An Evening with
James Van Praagh
By Michele Gibson
James Van Praagh is a "survival evidence medium," meaning he is able to bridge the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and the dead, by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages. His very natural, easy-going style would lead you to believe that Van Praagh is chatting with a friend on the telephone, not communicating messages from the grave.
"I am clairsentient," he explains, "which simply means clear feeling. I feel the emotions and personalities of the deceased. I am also clairvoyant," he adds, meaning that many times he will actually see the spirit as a solid form and describe their physical traits. The detailed information conveyed between worlds is not only awe inspiring, but forces people to question their own belief systems, views of reality and preconceptions of life and death.
Van Praagh's popularity began in the early nineties, on the NBC morning talk show: "The Other Side." The show concentrated on paranormal issues, and Van Praagh became the favorite guest and resident expert on the subject of life after death.
Through the years his message of hope has touched an abundance of people due to his numerous guest appearances on such shows as "Oprah," "Larry King Live," "20/20, "48 Hours," and "Biography." His paranormal experiences during the past twenty-five years have seen him author several best-selling books, including Talking To Heaven, Reaching To Heaven, Healing Grief, Heaven and Earth, Looking Beyond: A Teen's Guide to the Spiritual World, Meditations with James Van Praagh, and his most recent Ghosts Among Us. His latest book Unfinished Business - What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life was launched recently.
Currently, Van Praagh is Co-Executive producing his first CBS primetime series "Ghost Whisperer," starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. This show has become the #1 drama for CBS in its time slot.
Van Praagh was born in Bayside, New York, the youngest of four children. As an average child, he remembers having a tremendous fascination with death. He was raised a Catholic and served as an altar boy, entering the seminary at the age of fourteen. It was there that his interest in Catholicism ended and his sense of spirituality began.
There are no schools or training that could prepare Van Praagh for his unusual vocation. Indeed, his ability to communicate with the dead arose out of his... well... life. This belief was affirmed by an astonishing encounter he had when only 8-years-old. He was praying for God to reveal Himself, when an open hand appeared through the ceiling of his room emitting radiant beams of light. Incredibly, he recounts, "I wasn't scared. It was actually very peaceful."
Graduating from public high school, he continued to pursue his studies and later graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Broadcasting and Communications. You could say that he ended up working in Communications, just in a different capacity. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles where he became involved in metaphysics and psychic phenomena.
During his early days in Los Angeles, Van Praagh was invited to attend a session with a medium, although he didn't even know at that time what a medium was. Given that, he was understandably dubious when the medium informed him that he would be doing the same work within two years. "My first reaction was, I have enough trouble dealing with the living; why do I want to talk to the dead?"
As Van Praagh's sensitivity increased, he began doing readings for friends. During these readings, he began receiving detailed messages from the beyond. Though at first this seemed bizarre, the more he learned, the more he could not deny the fact that he had the gift to reach beyond the familiar plane of existence we call life. Today, Van Praagh is recognized as one of the foremost mediums in the world.
James will be appearing at the Pala Casino Spa Resort on Saturday, August 15. For more information, visit billsilvapresents.com, vanpraagh.com, or ticketmaster.com. Call (800) 745-3000 for tickets.
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