p o s s i b i l i t i e s

Are our limitations all in the mind? Janet Wright investigates

Anything is possible,' says Diana Gazes, television presenter, futurist and teacher of what she calls 'twenty-first century technology'. Remember Uri Geller, who launched a thousand sceptics when he turned cutlery into spaghetti-shapes on television? Diana Gazes teaches people to do it, on her US television show Gazes into the future and in classes around the world.
The crowd packed into a hall at Regents College want to see magic. Some have brought their own cutlery, others pick up a handful from a pile on the floor. Two Health and Fitness staff members join them, testing spoons and forks for any signs of doctoring. Diana Gazes arrives, in a creamy cool suit and a warm smile, exuding ability.
'Who thinks they're going to be the only person in the room who can't do it?' she asks. Several hands go up including mine. I don't know about being the only one, but I have a realistic view of my capacities: if I'd been able to weave metal I'd probably have noticed before now.
The audience follows Gazes through a series of breathing exercises and guided visualisations, culminating in the moment when we visualise a powerful light coming down into our heads - keeping in time with the video of Gazes's

audience apparently did the trick in front of cameras. We imagine the power coming down or fork knows what to do. I try one last control test, pressing the fork between my thumbs so I remember how it feels in case it later seems to bend. But the fork collapses in my hand, bent double . It feels so normal I forget that I couldn't bend it with all my strength an hour before, and hold it up tentatively asking, 'Like this?'.
'There's one', Diana yells, pointing at my hairpin-shaped fork. The video audience is yelling and waving bent cutlery, then people in the London audience are saying, 'Oh, look' at the metal sculptures forming under their fingers.
Enthralled, I mould loops and twists in a series of pieces, noticing that natural laws still operate: the heavier the cutlery the harder it is to move; the neck is easiest to bend while prongs are more resistant, especially to pull sideways. Despite this several people are turning their forks into delicate flower shapes, petals splaying out from the head. 
It doesn't feel like a question of strength. For a few seconds the metal seems to stop resisting and become as flexible as  rubber. Sometimes it's much more malleable than others, for no reason that I can work out - but then I don't know why the hell it's bending in the first place. It's easier to do

proved by the cutlery-sculptures now decorating my desk. For Gazes, these are just a by-product. She believes her techniques have practical applications. Just as athletes and bodybuilders use visualisation methods to reach their goals by focusing on them more clearly, she believes these can be used in everyday life - even to heal disease.
'Metal-bending is a metaphor,' says Gazes. It's a way of getting past our tendency to believe that we can't do things, so it's not worth trying. Once you've turned a fork into a corkscrew, sorting out your life seems like a cinch. You start to wonder what else the mind can do.
The sky's the limit, according to Diana Gazes. Business people apparently use her techniques to double sales figures while others claim to heal their own illnesses. That's Gazes' main concern. The spoon- is just to convince people they have powers they don't normally use. She wants people to take control of their vast unused potential in order to heal themselves and enjoy their lives more.
It's difficult to get a scientific explanation. 'I don't know any metallurgists who take that sort of thing seriously,' sniffs one.
Author Guy Lyon Playfair, after years of research, says, 'No one has the faintest idea how it works. There's a lot of talk these days about scalar energy: the idea that there's energy in the universe that's not measurable because it's not moving. The theory is that some people can tap into it and it interacts with the human mind.' He connects this with the way very successful people seem to reach the top by focusing on what they want - 'It's the ones who don't make it who become sceptics,' he adds.
Metals expert Dr Harvey of Imperial College London, who has Investigated the phenomenon and who examined my pieces,

 

television show on which she and a sceptical through our arms. In a moment we're meant to bring  it through our hands into the cutlery we're holding and yell 'Bend, bend, bend!' so the  spoon

 with other people - even if they're in a video - and about  85 per cent of the audience achieves it. The metal hardens again straight afterwards and cannot be forced back to its original shape, as

 

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Copyright 1997 Janet Wright
Last modified: July 2005