by Andrew K. Arnett

What are we to make of a conversation that famed psychic Uri Geller claims to have had with John Lennon back in the 70s regarding UFOs and an encounter with alien mantids?

According to Geller, the conversation took place in 1974 at a restaurant in New York City. Yoko Ono was present. They talked on domesticity, parenthood and Yoko’s pregnancy with Sean. Then the conversation took a turn for the weird.

Geller said that Lennon ushered him to another, more private table in the back, away from patrons, where John lit a cigarette and said, “You believe in this stuff, right? Well, you ain’t f@ckin’ gonna believe this.”

According to Geller, Lennon recounted a strange tale of an encounter with alien beings, saying:

“About six months ago, I was asleep in my bed, with Yoko, at home, in the Dakota Building. And suddenly, I wasn’t asleep. Because there was this blazing light round the door. It was shining through the cracks and the keyhole, like someone was out there with searchlights, or the apartment was on fire. That was what I thought — intruders, or fire. I leapt out of bed, and Yoko wasn’t awake at all, she was lying there like a stone, and I pulled open the door. There were these four people out there.”

Geller, trying to keep it light, inquired wether they may have been Beatles fans. No stranger to the weird, Geller was nonetheless stunned by John’s reply.

“Well they didn’t want my f@ckin’ autograph. They were, like, little. Bug-like. Big bug eyes and little bug mouths and they were scuttling at me like roaches.”

Uri Geller

Lennon had kept this strange tale to himself, telling no one but Yoko and one other person. Initially, Yoko thought John was high.

“I was straight that night,” he claimed. “I wasn’t dreaming and I wasn’t tripping. There were these creatures, like people but not like people, in my apartment.”

“I tried to throw them out,” John continued, “but, when I took a step towards them, they kind of pushed me back. I mean, they didn’t touch me. It was like they just willed me. Pushed me with willpower and telepathy.”

Lennon told Geller he couldn’t recall much else, believing that he either forgot or that his memory was blocked out. He said next thing he knew, he was lying in bed next to Yoko, holding a metallic egg-shaped object in his hand.

Geller inquired as to what it was. Lennon reached into his pocket and pulled out the object, explaining, “I’ve been carrying it round ever since, wanting to ask somebody the same question. You have it. Maybe you’ll know.”

Geller examined the object and said “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Lennon told him, “Keep it. It’s too weird for me. If it’s my ticket to another planet, I don’t want to go there.”

There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s start with the aliens in question. Lennon’s description, that the aliens that harassed him at the Dakota were, “Bug-like. Big bug eyes and little bug mouths and they were scuttling at me like roaches,” is reminiscent of the insectoid alien races.

The Greys of the Zeta Reticuli star system are the most common type of alien encountered, and they have a distinctly insect-like caste to them. Greys are sometimes said to be accompanied, and often directed, by a more advanced class of aliens, known as Mantids.

Portrait of encounter with alien mantis by artist David Huggins

Mantids have a more direct resemblance to an insect, to whit, a praying mantis. Mantids are an interesting and particularly disturbing sub-genre of the alien phenomenon. They are often associated with abduction scenarios, with many abductees having recalled waking up from  a deep sleep to find two huge insect eyes staring at them. This would bug anyone out, even a former member of the Beatles colony.

Mantids are often seen wearing long robes with distinct colors, generally considered to signify rank, while others are unclothed. Mantids are reported to posses advanced technology as well as strong telepathic powers and tend to communicate with humans via telepathy.

We might wonder why Lennon would divulge such sensitive personal information to Geller, who he had just met? Even more so, why would he just flat out give Geller that rare and valuable gift bestowed upon him by the aliens?

Indeed, Geller has been debunked, deconstructed and dismantled magnificently many times over, most notably in the book The Truth About Uri Geller by James Randi, which explores Geller’s brand of magic, like spoon bending, as sleight of hand.

Geller’s account of his encounter with Lennon may best be taken with a pinch of salt.

On the other hand, Geller is world renowned in the paranormal field. His reputation was as such that even the CIA approached him for his expertise in matters of national security.

Geller told the Washington Post that he had worked with the CIA in the early 1970s after they approached him once they had become concerned that “there were people like me in Russia. There was a woman there who could move things with her mind, and they were concerned.”

Recently declassified CIA documents state that:

“The objective of this group of experimental sessions is to verify Geller’s apparent paranormal perception under carefully controlled conditions and to head toward an understanding of the physical and psychological variables underlying his apparent ability.”

This was not the first time John Lennon encountered a UFO. The other encounter took place later that year on August 23rd, 1974.

“I was lying naked on my bed, when I had this urge,” he recalled to Andy Warhol’s Interview. “So I went to the window, just dreaming around in my usual poetic frame of mind. … There, as I turned my head, hovering over the next building, no more than 100 feet away was this thing with ordinary electric light bulbs flashing on and off round the bottom, one non-blinking red light on top.”

At this time, Lennon was separated from Yoko Ono. He was dating May Pang. May Pang was in the apartment with him at the time, and Lennon called Pang out to confirm his sighting. She has said, regarding the incident:

“As I walked out onto the terrace, my eye caught this large, circular object coming towards us. It was shaped like a flattened cone, and on top was a large, brilliant red light, not pulsating as on any of the aircraft we’d see heading for a landing at Newark Airport.”

“When it came a little closer, we could make out a row or circle of white lights that ran around the entire rim of the craft—these were also flashing on and off. There were so many of these lights that it was dazzling to the mind.”

The two took Polaroid pictures of the event but nothing came out.

On the album art for Walls and Bridges, Lennon wrote, “On the 23rd Aug. 1974 at 9 o’clock I saw a U.F.O.”