they shall be gathered in. And they shall be put into a place wherein are the people from the planets of many galaxies; and they shall be the gods which shall create worlds without end. And ye shall see them and ye shall be within the holy mount which is within the Galaxy of the Milky Way and the forest wherein the earth shall be put when she is anchored and wherein is the new berth which is prepared for her, and so shall the earth be delivered up. And the people therein shall be freed from the earth and they shall be put into another place wherein they shall be awakened.
These events, and those related to Dr. Vinod, were totally beyond my imagination to comprehend completely. At this point I was not fully convinced that these "intelligent beings" existed independently of the imaginations of all the witnesses who had shared these experiences. When this question was discussed with all of my colleagues - which we did many times no one expressed the conviction that what had been said was really true and could be accepted as such. It boiled down to the simple fact that there was not enough proof to accept the explanation of the Nine for what they were. Now, although proof and therefore total conviction were lacking, I still found myself continually asking, "What if it were true?"
It was nearly six years later that I was to have my own experience with what seemed to be "other-worldly" sources. In 1963 I was living in Ossining, New York, commuting each day to New York City where I was working on an electronic invention which would help people with a hearing problem. On March 15 I came home from an exhausting day in the city with a splitting headache and, without eating dinner, fell asleep in a second-floor bedroom at the rear of the house.
I slept for about two hours. When I awakened, I looked at the luminous dial of my wristwatch in the dark and saw that it was 9:40 P.M. I lay there, awake and fresh, thinking about getting up and having some dinner. From my position in bed I could see the wintry clear night sky, full of stars. Then suddenly among them appeared a bright light. My first thought was that an oncoming plane had just turned on its landing lights. I slowly got out of bed, keeping my eyes on the light, and walked to the window. I now saw that the light was stationary and was located just over the first hill to the west, which was about three hundred yards from where I stood. The light was like a flattened egg in shape, about the size of a full moon and of a steady blue-green color. The color, in fact, was the same color as one sees in a mercury vapor streetlamp. I stared at the light object.
I began to have a profound feeling of the gravity of this moment. I knew that the light was very, very real, and it gave me the feeling of a living thing. Normally in this kind of situation I would have taken my movie camera and gone outdoors to take pictures of the thing I saw. But now I had no desire to prove anything or to document what I saw. This was for me "pure experience." It was like nothing that had ever happened to me before, nor was there anything that I could associate with it.
I stood there for twenty minutes (by clock time) staring unblinkingly at this light object. I saw that it was only light; there seemed to be nothing solid associated with it. I could see nothing inside of the light as I stared at it. Suddenly the light was out. There was no movement; it just went out. I stood there staring at the bright night sky for another hour, but the light did not return.
After I had recovered from the emotional intensity of being in the presence of the light, I tried to analyze what this meant. I first thought of all the reports I had read about or had been told about concerning unidentified spacecraft. I concluded that what I had just seen and witnessed did not fit the general description that went with the most commonly reported types of UFOs. I recalled what Dr. Laughead had given me as a description of the spacecraft he had seen. I again recalled what Peter Hurkos had once described to me as "flying saucers" he had seen (or, the way he pronounced this phrase, "flying sausages"). None of these descriptions fit my experience. I finally concluded that what I had seen had to stand by itself, that I could not fortify it by getting assurance that others had also had the same experience.
The experience to me was very real, and the memory of it stayed with me. But I talked to no one about it. It was too private to reveal and, besides, it had no objective corroboration. I simply filed it away in my memory. But this kind of experience was to recur in Brazil.
I first heard of Arigo, the Brazilian healer, from an intelligent, articulate doctor named Lauro Neiva, who practiced in Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Neiva told me that Arigo was a man in his early forties who performed major surgery on humans without using any known form of anesthesia, bleeding control (hemostasis), or antisepsis. I was told that Arigo had become a "court of last appeal" for hopeless medical problems in Brazil and that his rate of success was phenomenal. On August 21, 1963, I set out from Rio de Janeiro for Arigo's village, Congonhas do Campo, which was about three hundred kilometers to the north of Rio in the state of Minas Gerais.
Arigo was of medium height with a powerful muscular build. He had a hearty outgoing manner which radiated confidence to all around him. Although I did not understand Portuguese, it was obvious that his speech had a rough peasant quality. I shall not go into details of his background or his present social situation because this material has been adequately covered in other writings.(2)
I was warmly welcomed and given free rein to observe his work, to interview patients, and to ask any questions I wished. On August 22 I observed Arigo handle about two hundred patients over a period of four hours. Arigo worked in a small dilapidated espiritista church. First he addressed the assembled patients and said that he himself was not the healer but that he acted only as an agent for a higher power, which, he said, was the spirit of one Adolpho Fritz, who had died in Germany in 8.
In order to assure the patients that he would not harm anyone, he said he would demonstrate the safety of his work. He took by the shoulder a man standing next to him and without a word plunged a paring knife (a very sharp, four-inch stainless steel blade with a cocobolo wood handle) toward the man's left eyeball.
The knife was skillfully inserted under the upper eyelid, and the sharp point plunged deep into the eye socket. The patient was calm and relaxed, and when queried as to possible pain, he answered that he felt nothing. Arigo then pressed the point of the knife up through the upper chamber of the eye socket so that
(2) John G. Fuller, Arigo: Surgeon of the Rusty Knife (New York: T. Y. Crowell, 1974), with an appendix by Andrija Puharich, M.D.
the point lifted the skin above the eye (supraorbital forehead area). Arigo asked me to feel the point of the knife through the skin, which I did. I affirmed that I could palpate the sharp tip of the knife. This exercise lasted about twenty seconds. When the knife was withdrawn from the eye socket, I asked the patient how he felt. He replied that he felt normal. Examination of the eye did not reveal any laceration, redness, or other signs of irritation. I was stunned at this demonstration of surgical and medical power.
For the rest of the four hours I watched Arigo's mode of handling patients. The patients stood in a long line waiting to see Arigo. When one stepped up, Arigo looked up at him or her from his desk, asked no questions, and in a few seconds began a definitive treatment, either surgical or medical, on each of the two hundred patients. He sent a dozen patients away, saying that their problems could easily be handled by any medical doctor. He performed eye surgery and ear surgery on ten patients, each operation averaging about thirty seconds. He used the same knife on each patient and wiped it on his shirt after each operation. No attempt was made to give any anesthesia or hypnotic suggestion; no sterile precautions were used; bleeding was minimal; and each patient walked out of the room by himself after surgery. The rest of the patients were given long complicated medical prescriptions which used proprietary pharmaceutical preparations from well-known drug houses. Arigo never charged for his healing services; he worked at a full-time job as a civil servant to earn his living.
I was in a state of shock as I witnessed his apparently successful handling of these patients while violating every rule of medicine and surgery in which I had been indoctrinated. I simply could not believe what I was seeing and experiencing.
At the end of the day of August 22, 1963 I pondered how I could prove to myself and my colleagues that we were not hallucinating. It occurred to me that if I could persuade Arigo to operate on a tumor on my right forearm I could get a personal and realistic evaluation of what he was doing. I approached Arigo with this request on the morning of August 23, and he cheerfully agreed to operate on me. I arranged for Jorge Rizzini to film my operation.
I had a lipoma on the elbow over the right ulnar head which measured by palpation about 0.5 inches X 1.2 inches X 1.4 inches. It had been there for seven years and had been checked regularly by Sidney Krebs, M.D., of New York City, during the past two years.
We appeared before Arigo at 10 A.M. There were dozens of patients crowding the room. I rolled up my right sleeve. Arigo asked if any of the surrounding patients could lend him a pocket knife. One man offered a knife, but Arigo said it was too dull. Another man offered a Swiss army knife; Arigo said, "This is a good knife."
Arigo told me not to look at the surgery. I turned my head toward Rizzini on my left, who was running the movie camera, and gave Osmar, my translator, some advice about the lighting. At the same time I felt Arigo grasp my arm at the tumor area with his left hand. All I could feel was something like a fingernail being pressed into the skin. Within five seconds Arigo displayed an elongated egg-shaped tumor for all the patients to see and handed it to me with the pocket knife. I had felt no sensation of pain. When I looked at the wound, there was a trickle of blood from the incision, which was about a half inch long.
Arigo then said that Dr. Fritz had told him to make the following statement: "This is a demonstration only - so that people will believe. I think every doctor in Brazil should come here and do what you do. After the legal prosecution against me is over, you must come back, and I will do major surgery for you."
Immediately after the surgery I took black and white pictures of the tumor and the knife. I then asked Altamiro, Arigo's assistant, to place a dressing on the wound. He took some unsterile gauze squares and taped them over the wound.
I felt that my surgery was not adequate for scientific purposes, as I was not able to observe it properly, nor did I experience enough significant data points to evaluate it. However, given the unsterile conditions of the surgery, I would have a real test of Arigo's powers if the wound did not get infected. Hence I determined not to use any antiseptics on the wound nor to use any antibiotics, in order to test the postoperative course with respect to possible infection.
I therefore changed the bandage once a day so that I could photograph the healing and infective course. By the third day the wound had healed by primary intention, and not one drop of pus had appeared. I did not develop any symptoms of blood poisoning or tetanus. By the fourth day I dispensed with the bandage. With this evidence I was now convinced that Arigo had extraordinary powers in surgery, bacterial control, and anesthesia.
Six days later I visited Jorge Rizzini in Sao Paulo and saw the developed movies of my surgery. The film clearly proved that there had been an operation, and thus personal and mass hallucinations were ruled out. The film showed that Arigo had made six "saw like" strokes of the knife through my skin to make the incision. This alone should have been painful. And strangely enough the tumor popped out of my arm without Arigo having dissected it. The entire procedure lasted five seconds.
It is now ten years since the operation. The surgical scar remains; the tumor is still in a bottle of alcohol; there have been no complications.
In September 1967 I went to Brazil to continue my studies of Arigo. I had seen him many times since that operation in 1963, and it had never occurred to me to ask him for personal help. One day as I was working with Arigo, he suddenly fumed to me and said, "You have otosclerosis." I replied, "I don't know about that, but I have a chronic infection and drainage in my left ear from a cholesteatoma."
Arigo said, "Yes, you have had that for a long time, but the otosclerosis is new. Check it when you get home. I will give you a prescription that will cure both of your problems."
There is not much need to explain the items in the prescription except to state that the first drug was an ear drop solution, the second was a bile salt, and the third was gabromicina, a primitive form of streptomycin, which had largely been dropped from use by physicians. The prescription involved two successive treatments.
When I resumed to the States, I had the audiologist in my own laboratory run a hearing test on me with an audiometer. When the test was done, she volunteered the diagnosis: "You have otosclerosis." I checked the audiogram. Arigo was right; I did have otosclerosis, a hardening of the bony tissue over the stapes in the middle ear chamber. I decided then and there to start Arigo's prescription.
Because of my odd working hours, it was easiest for me to give myself the gabromicina injection just before I went to bed each night. I started the first treatment series on October 7, 1967 - including the injection of the gabromicina once a day. By October 14 I had developed a reaction to this form of streptomycin. I had a swelling and tenderness of my hands and palms and on my feet and toes. Therefore, I had to stop the injections and wait for the allergic reaction to go away. By October 25 I was in good enough shape to begin the second treatment. In my opinion it was too dangerous to try to continue with the streptomycin. Therefore, I never did fully complete the first treatment. I finished the second treatment on January 11, 1968.
I was now free of the ear drainage problem that had plagued me all of my life, and have continued so to this day. Over the next six months my audiograms showed that my otosclerosis had disappeared. My hearing improved. I want to make one other point here, for the record: I never told another human being that I had not finished the first treatment because of an allergic reaction. ( See page 159. )
In early 1968 I was busily engaged in preparations to lead a team of medical researchers to Brazil to study Arigo. We arrived in Congonhas do Campo on the afternoon of May 22, 1968. To house our group we had rented a large fazenda, or ranch, some two miles out of the village. As the sun set, we all assembled on the huge lawn to observe the incredible brilliance of the wintry stars. The night was cold and the air very dry. At 6 P.M. one of our researchers, John Laurance, noted a bright white light moving across the sky from south to north. He brought it to our attention because, as he explained, it was not a plane or a satellite. John could make this statement with some authority because he worked for the Astroelectronics division of RCA in New Jersey, designing and building satellites for NASA. For about six minutes we watched this light move slowly overhead, resembling a very bright star. It was impossible to determine its distance from us. Then it suddenly winked out in mid-course and was gone. We discussed what it could possibly have been and concluded that it was an unknown type of aerial light. The owner of the fazenda, Walter de Freitas, joined us, and we told him what we had seen and asked for clarification of our observation. He laughed and told us the following story.
"You see, the common folk around here always see what you just saw, mostly between May and August. They call them Rivers of Gold in the sky because they believe that these lights will lead you to gold. I don't believe these superstitions, but I have an idea why they believe such things. One day, two years ago, I was standing where we are now, and I saw one of these lights slowly come down from the sky. It landed about five hundred meters from here, in that direction by the river. It was just after sunset, as it is now. I could see pretty well in the dark, so I started to walk toward the light to see what it was. When I came to within fifty meters, I could clearly see moving figures under what looked like a metal craft, looking like a giant lens. I still am not sure whether the creatures were more like people or more like animals. But I could see and hear that they were digging in the earth. As I got closer, about thirty meters away, three or four of these figures suddenly disappeared into the metal hull which I now saw was standing on legs. The lens hull shot out fire and smoke and rose straight up in the air. When I examined the ground where the metal hull had been, I saw many small fresh holes. I went there the next morning looking to see if there was any gold, but I didn't find any."
We quizzed Walter for a few minutes, and then Dr. Luis Cortes called out, "Hey, there is another one!" Again we saw a very bright white light at an indeterminate distance, going slowly overhead from north to south. It, too, lasted for a long time - twelve minutes - and then winked out.
I immediately set up my Hasselblad camera, but I had only an 80-mm lens. But fortunately I had a Polaroid back for this camera and very fast 3000 ASA black and white film, which allowed me the possibility of getting some pictures. I set my camera on a stable tripod, and we all sat watching the skies. Fortunately, being in the country, there were absolutely no streetlights around to mar either the viewing or the photography.
Soon another light appeared, moving slowly from east to west, and I was able to photograph it, as a streak, through time exposure. Moreover, the film was so sensitive that I was able to get a background star map photo as a reference frame. We set up a night watch, and I was able to get three more photographs that night. After comparing our collective observations we all agreed unanimously that the lights we had seen and photographed were indeed unidentified aerial light effects.
During the next few days we discussed for the first time the theory that Arigo's powers may not be due to a Dr. Fritz, but to some intelligent beings associated with spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin. This seemed to be a perfectly logical hypothesis, but, of course, there was no way to test it. We spoke to Arigo about this possibility, and he just laughed away the question.
For the next three years I made plans to undertake a concentrated study of Arigo's powers, but other work intervened. At about 11 A.M. on January 11, 1971, I was working in my office at Intelectron Corporation in New York City when the telephone rang. Normally my secretary, Lorraine Shaw, would pick up the phone first. But this time, for no reason, I picked it up, and a woman whose name I don't recall blurted out the following: "I am looking for Dr. Puharich."
I replied, "This is he speaking."
"Dr. Puharich, I just got a telephone call from a TV station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, asking for you to make a comment on the death of Arigo."
"Would you please repeat that? I don't think I clearly heard what you said," I stuttered.
She repeated her statement. I said, "Are you sure of what you are saying, that Arigo is dead?"
She replied that all she knew was what had been relayed to her. I told her I could not then reply because of my shocked state. If she would give me her name and telephone number, I would call her back. This she did, and I wrote these items down on my desk calendar pad.
I sat back in my chair. It did not seem possible for Arigo the greatest healer in the world - to be dead! He was too young, too vital. Besides, he was the hope of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who looked to him as the witness for higher powers. "There must be a mistake," I thought. "I will have to check this out myself."
I called the Brazilian consulate in New York, and they had no such news. I called the Brazilian embassy in Washington; they had no such news. I called the various press services; they had no such news. Finally by 4: 30 P.M. I called friends in Brazil, who finally confirmed the dread news that Arigo had been killed that very morning in an auto accident.
I proceeded to return the phone call from the woman, and looked at my desk calendar pad. Her name and phone number were not there; the sheet was clean. I thought I had perhaps written the information somewhere else. But I could not find any such paper. I checked with my secretary; she had not heard the phone ring at 11 l A.M. nor had she logged any incoming calls at that time. Then I began to worry; had I really received the call as I remembered it? Perhaps she would call me again. But she never did call back.
In any case, I was personally despondent over the loss of Arigo. Humanity had lost its great luminary. It was as though the sun had gone out. The shock was so deep to me that I decided to go on a fourteen-day fast and re-examine all of my life and weigh the meaning of Arigo, both in life and in death.
During my fast my sorrow was lightened by information I received from Dr. Juscelino Kubitschek, the former President of Brazil. Kubitschek said that he had visited Arigo two weeks before his death, and in the most simple and casual way Arigo had said, "I do not like to say this, Mr. President, but I will soon die a violent death."
The former President was shocked and disturbed. "You don't mean that," he said.
Arigo nodded and repeated in a sad, soft tone, "I am sure I will die violently very soon. So I say good-bye to you with sadness. This is the last time we will meet."
Later Arigo said to Gabriel Khater, editor of the local paper, O Propheto, "I am afraid, Gabriel, that my mission on earth is finished. I will leave soon."
But two years later I was to learn from John G. Fuller, who wrote a book about Arigo, that he had received a report that Arigo had been killed at exactly 12:15 P.M. in the car crash. Since the time in Congonhas is one hour earlier than New York, he had been killed at 1 l :15 A.M. New York time. How did I get the news of his death at least fifteen minutes before the event occurred? This mystery was not solved until my experiences with Uri in Israel. But the answer will be given later in this story.
The knowledge of Arigo's foreknowledge of his death helped me a great deal. That his death was not the result of blind chance eased my pain. Near the end of my fast, I came to some strong conclusions. The first was that I had failed both Arigo and humanity by not completing my studies of Arigo's healing work. I realized that I should have dropped my other work in 1963 and concentrated all of my efforts on Arigo. I was sure there would never be another Arigo in my lifetime. But if there were, I would not fail the next time.
I looked back over the ten years since I had moved to New York. I had become a slave to my company, to my inventions, and to a complex and costly way of life. While it was true that I had been issued some fifty patents for my inventions, which promised to help many people with deafness, I could not really make any more creative contributions in this area. Others could carry on what I had started. But most of all I wanted to get into the full-time study of the mysterious powers of the human
mind. One day I made my decision. I would resign from all my duties and jobs from foundations, companies, and laboratories and give myself two years in which to find a new place in full time research on the mind.
When I informed my family and colleagues of my decision, they tried to talk me out of it. But I was determined in my course.
By April 1, 1971, I had freed myself of all these ties and began my new way of life. I had two goals: one was to develop a theoretical base for all of my mind researches, and the other was to find human beings with great psychic talents who would cooperate as research subjects.
"Uri" Means Light
As far as Itzhaak and Margarete Geller were concerned, the birth of their first son, Uri, on December 20, 1946, in Tel Aviv, was a moment of peace in an unending struggle for survival. Itzhaak had fled from Hungary in 1940 before the holocaust consumed Europe. Upon landing in Palestine he had worked on a kibbutz, happy to be alive and free. When the British finally decided in 1942 to allow Jews to fight in the Allied cause to help defeat Nazi Germany, Itzhaak was one of the first to volunteer. He was trained as a tanker and fought with great courage and ingenuity against Rommel's forces in Africa.
Itzhaak Geller, like so many others, believed that he had a covenant with God by living in the Promised Land until God, in his perfect wisdom, revealed to his chosen ones why they had been chosen. If a man settled on a piece of land in Palestine, and if by sunrise he had established a water supply and a dwelling, Turkish common law gave him the rights of a settler. Itzhaak and his friends purchased a piece of scrub desert from a sheikh near Beersheba. The sheikh felt sure that the land could not be settled because the nearest waterline was a mile away. The planning for this new Jewish settlement went on for months. In pitch-darkness the young men and women practiced assembling their prefabricated huts and laying down a waterline that would not leak. They loaded their new community on six trucks and under cover of darkness arrived at "their" land. When the sun arose the next morning, it saw a brand-new kibbutz complete with huts, fences, watchtowers, and a precious waterline. The weary kibbutzniks proudly patrolled their settlement in the searing heat of that long first day. The Arabs came up with their flocks and tents and just stared at this miracle in the desert. There was no hostility in the air. The ancient law had been honorably fulfilled.
But Itzhaak and his friends learned that if they did not patrol their land twenty-four hours a day, they would be killed by anti-Jewish fanatics. They became a part of the home defense effort called the Haganah. This was a primitive home-guard militia defending land, home and family, and especially children.
Some of Itzhaak's friends who were political-minded joined a secret military group called the Palmach. The Haganah was solely concerned with defence; the Palmach was concerned with pre-emptive attacks, reprisals, and sabotage. Itzhaak was neither bloodthirsty nor war-minded and served only in the Haganah.
By 1949 the local outbreaks of violence had become more dangerous each day, and the little world of Israel had no peace for the baby Uri. Itzhaak found himself spending more and more of his time in soldiering and training others to be soldiers. The stress and strain was beginning to take its toll. Unlike many Jews, he could find no solace and peace in reading the Bible, nor in prayers. He was a man of action, and when he was troubled, he found some release by going to another woman. One day he found a young woman who gave him more peace than did his wife, Margarete. And Margarete was so heartbroken that she took young Uri and left home. Itzhaak, too, was heartbroken, but now it was a matter of personal survival.
Margarete moved to the budding town of Tel Aviv near the old Arab city of Jaffa (biblical Joppa). She found a job as a seamstress, and Uri spent the day in the company of a neighbor and her children. He loved this kindly lady, but she shouted too often and too loudly at her unruly brood. Uri eventually found a place where he could be happy in the midst of all of the bustling humanity around him. Across the street from his apartment was a stately Arab estate. It was fully a square block in size with a gray shuttered villa in one corner. It was surrounded by a high wooden fence that screened it off completely from eyes on the street.
One day, Uri, in trying to peek through the fence, found that a vertical board gave way as though it were hinged at the top, and he stepped into what seemed to him a magic world. He saw near him a pool with fish in it. Through the ancient olive trees he saw the shuttered, gray stone house. No one appeared to be near, so he cautiously moved into the garden. The heavy foliage was sweet-smelling, the air was fresh, and the sounds of the street seemed far away and unreal. He dipped his bare feet into the pool and found that the fish were friendly and began to nibble on his toes. For the first time in his life he had a vision of beauty and peace. As this feeling settled down into the heart of a three-year-old boy, he lay down on the grass and fell asleep. At least for one soul in Israel there was peace in December 1949.
Uri awoke from what seemed like a long, long sleep, and he knew by his stomach clock, and by the shadows, that he had missed his noonday meal. He decided to take a trip around this vast scented forest before going home. As he reached the south side of the pool, with the sun at his back, he looked up at the clear sky over the pool. Slowly settling down from the sky was a huge, silent, bowl-shaped object. He stared in fascination: What kind of an airplane was this? All the planes his father had shown him were wonderfully noisy things with bird-like wings. This one was as quiet as his garden. It looked like the bottom of his mother's huge aluminum bowl, which she used to wash vegetables. It gave him a feeling of peace and beauty and of strength like when he was with his father.
Suddenly between himself and the bowl in the sky there was the shadow of a huge figure like the shadow of a man with a long cape, because there were no arms or legs to be seen. As he stared at this figure, a blinding ray of light came from its head and struck Uri so forcibly that he fell over backward and into a deep sleep. Again he slept for several hours to be awakened by the chilling shadows of the setting sun. He leaped up cold and hungry. He looked to the sky for the bowl, but it was gone. He remembered the blinding light of the shadow man, and somehow it made him feel good. He ran to the fence, found his loose board, scuttled through, and ran up the steps to the third-floor apartment. His mother asked him where he had been for so long. He eagerly told the story of the garden, the fish that nibbled, and the bowl in the sky. His mother spanked him for being away and scaring everyone by his absence and then telling such a tall tale. So for many years he did not speak to anyone again about his secret garden or the bowl in the sky. For a while he would return to the garden and await the bowl. But when it did not reappear after a few months, he forgot all about it.
The only recreation that Uri's mother, Margarete, had was playing cards at the homes of her friends. When she returned, Uri would awaken, tell her how much money she had won or lost, and go back to sleep. Margarete was amazed because he was always accurate down to the last piastre. How did he know this? She didn't think about it too much, but made it into a "guessing game" that she and Uri would play when she came home.
Itzhaak was scarcely aware of this aspect of his son's life, because he saw less and less of him and because it never occurred to Margarete to tell him. Ever since the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, to set up the independent Arab and Jewish states in Palestine, he had spent more and more time soldiering. When on May 14, 1948, the leaders of Jewish Palestine declared their independence, and proclaimed the State of Israel, he had given up trying to live as a civilian and had returned to being a professional soldier. When he did see his son Uri, he talked only about his life as a soldier, of raids, guns, and skirmishes. It made Uri proud of his father to know that he was guarding all the people from harm. Uri decided that he wanted to be a soldier when he grew up and guard the people from the ever-lurking dangers. Itzhaak had no idea that his son was developing a reputation as an extraordinary guesser.
Uri continued to play in the garden of his Arab host. In the years that he had this sanctuary he never met anyone else in this garden, and he wondered who his host really was. Although he never met his host or discovered anything about him, he instinctively liked him for letting him play in his garden.
In June 1953 Uri Geller was squirming in his seat in the torrid heat of a Tel Aviv summer day. The teacher droned on about the correct formation of Hebrew letters. He looked at his new wristwatch; it said 10:30 A.M. Would noon ever come so that he could get out of this classroom and dip his toes in the pool of his cool garden? He thought for a moment of the metal bowl in the sky. Why didn't it come back? He looked at his watch again. It now said 12 noon. He jumped up and started to leave the room. No one else moved. The teacher stared at him and then at the wall clock. The time on the wall clock was still 10:30. He backed into his seat. He furtively stole a look at his wristwatch: it said 12 noon. He stared at the watch. What could be wrong with it?
When he saw his mother at dinner that evening after his visit to the Arab garden, he said, "Mommy, that watch you gave me for my birthday, something is wrong with it. The hands keep jumping around."
Margarete looked at the watch. It was an hour and a half fast; perhaps it needed to be adjusted. "I'll take it to the jeweler; he'll make it run nicely."
A week later Uri had his watch back. It was another hot, steamy day. He wished school were over. He looked at the wall clock. It was only 10:30 A.M. He looked at his wristwatch. It said 12 noon. He was angry. He thought, "Stupid watch work right!" He looked at the watch again. It was 11:30 A.M. He looked around to see if any of his classmates were watching him. No one paid any attention. Then he closed his eyes wished hard that it would be 12 noon and that class would be over! He peeked at his wristwatch and it said 12 noon. He felt his heart leap! But when he looked at the wall clock, it was 10:31 A.M., and his heart sank. He couldn't get out of this classroom. He looked back at his wristwatch, which now read the same as the wall clock, 10:31. Now he was getting angry. He whispered to his friend Mordechai, "Here, take my wristwatch, and tell me what time it is."
Uri concentrated again, hoping that the school day would end. Mordechai whispered excitedly. "It is twelve noon on your watch, but it was ten-thirty one minute ago."
The two boys played this game until recess time at 12 noon. They went into the playground, and Mordechai excitedly asked Uri, "What kind of a trick watch is that? How can I do the same trick?"
"It's not a trick watch! I just wished it to move!"
Mordechai screamed with laughter until a crowd gathered around. Tears ran from Mordechai's eyes as he gasped to the crowding children, "Uri's got a trick watch, and he can move the hands with the trick! But he is trying to fool me by saying that he can make the hands move by wishing! He can't fool me - it's a trick watch."
The children wanted to see the trick. Uri didn't know what to do with all this laughing and jeering. It wasn't a trick watch!
"All right," he blurted out with unexpected authority. "I'll show you. Mordechai, show everyone the time, and then put the watch on the ground so that no one touches it." Mordechai did as he was told, and everyone saw that the time was 12:10 P.M. The watch was placed on the ground face down.
Uri suddenly liked being the center of attention. He dramatically placed his left hand across his forehead and tried to look like he was concentrating. He felt as though he was being watched by everyone. He said to himself, "Watch, please move the way you did in class." The school bell suddenly began to ring. Mordechai picked up the watch. Everyone crowded around him.
The clock hands were at 2 P.M.
"what a great trick!"
"Where did you get the watch?"
"Let's do it to the school clock!" exclaimed the children as they straggled into the classroom.
Uri was very, very quiet. The watch was not a trick watch. Why did it move? He tried once more. He set the watch hands at 12:15 P.M., the same as the wall clock. He closed his eyes and made a wish for the hands to move back to 12 noon. When he looked at the watch, it was 12 noon. It had worked! He was unsuccessful, however, in any attempts to affect other clocks than his own.
Over the next few weeks Uri's classmates never tired of wanting to see his trick watch. He tried to please them, but they only seemed to want to tease him into revealing the trick. When he insisted that it was not a trick watch, they began to jeer at him. Finally he became so hurt that he refused to do it anymore.
But secretly he continued to move the watch hands. He found that he could move the hands only when he was in school. He could never do it at home alone or in his garden. He wondered why it worked only in the midst of his crowded classroom. But because the watch trick did not make him popular with anyone - even Mordechai - he gradually stopped trying to move the hands by "wishing."
In Israel, shortly after Uri had passed his ninth birthday, Margarete had met Ladislas Gero, a pianist who had taken a great interest in her. She wanted very much to be with Ladislas but did not want to offend Uri by having him see her with a man. She solved the problem by arranging to have Uri live on a kibbutz not far from Tel Aviv.
When his mother left him at Kibbutz Hatzor Ashdod, Uri ran away and hid for several hours. Not only was he hurt by being parted from his mother, but he feared having to deal with a lot of new people. He came out of hiding as he got hungry and walked into the communal dining hall. A friendly girl escorted him to the cafeteria and then led him to their quarters. It contained sleeping arrangements for eight children - four boys and four girls - and their teacher. This area also contained their classroom. Since Ashdod was subject to sudden raids from Arabs in the nearby Gaza Strip, the children were thoroughly drilled to be constantly alert to danger, and what to do about it.
Although Uri was now a part of a real family for the first time in his life, and everyone was very good to him, he could not get used to this "public" life. He was always being kidded about being stuck-up and a loner. And, in fact try as he could to change his attitude, he really was most comfortable when alone. He tried to make friends on his own terms by showing his watch trick to his classmates, but somehow it did not work to make him popular. Nor did his unusual quickness in class endear him to them.
So Uri spent much time out in the orange groves by himself. He was happy only when his mother came to see him on Sabbath. But he was not too happy when she brought Ladislas. Oh, Ladislas was all right, but his mother didn't pay enough attention to him when Ladislas was around.
One day Uri was called out of his class to see a visitor. As he came up out of the stairway into the bright sun, he could scarcely see the figure in front of him. It was his father in full battle dress! Uri jumped on him with joy. His father led him out to the road, where there was a company of eight tanks, each looking like a powerful fortress. Itzhaak said to Uri, "This is my group, and the front tank is the lead tank under Captain Avram. I'm his sergeant major. We are going off on maneuvers to the border. Hop in and I'll give you a ride, and then you can hitch a ride back here."
The excited child climbed into the Sherman tank and found himself in a blazing hot hellhole where the noise was deafening. His father tried to point out where the gun controls were, but he couldn't hear a thing. Before he knew it, the tank lurched to a stop, he was handed up the hatch, and his father was standing in the dust with him.
"Uri, don't say anything to anyone, but war may come any day. This time it looks bad because the Russians have armed the Egyptians to the teeth. Always remember that I love you, and I only go to battle to protect you. Shalom, shalom, son."
And his father was gone down the road in a whirlwind of dust.
Uri stood there for a long time, trying to remember something in a garden when he was three years old. But he could not recall what it was. He placed his hand on his head and prayed to God for his father. He didn't want to hitch back to the kibbutz, so he walked in the dust and heat.
Two weeks later, on October 29, 1956, Itzhaak's tank unit got orders in the early dawn hours that war was on, and to get to the Suez Canal without fail. Itzhaak's unit battened down the tank hatches and raced toward the Mitla Pass. As they entered the Pass, they could clearly see the massive Russian tanks strategically placed on each curve and hillock. Itzhaak thought, "God, how can we survive this gauntlet? Sooner or later they will get us."
There was no further time to think. The first Egyptian tank was coming within gun range. Itzhaak's commander, Captain Avram, then shouted a radio order to all his tanks, "Don't fire - wait!" Everyone thought, "He is mad! We'll be blasted to bits at this point-blank ranger" But Captain Avram showed even more madness. He lifted the turret lid and stuck his head out "The fool," thought Itzhaak. "He wants to be the first to go!"
Strangely enough, all of Captain Avram's men held their fire. An uneasy calm came over each of them as they came up to the first Egyptian tank and saw that the Egyptian soldiers were staring at them as though hypnotized. As the Israeli tankers passed one Egyptian tank after another, it was the same story. The Egyptians stood with hands frozen on the triggers of their guns. Captain Avram's men opened the hatches of their tanks to stare at the Egyptians as they raced on in the eerie silence of Mitla Pass. Unit after unit of the Israeli Tank Corps raced by the paralyzed Egyptian soldiers. Finally, when enough Israeli armor had pierced through the pass, the Egyptians began to surrender voluntarily. To this day, no one has ever explained what happened that day to give the Israeli Army complete victory over superior forces.
When the war started on October 29, 1956, Uri and his friends were kept in their bomb shelter for four days. They listened to the radio and prayed many times each day for their parents and that God would spare Israel as he had in the times of Moses. Uri kept wishing especially for the safety of his father. Two weeks later he received a message that his father was alive and was going to visit Uri on the following day. Uri stood in the road all day where the bus stopped, waiting for his father.
This was the longest day of his life. When he was about to give up, a bearded, dusty soldier leaped from the back of a truck with two rifles. It was his father!
Uri rushed up and got scratched by his father's new beard. He was bear-hugged till it hurt, but he didn't mind. His father stayed at the kibbutz that night and told the marvelous tale of how God had led them through the Mitla Pass, going almost invisibly past the huge Russian-built tanks. Uri slept very soundly that night, knowing that God watched over Israel and that his father was safe.
In the fall of 1957 Uri left the kibbutz and came to live with his mother again. His mother confided that Ladislas had asked her to marry him. What did Uri think? Bravely he replied, "Mother you do need a friend. You are always alone. Does this mean that you would not have to go to work every day?"
"Thank you, Uri. Yes, I would not go to work. You see, Ladislas owns a small hotel in Cyprus, and we would all work together there."
"Where is Cyprus? Is it like the kibbutz? I didn't like it there at all!"
"No, Uri, it is not like the kibbutz at all. Cyprus is an island."
"An island! That sounds great. What's on the island?"
"It is a very civilized place with resorts, mountains' and different people live there, Greeks and Turks."
"Mother, what are Greeks and Turks?"
"Well, you see, we are Jews."
"But, Mother, what are Jews? I thought we were people like everyone else. My father talks about Jews and the covenant with God and the Promised Land and how God helps the Jews when they are in bad trouble. But why should God do this only for the Jews? How do you become a Jew?"
"Stop, Uri. I can't answer all those questions at once! First, you are a Jew because your mother is a Jew. And I am a Jew because my mother was a Jew, and so on all the way back to the beginning of our history, which starts with a man called Abraham. He was not Jewish, but God came to him here in Israel and said, 'Walk in my ways and be blameless. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and I will make you exceedingly numerous.' And God and Abraham entered into an agreement. And all of Abraham's descendants became the Jewish people."
"But, Mother, I don't feel like a Jew. Why is that?"
"Well, you see, your father and I agreed when you were a baby that it was enough for you to be brought up in freedom here in Israel. We didn't want you to have to go to Shule and be told a lot of things about Judaism while you were too young to understand. Because you have not gone to Shule and do not know the synagogue, no one has pounded it into your head that you are a Jew. You are a citizen of Israel. That is enough. When you grow up, you can decide for yourself if you want to be a Jew."
"I understand, Mother," Uri said very gravely, and left the room. From now on he began to notice who was a Jew and who was not. He found that those who were religious Jews spent a lot of time praying and eating special foods and obeying many rules. Those who were not religious spent more time playing and at the beach and were not fussy about food and rules. Both Jewish groups got along well in Israel.
As 1957 came to an end, and his eleventh birthday approached, Uri got more and more unhappy about leaving his cozy apartment and the garden across the street and about the prospect of going to a place where no one spoke Hebrew. Somehow, he could not like Ladislas, although Ladislas was very nice to him. When they finally moved to Cyprus in early 1958, Ladislas bought a beautiful fox terrier for Uri, which the boy named Joker.
The name of the small hotel on number 5 Pantheon Street, in Nicosia, was the Ritz. It was a marvelous place. It had many rooms, and Uri would explore them after each guest left, hoping to find some treasure. He shared his own small attic room with Joker.
Living in Cyprus made him aware for the first time that he was a Jew. He attended the Terra Santa College presided over by Father Massamino, the Catholic priest. Most of the boys in the school were American or English, whose parents were stationed on Cyprus with some military job or other. Uri learned to speak fluent English in two months, much to everyone's surprise. Neither Margarete nor Ladislas ever learned English. Since they spoke Hebrew very poorly, Uri spoke to them in Hungarian, which he had spoken since childhood. In the streets of Nicosia, which were as noisy and dusty as the old quarter of Tel Aviv, his fine ear soon mastered the Greek language. As these four languages flowed easily through his mind, so did the customs and peculiarities of each of these peoples.
In class his teacher, Brother Bernard, told his young students of the life of a Jew who had lived in Nazareth in Israel. Uri's father had once taken him to Nazareth while they were en route from Tel Aviv to Safad near the Sea of Galilee. This man from Nazareth was called Jesus, and considering what a tiny hillside town Nazareth was above the Valley of Jezreel, it was hard for Uri to understand why he should be so revered here in far-off Cyprus. Uri's strongest memory of Nazareth was that as you entered the hot dusty town and went up and down the narrow stone streets, you were flooded with the smell of fish. It was puzzling why Jesus, a Jew, was popular only with these Catholic people, and not with Jews.
When Jesus was born, there appeared a star in the sky that had never been seen before. Brother Bernard chuckled when he told the boys that the star then was a lot like the lit-up spacecraft that people were now seeing all over the world.
"And this star slowly moved in the heavens by day and by night, leading three wise men who were seeking the Messiah. Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he grew up in Nazareth. As he grew up, he began to show a wisdom and knowledge unlike that of anyone else around him."
Uri impulsively blurted out, "Brother Bernard, could Jesus move the hands of a watch without touching it?"
Everyone burst out in laughter at this crazy question. Brother Bernard rapped for order and said to Uri gently, "You see, they did not have watches in Jesus' time, so the answer to your question is no. But he could do other things like that. For example, changing water into wine or making many loaves of bread out of one."
Uri was embarrassed by the laughter and didn't really know why he had asked the question. Of course, no one on Cyprus knew that he had once been able to move the hands of a watch. But somehow he liked this man Jesus, especially the boy Jesus. It seemed that he could do things that nobody else could do, and people laughed at him. What's the use of telling people your secrets if they laugh? Besides, all these people in Cyprus who believed in Jesus, and went to church every day, were also out in the streets fighting every day. The great riots between the Greeks and the Turks were heavy in the air and ready to explode at any moment. Why did not the Greeks heed the peaceful words of Jesus and the Turks heed the tolerant wisdom of their prophet, Mohammed?
In the intense emotional heat of Cyprus there was also cool sanctuary. Uri and his dog Joker had found some deep, seemingly endless, cool caves in the hills above Nicosia. Here with his flashlight, the security of Joker, and his tingling sense of excitement, Uri found peace and happiness. People were all right, but to be alone in these cool caves was joy. For Uri, these caves were magical. Somehow, when he was in them, he felt complete security, as when his father's arm was around him. He felt a peace and serenity that he could not understand. It was like the garden of the Arab villa in Tel Aviv.
As Uri reached his twelfth birthday, no one in his family told him that it was time for his Bar Mitzvah ceremony when a boy becomes a man and is formally accepted into the ancient religion of Judaism. But this did not interest him very much. Religion in Cyprus seemed to him very unattractive. The Orthodox Catholic Greeks were forever in riots with the Muslim Turks.
On the street where he lived there was a charming old Muslim scholar, Mustafa Sa'abud. He was called an 'Uluma by his fellow Turks, which meant that he was learned in the Koran and taught the young people from it. He seemed to take an interest in Uri for reasons unknown to Uri. When 'Uluma stopped Uri with a nice Turkish sweet, the two would chat in Greek.
The 'Uluma once asked Uri why he did not wear the Jewish skull cap, the yarmulke, like the other Jewish boys. Uri replied, "Wearing a cap will not make me a better Jew. Being a Jew is like being anyone else. All you have to do is believe in God. I believe in God."
'Uluma gently replied. "You are wise. To be a Muslim means the same thing. 'Muslim' means to 'submit to the will of Allah,' and 'Allah' is our word for God. This is the same as to believe in God. You know we Muslims and you Jews believe in the same God."
Uri hastily interrupted, "Then why are the Jews and the Arabs, who are Muslims, always fighting? My father has to fight with the Arabs all the time because they want to take our land and homes away from us!"
"My son," said 'Uluma with a tear welling in his eye, "your El and our Allah are one and the same. He always spoke to his people through his prophets. Our common ancestor and prophet is Abraham, and so is Moses. Jesus, whom the Greeks here in Cyprus worship, was a Jew who was rejected as a prophet by his own people. We Muslims accept Jesus, but not all the doctrine that Christians have added to his name. The next prophet that God spoke to was our Mohammed, who is not accepted by either the Christians or the Jews. You see, over the centuries these three faiths have at times fought each other, and at times have known peace. Did you know that the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims all consider Jerusalem to be a holy place?"
"No, I didn't. Tell me why this is so." Uri replied with an intensity that surprised the old man.
The 'Uluma slowly leaned back and lit his pipe as he got ready to tell a story.
"It all started with Abraham (whose name was Abram then), who was brought up in the very ancient city of Ur in what is now Iraq. Did you know that Ur is the most ancient word that we have for 'light' and that your name, 'Uri,' also means 'light' in Hebrew? Well, God came to Abraham and told him to leave his home in Haran, to carry out a job for God in the land that is now Palestine."
"What kind of a job could an ordinary man do for God?" interrupted Uri. "After all, God can do everything!"
"We don't know for sure what kind of a job, but our books, the Bible and the Koran, tell us that it was something very difficult and not easy to explain. God asked Abraham to enter into a covenant in which he would believe in Him and worship Him. If Abraham did all this and passed this covenant on to his descendants, there would eventually come the perfected man. Abraham entered into this covenant at Hebron, which is in Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.
"My son, I believe that it is the will and the compassion of Allah that all men love him, and love one another. I believe that another prophet shall arise whose task will be to lead all men back to the true love, the only God, for there is but one God. It is man who has made so many gods. My son, I am a Muslim, and you were born a Jew. Let us agree that there is one God who made man and that it is wrong for us to hate or to fight."
Uri looked at him thoughtfully. "Yes, I agree to try not to hate, or to fight, and I believe in God." Uri turned away and walked up the cobbled street to get Joker and to go to the caves.
One day about a year later Uri was in his attic room doing his homework when he heard a noise in the attic part that no one used.
He thought that maybe a bird had gotten trapped. He took a flashlight and gingerly stepped over the open rafters of the rooms below, seeking to find the bird. When he got to the far end, the sound had ceased, and he stood still for several minutes to listen for a bird. Suddenly, a door slammed in the room below. He heard voices. Light was coming up through the attic floor from the room below, right at his feet Slowly he lay down on the rafters, put his eyes to the crack, and listened.
The man doing most of the talking was a Jewish grain buyer, Joav Shacham, who stayed at the Ritz when he was in Cyprus. The other men were strangers to Uri. They were speaking in Hebrew. Joav was telling a man he called Amnon, "You will leave for the Sudan in two days. All of your credentials are prepared as Klaus Sachs. You will set up your agricultural equipment business in Khartoum.
Send all of your orders to Joel in Essen, Germany. He will ship out whatever you request. Max here will listen for all of your radio messages in Ethiopia. Remember, you have about six months in which to infiltrate the Egyptian Army through the Sudanese."
At these last words, Uri's heart began to pound. Were they talking about a spy operation, just like in the movies? The meeting lasted for another hour, and Uri heard more and more details of the spies' plans.
He figured out that these men were Israeli agents and they were using his stepfather's hotel as a base. He waited until the men had left Joav's room, and then he tiptoed back to his room.
He told no one of his discovery. But every time Joav came to Nicosia, which was quite often, Uri hung around him in the dining room. They got to be friends. Uri was puzzled because Joav didn't look like a spy. He was husky, about six feet two inches tall, and very powerful in build. He wore scholarly-looking glasses and had thick unruly hair. His clothes always looked rumpled. He looked like a grain buyer, but definitely not a spy. Uri got very clever about spying on the spy from the attic peephole. He did this for about six months. One day just he and Joav were playing basketball. Seeing that no one was around, Uri decided to broach the subject of spying to Joav.
"By the way, Joav," Uri started out casually, "how is Amnon doing in the agricultural equipment business in Khartoum?"
Joav stopped dribbling the ball he was getting ready to shoot. He looked around to see if anybody was within earshot. "Where did you learn about Amnon?" he asked grimly.
Uri laughed, "You would be surprised what I know, and how I know it!"
"Listen, Uri, let's take a walk to the hills. I want to talk to you."
They walked to the hills, not saying much.
Finally, when they sat on a hilltop looking down at Nicosia, Joav said, "All right, tell me how you know about Amnon."
Uri proudly told him how he had first accidentally overheard Joav's meeting and then how he had regularly spied on the spies. Joav listened thoughtfully and then addressed Uri. "Yes, I am a spy for Israel. But it is not what you think it is. It is a plain dirty hard job and no pay. Let me tell you why I do it, and hundreds of others risk their lives every day. You see, Uri, Israel is surrounded by enemies who boast every day that they will turn the sea red with Jewish blood. They mean what they say. We Jews will no longer wait, as we did in Europe, to be slaughtered like sheep. Our only hope of survival is to know every move that our enemy makes against us. If we find out that our enemy is going to strike, we must strike first in order to survive. That is why we were able to win the war in 1956. We knew the Egyptians were going to strike, and we caught them off balance by striking first. You, too, are a young Jew, and in a couple of years you will be in the Israeli Army. Your survival will depend on what our agents are doing in remote places scattered all over the world.
"Uri, I beg you, please keep what you know about my activities a secret. In fact, you have been so clever that I would like to have you work for me!"
Uri was really taken aback by Joav's offer. How could he be a spy? He was only sixteen years old. "But," he thought, "maybe if I find out something really big, I can help my father who is stuck in the Army in Israel. Father doesn't really know what the enemy is planning."
"Okay, Joav, I'll join you. What can I do? Should I have a code name?"
Joav smiled in relief at Uri's questions. "Well, I will have to work out a careful plan. But there is one job that is very important. You see, I get my mail from a postal box at the post office. The more I go there, the more likely it is that I will be spotted by enemy agents. So if you will go to the post office for me, you will save me from possible detection. I will see how well you do before I give you more dangerous jobs."
"Gee, that's exciting," said Uri. "How can I tell who are the enemy agents who are watching at the post office?"
"Well, I'll teach you how to do all that, and what to do if somebody tries to steal my mail, and how to steam open letters, and things like that."
Thus it was that Uri became a courier for an Israeli spy ring on Cyprus when he was sixteen years old. About a year later, after he had seen Joav come and go from the island many times, he was complimented by Joav for doing a good job. One of the things that Uri had to do was to deliver the letters he picked up to the Israeli consulate when Joav was not on the island. Joav said, "In about a year you will be old enough to serve in the Army. Men of your abilities are hard to find. I would like you to apply to the paratroopers when you enter the Army. I am sure that you will be accepted. When you finish your basic training, apply for the Officer's Candidate Training School. If you have any problems, look me up. You can always locate me through the Army."
This was an exciting prospect for Uri, and in his mind it became a commitment. He knew that if he did what Joav had suggested, he would be helping Joav as well as his country.
During his sixteenth year another event occurred that left a deep impression on Uri. It was true that he did not like his stepfather, although Ladislas was good to him. Sometimes in his boyish way, Uri would pout when Ladislas disciplined him. Then Ladislas unexpectedly died of a heart attack. The burden on Margarete was suddenly increased. Uri had mixed feelings. Partly guilt and partly relief. But he had to work harder and harder to help his mother run the small hotel. As his eighteenth birthday approached, there was heavy pressure on Jews to leave the island as the new government moved toward independence for Cyprus. Under these various pressures Margarete sold the small hotel at a sacrifice price, and she and Uri moved back to Tel Aviv.
By the fall of 1965 Uri was a soldier in the Israeli Army. He was now six feet two inches tall and weighed 180 pounds. He was quick, alert, and powerful. He volunteered for the paratroopers, passed all the qualifying tests, and began his rigorous training. After the eleventh month of his training and his acceptance into the class for Officer's Training, personal tragedy struck him. He picked up a newspaper and read that Major Joav Shacham had been killed in action during a border raid on the Jordanian frontier near a town called Es-Samu', just south of Hebron. He was deeply depressed. He had lost one of his best friends. Suddenly there was no meaning in his going on to Officer's Training School. He lost all interest in being proficient. And then another blow fell upon him. His dog Joker, who was living with his mother, was getting old and very ill. Uri took him to several veterinarians. They all told him that nothing could be done, that it would be best to put him away. Uri sadly left Joker with a veterinarian, and as he left the premises, he leaned against a fence and cried for both Joker and Joav.
Uri deliberately failed his final tests for officer's candidacy. He returned to paratrooper training in the desert. He pushed himself without mercy, sleeping on the ground in the sun, in the rain, in the freezing nights. He jumped out of planes, gathered up his chute, and went into mock battle. His bones ached, his muscles were sore, his skin was parched, his feet pained him, and his ears rang with gunfire. And always the paratroopers were told that next to the fighter pilots, they were the elite on whom the safety of Israel depended. They would be the first to be dropped into the hottest point of battle.
Two years later, by May 1967, Uri was as tough as Damascus steel. He was a sergeant, and he was so proud when he met with his father, who was a sergeant major, in different army camps, and they would swagger around together. But in May the paralyzing grip of a war threat settled over all of Israel. The tension for the Israeli civilians - mothers, wives, oldsters, and youngsters - became unbearable. A song, "Jerusalem of Gold," appeared on the radio and became the morale builder of the nation. War and war clouds hung over the Middle East once again.
Uri and his fellow soldiers got fidgety. Guns were cleaned and recleaned. Ammunition was counted, checked, packed, and unpacked. Parachutes were always being packed and then checked and rechecked. To relieve the tension all leaves to soldiers were continued as though an emergency did not exist.
Finally, at the predawn hour on June 1 the Israeli military machine acted on intelligence that the Egyptians were going to attack. The handful of Israeli fighter planes struck at every known Egyptian air base and in three hours destroyed the entire Egyptian Air Force. In the Sinai Desert there exploded one of the largest tank battles in human history. The Israelis attacked like a swarm of hornets sweeping enemy tanks out of the way.
When the war started, Uri was on leave in Tel Aviv visiting his mother. At 6 A.M. June 5 he hitchhiked to join his unit, which was held up for hours while a decision was being made as to where they should be thrown into battle. Finally, in the afternoon at 2 P.M. the order came that they were to join in the battle for Jerusalem led by Colonel Mordechai Gur.
Uri was relieved to know where they were going. As his truck roared toward Jerusalem, Uri thought of his father. Where was his unit? Did it go to the Sinai? Was his father going to the attack on Syria? What if he were sent to Jerusalem? It would be a miracle if he and his father could fight side by side, helping each other. If his father was hit, he would save his life! He prayed to God to save his father. He didn't need a yarmulke - he had a steel helmet on. Somehow it never occurred to him that anything would happen to him. His only concern was that his mother at home must be kept safe. He knew that his friend Joav had risked and lost his life so that Israel would know when to strike to protect itself.
The truck slowed down as the traffic got dense to the north of Jerusalem. Finally they were there. Heavy mortar fire was just ahead. The staccato machine-gun fire echoed all over the Jerusalem hills. The sun was going down, and Jerusalem lit up with a golden glow. It was the magical blush of the bride of God. The word was tersely whispered from soldier to soldier, "This year - Jerusalem!" It had been nineteen centuries since Israel had been dispossessed of its Holy of Holies.
Uri had a squad of eight men under him. The Arab Legion was fortressed in concrete pillboxes in this area north of Jerusalem. Every pillbox had to be assaulted by hand grenade, machine gun, and human bodies. Signals were worked out for spotting mortar and artillery fire.
During his first long night of battle, Uri never saw the enemy; it was a kind of impersonal fighting, with these holes in concrete staring out of walls. But as the day and the battle heated up, it was no longer impersonal. When they hit a pillbox, blood would splatter out of it. A voice would scream in anguish and keep screaming out of the bunker.
As the fever got stronger, the men became more reckless, and everyone was doing heroic deeds without notice or attention. By the next morning Uri had lost five of the eight men in his platoon. The replacements were slow in coming in. Uri pushed himself and his men. Ahead lay three bunkers, with the center one deeply protected by the two flankers. A combined assault was made on the three. Uri's group was to take the heavily protected center bunker. The bunker to Uri's right was being assaulted so heavily that the fire came out of it sporadically, and Uri was emboldened to move ahead more rapidly, firing his machine gun in bursts at those slits ahead. Suddenly there was a searing flame in both his arms. He looked down and saw the blood spurting. He got angry and rushed ahead, blazing at the bunker slits, while his men surged after him and crept under the bunker and silenced it with their grenades. As the realization of victory was certain to Uri, he slowly fell and pitched against the cold concrete wall.
Uri awoke the next day in a hospital. The doctor told him that machine-gun bullets had gone through both forearms, but no vital nerves or blood vessels had been seriously damaged. He would be back on duty within a few months. Uri went back to sleep. He awoke to find his father standing by his bed.
As Uri recovered from his arm wounds, he was sent to a rehabilitation center. Here the young people of Israel came each day to entertain and help the wounded. A young girl of sixteen, Hannah, came twice a week to the center; Uri was shyly attracted to her. She was a slender, medium-sized girl with flashing blue eyes and honey-blond hair. Joy seemed to bubble out of her, and she was always laughing. Uri began to date her.
Part of Uri's rehabilitation program was serving as a counselor at a summer camp for teen-age boys. One of his charges was a twelve-year-old boy whose name was Shimshon, but everyone called him Shipi. Shipi was tall and thin with an intense stork like head. His mother called him Gandhi with affection. He always seemed to be sniffing and sensing the air around him. He was powerfully attracted to the tall lean paratrooper with the bandaged arms. He hung around Uri so much that Uri could not ignore him. One evening after dinner Uri discovered that Hannah was Shipi's sister!
What these three had in common was an endless round of practical jokes. The laughter never ceased when they were together. When they were apart, each one noticed how quiet it was, because no one else stimulated them to laughter. Uri looked upon Shipi and Hannah as the brother and sister he had never had. One day Uri was moved to tell Shipi about the watch hands. He showed Shipi how he could move a watch's hands without touching the watch. Shipi did not laugh; he believed Uri implicitly. Uri had not done the watch "trick" for years. He noticed that he didn't need a lot of kids around now. He wondered why it was so easy to do when Shipi was around.
The summer ended, Shipi and Hannah had to return to school. Uri was assigned to duty tracing army deserters all over Israel. By the end of 1968 he was honorably discharged from active duty and now faced civilian life, but all he knew were some languages and soldiering.
Uri found a job as an export manager for a textile firm in Tel Aviv. This fancy title meant that he got the purchase orders from abroad written in English, Greek, or Hungarian, and filled the orders. Life was dull. He saw Hannah and Shipi when their school time permitted. He was restless. To make some more money, he found he could take assignments as a photographer's model.
In October 1969 Shipi begged Uri to come to his school and do his "tricks" for his class. Uri reluctantly agreed when the teacher also invited him and promised to pay him fifteen pounds. Uri appeared in the small school auditorium for his first public appearance. He had watched entertainers in the Army, and he had a feeling for what to say. Once on the stage, he pretended that he was addressing Shipi, and everything then proceeded smoothly. He had children draw pictures and numbers on the blackboard, and while blindfolded he would guess what they had written. Once he got started, it just seemed to go on and on without effort. He went on doing his "tricks" for three hours. Everyone was enchanted, including the teacher. Uri had no idea of how he did his "tricks." They just came forth spontaneously and naturally without his ever having done them or practiced them before.
But Shipi was the one who was the most proud. He kept telling Uri how great he was and that he should go on the stage. In the next few months Shipi went around the neighborhood telling everyone what a "genius" Uri was. So now in addition to his job as export manager, Uri was doing modeling work and demonstrating in homes and at private parties. During the shows he enjoyed being in front of people, but as soon as his show was over, he had to retreat. He couldn't enjoy being close to people, except for Hannah and Shipi. By January 1970 he was getting small notices in the newspapers for his telepathic and mind-over-matter feats.
In March 1970 he was approached by a theatrical manager who advised him to quit his job and become a full-time entertainer. The manager was persuasive, and Uri did his first professional stage show in a movie theater, Kolno'ah, in Bat Yam. In two months he had become a sensation in Israel. In June 1970 he did his first college show for some of the graduating class of the Technion Institute in Haifa.