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Spoon Bending

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Good luck with that soup.

"Do not try and bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth ... there is no spoon. Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
Spoon Boy, The Matrix

Spoon Bending is arguably the most common way of demonstrating Mind over Matter next to making Your Head A-Splode. And much less messy.

The art of spoon bending is the deformation of objects, especially metal cutlery, either without the use of physical force, or with less force than would normally seem necessary. It is a common form of stage magic, and a variety of methods are used to produce the illusion.

Spoon bending attracted considerable media attention in The '70s when some people claimed to have the ability to cause such events by paranormal psychic means. The most notable was Uri Geller, who performed by bending metal spoons as well as metal keys and several other objects and materials. Geller's performances were attributed to stage magic by critics such as James Randi and Martin Gardner.

While spoon bending in real life is an art based around misdirection, simply convincing the observer that the spoon is moving, pop culture has come to associate bending spoons as a technique among those with Psychic Powers. Spoons are small enough to grasp, common enough to find and are easy enough to bend with physical force, so it stands to reason that utensils like the common spoon would make a harmless psychokinetic demonstration.

Has nothing to do with Ate the Spoon, Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon, Funny Spoon, Greasy Spoon and Spoonerism. This also has nothing to do with another secret bending art.


    open/close all folders 

  • An add for Timex had a psychic bending a key and a spoon, but being unable to stop the advertised watch. According to The Other Wiki, Uri Geller took offense and tried to sue!

    Anime & Manga 
  • The titular character of The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is able to do this, but he'd rather not. This is both because he doesn't like standing out, and because it makes the spoons harder to eat with.
  • In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Torhu and Kanna try to pull this off after seeing a man do it on television, but ultimately fail. They become convinced there's something deeper to it and engage in Training from Hell to try and discover the secret, before Kobayashi finally steps in and tells them how it's done.
  • The titular Mob of Mob Psycho 100 tends to do this accidentally when he's eating, mainly thanks to his ludicrously powerful esper abilities that he sometimes doesn't have complete control over. His younger brother Ritsu helps him out by repairing the spoon with his bare hands, once he gets esper abilities of his own he fixes the spoons up quickly with his own telekinesis. Their parents don't seem the least bit bothered by these events and chalk it up to just boys being boys, although seeing Ritsu start using psychic abilities does confuse their father for a moment.
  • Fumiaki Uchida from Occult Academy developed psychokinetic abilities at a young age, it first manifesting when he was mentally able to bend spoons, only to lose such an ability when his mother denied him a normal life because of it.
  • Pokémon
    • Mewtwo, an incredibly powerful psychic Pokémon from Pokémon Adventures, is shown to wield a massive spoon. It's made of Mewtwo's own psychic energy.
    • Pokémon: The Original Series: In the episode "Abra and the Psychic Showdown", many of the psychics in Sabrina's gym are shown to be practicing their psychic abilities by trying (to limited effect) to bend spoons. One such psychic tries demonstrating this to Ash, Brock and Misty with great difficulty. For some reason, Ash was unimpressed, then bent a spoon with his hands and boasted his method was better.
      Ash: Hah! Muscle over mind!
      Misty: Embarrassing.
      Brock: Just pretend we never met him before.
    • A flashback to Sabrina's childhood has her bending all the cutlery on the rack before shattering the rack itself with her immense power.

    Film - Live Action 
  • In an iconic scene in The Matrix, the unreality of the matrix is properly demonstrated to Neo when a boy mentally bends a spoon. Neo's successful attempt at doing so is the first time Neo learns to manipulate the world around him.
  • When the protagonist family from Poltergeist discover that all of their cutlery has been distorted at the beginning of the movie, that is their (and the viewer's) first clue that the house is being haunted. Of course, everything gets downhill from there.

  • In The Also People, the Doctor claims that he once attempted the universe record for continuous spoon-playing, but was sabotaged by a telekinetic who kept bending his instruments.
  • Spoonbenders is named after the practice, and Teddy bends a key to try to impress Maureen, his future wife.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A skit on A Bit of Fry and Laurie had Stephen Fry interviewing Hugh Laurie as a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Uri Geller who bends a spoon between his hands.
    Stephen: Well, I could bend a spoon with my hands.
    Hugh: I never claimed that my powers are unique! Always, I stress that anybody can bend a spoon! And my book is not expensive, by the way.
  • Doctor Who: Referenced in "The Pirate Planet" (written during Uri Geller's heyday), when the Doctor needs to maintain a distinctive mental image so that a psychic ally can keep track of his location, and chooses the image of a bent fork.
    Romana: Why should anyone want to bend a fork?
    Doctor: I haven't the vaguest idea.
  • Fast Forward. A skit parodying Uri Geller had him eventually resorting to an oxy-acytelene torch to get the spoon to bend.
  • Mystery Hunters: Discussed and potentially subverted in one episode. Araya investigates whether it is possible to bend spoons using the mind and attends a workshop dedicated to learning on how to bend forks, spoons and knives. While Araya is able to bend a fork and his classmates get very noticeable bends with their objects after getting instructions from the teacher (such as telling them to think of a frivolous animal while trying to bend), it is noted that they were bending the objects with their hands and that suggestions from other, as well as what the individual wants, can influence the mind to move the muscles. Thus, psychic powers might not have had any role in it.
  • In the Supernatural episode "The Mentalists", Sam and Dean investigate the death of two alleged psychics in Lily Dale, New York, the "most psychic town in America." While prop spoons are commonly seen in the episode - used as souvenirs and props for fake psychics - utensils bending on their own occurs whenever the Monster of the Week the ghost of an actual psychic looms nearby.
  • An episode of That's So Raven has Raven and her friends meet a group of psychics—one of them is a classic spoonbender.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978). In "War of the Gods", Commander Adama attributes many of Count Iblis "miracles" to Psychic Powers, saying that even he can bend a spoon or two and move small items across a table if he concentrates hard enough.
  • Subverted for laughs in one episode of Win Ben Stein's Money, when Jimmy introduced Ben as "a man whose mind is so powerful, he can bend a spoon with his bare hands."

    Video Games 
  • Anna's Quest: Anna’s Psychic Powers are used first time on spoon to bend it.
  • The Battle Cats: Psychocat bends metal when excited, and tosses a bent spoon with psychic power to attack. The unit’s description mentions that he loves cereal, but always ends up with a useless spoon before he can eat.
  • In EarthBound Beginnings, one NPC in Magicant has a spoon he wants someone to bend back into shape. Ninten does it with his PSI powers.
  • One King of Fighters manga has Athena Asamiya do this to a spoon while the USA Sports team struggle to bend theirs to no avail. The image in reference is shown here.
  • Pokémon:
    • Kadabra and Alakazam from Generation I — two particularly iconic Psychic-type Pokemon — each wield spoons. Their Signature Move is Kinesis, which reduces the target's accuracy by bending spoons to confound them. Kadabra's Japanese name Yungeller is a corruption of the aforementioned Uri Geller, which got it into legal trouble.
    • In Generation IV onward, the item Twisted Spoon can be used to increase the power of Psychic-type attacks when held by a Pokémon.
    • This is taken up to eleven with Alakazam's Mega Evolution in Pokémon X and Y. Mega Alakazam has a whole swarm of spoons it manipulates in battle.
    • In Pokémon Sword and Shield, the logo for Psychic type on the futbol-like Pokemon League uniforms has two spoons twisted around each other.
  • Ford Cruller from Psychonauts occasionally refers to the Psychic Children that attends the camp as "spoonbenders."
    Ford Cruller: This training facility is built smack on top of the largest Psitanium deposit known to man. It runs under this whole valley and makes this a very critical area for Psychonauts, so I'm here to look after it. And to make sure you little "spoonbenders" don't kill each other.
    • Played literally in Loboto's backstory, revealed in Rhombus of Ruin. As a child, Loboto's mother found all of her spoons bent and twisted, and angrily reveals the source to her husband.
    'Mother: I caught him red-handed! Except he wasn't using his hands!

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Mob Psycho 100:
    • A Running Gag is that Mob has trouble eating soup, since he always subconciously bends his spoons with his mind. When he gets upset while talking about things over dinner, his power makes them fall over limp. His brother Ritsu usually fixes or replaces them.
    • Ritsu discovers his powers at the Awakening Lab, where he thought he was the only member with no powers at all until a burst of anger caused three spoons to twist together into a gnarled mess. He then became the single strongest esper in the group, and his help led the rest to improve their less-than-impressive abilities.

    Web Originals 
  • Several Chuck Norris Facts go like this: "[Insert a famous psychic's name here] can bend spoons with his mind. Chuck Norris can bend [psychic's name] with his."
  • SCP-463 "A Spoon That Bends People" from SCP Foundation is a spoon that bends people's spines backwards by 90 degrees when it's picked up, acting as a playful inversion of the trope.
  • Google Japanese Input's 2019 April Fools' Day joke was an input device based on bending a spoon.

    Western Animation 
  • In Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer is tempting Spunky with a Fatheads-brand chewable vitamin by asking him to perform common dog tricks, the last of which is bending a spoon with his thoughts.
  • Spoofed in Spliced: Entree attempts to twist a utensil, but ends up twisting everything around but it. Peri counts the test as a fail.
  • El Cucharon (Spanish for "The Big Spoon") from El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera was a villain with the power to manipulate spoons. Mocked for his supposedly useless power, he became a super villain. However, with counseling from Manny's mother Maria, El Cucharon becomes reformed and uses his spoon-based powers to save the day.

    Real Life 
  • When Uri Geller first came to prominence in The '70s and demonstrated his putative skill on TV in Great Britain, the watching audience was invited to join in. Indicating something interesting was going on, (or possibly demonstrating the extreme gullibility of the British TV viewing public), the BBC's switchboards were inundated with calls from viewers alleging not only spoons bending to order, but also anomalies like long-stopped clocks springing into life again, or else clocks and watches inexplicably stopping at the very instant of Geller putting out the 'fluence. Either way - genuine paranormal event, mass gullibility, or people misinterpreting wholly coincidental events - it provided lots of material for publications like Fortean Times to fill space with. (FT still deals with spoon-bending, under the general headings of things like parapsychology, telekinesis and poltergeist activity). Geller was eventually caught rigging the spoons by bending them back and forth until metal fatigue set in, to the point that they could subtly be pushed with the tip of the thumb as a slight-of-hand trick. He also was never able to bend a spoon that was offered by someone else and usually refused to do so. He also tried to sue Nintendo for use of his likeness with the Pokémon Kadabra and Alakazam, claiming they were based on him and the symbols on their bodies (actually taken from Zener cards) were occult Nazi symbols used to defame him. The suit lasted from 1999 to 2017 before finally being dismissed.
  • The Bent Spoon Award is an award given by the paranormal and pseudoscientific investigating organizations Australian Skeptics and NZ Skeptics to those who are "perpetrator[s] of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle." While there is an actual, physical award that exists, there is only one in existence (having claimed to have been made from wood from Noah's Ark and a spoon from the last supper to Troll winners) and the winners are only allowed to possess the award for themselves if they acquire it through supernatural means. Naturally, no one has accomplished this task.


Video Example(s):


"There is no spoon."

In an iconic scene in The Matrix, the unreality of the matrix is properly demonstrated to Neo when a boy mentally bends a spoon. Neo's successful attempt at doing so is the first time Neo learns to manipulate the world around him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpoonBending

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