No less than The Wall Street Journal published this article that was on page 1 today. What is the world coming to?
AUGUST 23, 2010
Uri Geller's Mind-Bender: Egyptian Loot in Scotland
He Claims an Island He Owns Is Stuffed With It; Neighbors Dubious
By JAMES HOOKWAY
NORTH BERWICK, Scotland—When Uri Geller saw a rocky lump off Scotland's eastern coast was for sale a couple of years ago, the famed spoon-bender says he knew he had to have it.
"I didn't know why. I was somehow drawn to it," Mr. Geller recalls. He put in a successful £30,000, or about $46,000, offer.
Today, the 63-year-old paranormalist says he now understands why he bought the uninhabited, 100 yard-by-50 yard Lamb Island. Buried inside, he says, is an Egyptian treasure including relics supposedly brought there by a pharaoh's daughter some 3,500 years ago.
Mr. Geller was once one of the most famous people in the world in the 1970s, regularly appearing on television and baffling audiences with his spoon-bending exploits. He continues to draw a crowd, and his sudden interest in "The Lamb," as it's known locally, is raising eyebrows among skeptical Scots.
Tales of Scotland's ties to ancient Egypt date back to the 15th century, but many regard them as a bit of nonsense. According to the legend, King Tutankhamen's half-sister, Princess Scota, fell out with her family and fled to Ireland and then Scotland, thereby giving the country its name. Some say the alignment of the Lamb and two nearby islands closely mirrors the layout of the pyramids at Giza, near Cairo, not to mention the three main stars in the Orion's Belt constellation.
"Tosh!" says Edinburgh-based historian and author Stuart McHardy. Mr. McHardy and other historians reckon the Egyptian connection evolved to provide Scotland with a fresh identity while English invaders were claiming the whole British Isles were named after Brutus, a Roman consul supposedly descended from the Trojan hero Aeneas.
"That, of course, meant we had to have an equally 'ancient' story," Mr. McHardy says.
Many locals in the nearby town of North Berwick are baffled by the island's new-found historical provenance. Previously, the salt-sprayed area was best known for witch trials in the 1590s and its sandy beaches, which Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have recreated in his novel "Treasure Island."
The Egyptian treasure "isn't even an old fisherman's tale," says Graham Kinniburgh, manager of a wine and whisky store on the town's main street. He sells malt whiskies named after three other local islands, but not Mr. Geller's Lamb.
"Before Uri came along I don't think anybody had ever heard of all this Egyptian stuff," says 55-year-old Drew McAdam, who grew up in North Berwick idolizing Mr. Geller. Inspired by Mr. Geller's 1973 performance on the British Broadcasting Corp., Mr. McAdam himself now travels Britain and Europe bending spoons and performing other feats.
Mr. Geller got interested in the Lamb in 2008, when he saw on the Internet that it was for sale, and the idea of owning an island appealed to him. Not even the island's status as a protected seabird colony ruffles his feathers: Mr. Geller is a vegetarian.
Buying property in Scotland, however, wasn't all plain sailing. Some Scots best know the Israeli-born Mr. Geller, who lives in England, for claiming to determine the outcome of a Scotland versus England soccer match in 1996 by using his telekinetic powers to nudge the ball just as Scotland's captain was about to strike a penalty kick. Scotland lost the game. "I received around 11,000 hate mails for that," Mr. Geller says.
Now that Mr. Geller is the best-known landowner in this corner of Scotland, 26 miles east of the capital, Edinburgh, he is eager to improve his reputation.
On his first trip to North Berwick in March, Mr. Geller ran up a local landmark, a 613-foot-tall hill called "The Law," in a bid to endear himself to locals.
He then lunched on a baked potato with ketchup at the Scottish Seabird Center. He impressed staff by apparently using his mental powers to bend some teaspoons, several of which are still in drawers in the center's kitchen.
In the evening, he gave another performance, at one point producing mustard seeds that suddenly sprouted when he handed them to a member of the audience. "He had everybody eating out of his hand," says Lynda Dalgliesh, who works at the center.
"He made a big impression on everybody, even my mother," says Mr. McAdam, who Mr. Geller invited to perform.
The next day, Mr. Geller chugged the ten minutes to the island on a fishing boat to spend a night on the Lamb, among tens of thousands of seabirds and an English adventurer. "It was excruciatingly cold, with not a single flat spot to lay a sleeping bag," Mr. Geller says.
Some local businesses are beginning to wake up to the island's allure since Mr. Geller turned up. Some boat operators, for instance, take tourists around the Lamb and recount folklore surrounding the island.
"A wee bit of bulls— doesn't hurt anybody," says Dougie Ferguson, a 52-year-old skipper.
Another skipper, Cameron Small, says Mr. Geller's purchase has generated enough interest for him to advertise trips around "Uri Geller's Lamb Island."
For his next trick, Mr. Geller hopes to really astonish the locals by locating the ancient trinkets he thinks are buried within the volcanic rock of the Lamb.
Using dowsing—a technique Mr. Geller says he previously used to detect oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico—he reckons he has pin-pointed a place on his island where treasure might be buried.
He hopes to excavate if he can secure permission from the Scottish authorities—and only if it doesn't offend the Lamb's legions of gulls, cormorants and shags.
Rob Sinclair at the local council's planning department says Mr. Geller doesn't need legal approval to dig on his land. "But he might like to talk to our Council archaeologist about whether it would be worth his time and energy," Mr. Sinclair says.
"I'm certain there are ancient Egyptian artifacts there," Mr. Geller says. "It's only a matter of time until we find them."
And if there wasn't any treasure on the Lamb before, there is now. Mr. Geller says he has strengthened the island's mystical powers by burying a crystal orb that once belonged to Albert Einstein.
There are several different versions of the story of how Scota came to Scotland. Many versions agree that (1) an Egyptian princess was involved (2) Scota was what she was called - a title of some sort - but her name has been lost to history and (3) the Scythians or Scythia is involved.
Scotland's Namesake - from Carothers-Carruthers.com (an interesting genealogy website devoted to the Carothers and Carruthers families in America and Scotland)
Scota: Namesake of Scotland - from ufodigest.com - yes, I know I know, LOL! But actually the article is quite factual, setting forth several different versions of the Scota legend.
Scotland's Past Links with Ancient Egypt - sacredconnections.co.uk