Mentally bending cutlery or aluminum bars has been informally tested many times in so-called PK parties, a lighthearted party game originally designed by Jack Houck, an aeronautical engineer. These parties were originally stimulated by displays of apparent psychokinetic “spoon bending” in the 1970s by the Israeli psychic Uri Geller. This phenomenon has been studied a few times under quasi-controlled circumstances, and in my opinion, it seems like something interesting may be going on. However, because there are many clever ways of bending metal using conjuring techniques, from a scientific perspective the evidence is insufficient and so the jury is out.

That said, if I were forced to decide whether it was possible to bend metal for real, without using blunt force or conjuring methods, then I would say yes, it is possible. I’ve seen it performed up close both by magicians who were faking it, and by ordinary people who were not faking it. If I only had those two categories of evidence on which to base my decision, I would be less certain. But I’ve also done it myself, and I know that what I did wasn’t a trick.

Here’s what happened: I was attending a PK party with the intention of carefully watching a woman who claimed to have previously bent the bowl of a soup spoon. I too was holding a large, heavy soup spoon, mimicking her hand movements to get a better feel for what she might have been doing.

While watching her intensely, I heard someone shout, “Look what you’ve done!” I looked up to see what the commotion was about, and someone said no, look at what I had done. I had somehow bent the bowl of the spoon I was holding about 90 degrees. I immediately checked my congers to see if I had unconsciously used force, because it would have taken an enormous effort to create that bend and the effort would have left clear indentations on my fingers. There were no signs of force.

Then someone shouted, “Bend it all the way!”

To my surprise the bowl felt soft, like putty, so I pinched it with a thumb and forefinger. After the bowl folded over, it stiffened, and within a few seconds it became as hard as steel. The spoon felt cool to the touch, the bent portion was shiny smooth, and there were no signs of metal fatigue. I still have that spoon sitting on my shelf; it mocks me every time I glance at it, and it reminds me about a peculiar experience that I might have otherwise suppressed.

Later I tested if I could achieve the same bend on the same model spoon without causing damage to my fingers or hands. I couldn’t budge it, regardless of how hard I tried. I suppose it’s possible that metal can behave strangely under certain conditions that might be catalyzed by handling, but I’ve never seen a piece of cutlery act that way in ordinary use, from freezing cold to boiling hot, or with shallow or heavy pressure. Nor have I been able to repeat the effect. So I can’t explain how this happened, nor do I present it as evidence for macro-PK. But it did happen.