Both sides believe they are right, and both cite hearsay evidence. The only real fact is that whether he could or could not does not affect our training, as we are not teaching or being taught how to dodge bullets now. What is more relevant than what O'Sensei achieved is what we can achieve.
Hi Clark, good point.
I have been for years in agreement with this point of view. But I've started to re-evaluate in recent years. What I thought was practical for me to be learning right now has changed because of a change in what I think is acheivable. What I have learned in recent years, on these forums and in books like HIPS, regarding aiki (internal strength and skill), makes me feel that much of what people like O-sensei have said (or written) are allegorical descriptions of the way of self-perfection that he felt was the heart of his art.
If someone wants to describe something that seems like fantasy, their descriptions will probably sound like fantasy, whether they go the factual route or the allegorical route.
Now, whether dodgeing bullets is allegorical or not, I don't know. (The story as I understand really could be metaphorical: the white ball that precedes the bullet's physical presence is a nice description of being able to feel the intent of an opponent that is trying to apply atemi, since intent precedes movement)
Also, did Gozo Shioda really write Aikido Shugyo or any of his books? (as opposed to students putting on paper his teachings or their impressions thereof)