Rain blinds psychic to Falkirk battle site

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URI Geller took his eye off the ball yesterday when - due to unforeseen circumstances - bad weather hampered his attempt to solve a mystery of even greater national significance than Gary McAllister’s botched penalty against You-Know-Who during Euro ’96.

The spoon-bending psychic claimed it was the power of his mind that caused the ball to "move" just as the Scotland captain took the crucial spot kick against England.

McAllister missed and the rest, as they say, is history.

But, yesterday, Geller was applying his mind to the more ancient history of another encounter between Scotland and England which resulted in a convincing away win for the Auld Enemy.

The Battle of Falkirk, in 1298, one of the biggest and bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, was Edward I’s revenge on William Wallace for the patriot’s defeat of the English army at Stirling Bridge the year before.

For centuries, the precise location of the battlefield has baffled local historians, one of whom believed Geller was the man to find the spot. After weeks of studying maps, the psychic was due to fly over the area in a helicopter, but the flight was grounded by appalling weather.

He said: "Some psychic! I should have predicted that."

Unable to fly, Geller, 55, did what any self-respecting psychic would do. He got in his car, invaded a woman’s home in Stenhousemuir, bent one of her spoons and suggested her back garden had links to the court of King Arthur.

Charlotte Scott was impressed, offered Geller some tea and sent him on his way in search of William Wallace’s only defeat in the Wars of Independence.

Historians know the battle was fought on 2 July, 1298, in a quadrant measuring eight miles by four, with the modern town of Falkirk at its centre.

There are 17 possible sites in the frame but as there are no surviving Scottish documents, it has been impossible to precisely identify the site.

Geller, accompanied by John Walker, a historian, visited five of the sites and the psychic picked up the strongest "vibes" around Carmuirs, near Camelon.

Current historical thinking suggests the battle was fought further east, but Mr Walker said it was a "very viable site".

He added: "It wouldn’t be the first choice of archaeologists, but it could certainly be the place. Uri doesn’t know it, but it is included in the literature."

Geller examined the area measuring four acres by running his hands over the ground.

He said: "I have an enormous sense that the battle took place here. I sense the graves of thousands of men.

"I get the feeling the Scots concentrated by ancient Roman ruins.

"But to be certain, I will have to see it from the air.

"It is how I work. I will come back, fly over it on a sunny day and put my mark on the spot.

"I hope to be able to accurately pinpoint a mass grave, which the archaeologists can get at."

Mr Walker’s unconventional contribution to local history was prompted by a website he found. The website indicated that Geller had, against all the odds, successfully identified a spot, off the coast of England, where a prototype 19th-century submarine had sunk.

He said: "When Uri told the experts where it was, they said it was impossible. But when they examined the area, Uri was correct to within several metres.

"I thought if he can find that, under water, he could surely locate the Battle of Falkirk.

"It’s been a very interesting experiment. Uri has a strong feeling about Carmuirs."

In the near future, when Geller has made a final determination, the historians will move in.

However, they do not expect to find remains because bodies would have been denigrated by the area’s acid soil.

Mr Walker added: "What we would find, though, are the pits where the bodies were placed. There is no chance of finding weapons or clothes."

After the battle, weapons, clothing and valuables such as metal and wood would have stripped from the bodies by local people.

He said: "It was a very significant battle. Edward was determined to avenge the defeat at Stirling Bridge the year before.

"Edward I had an army of 3,000 cavalry and archers, double the number of the Scots."

Wallace was heavily defeated in the battle which was one of the biggest and bloodiest ever fought on British soil.