James Van Praagh
- Category : Occult-Fields-Psychic-Medium-Spiritualist
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 3
American trance-medium who speaks to disincarnate spirits. Perhaps the most famed medium of the '90s, he has appeared on many TV shows, including "The Other Side" and "Unsolved Mysteries," and is a huge draw on talk shows and at expositions. Wherever he appears, hundreds gather hoping for a word of comfort, a shred of communication from their deceased loved ones. Though skeptics doubt that Van Praagh can talk to the dead, his message obviously touches a spiritual need in his followers.
Van Praagh (rhymes with frog) claims that he tunes in to the higher-faster-vibrating frequency of the spirit world where he not only communicates with the spirits but sees the heavenly world they inhabit, "a beautiful world with houses and mansions, forests and flowers." He describes his abilities as clairsentience and clairvoyance.
His first book, "Talking to Heaven: A Medium's Message of Life after Death" climbed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. He made such a splash during his December 1997 appearance on the "Larry King Show" that he was booked for a repeat performance just three weeks later. His popularity grew so rapidly that Van Praagh had to discontinue most of his private practice, the 90-minute sessions for which he charged $250.00, although he kept some of his celebrity clients. In October of 1999, he played host on the "Voyages of Enlightenment," a seven-day cruise for 150 clients who paid $2,800 to $6,000 for their accommodations. Continuing to capture public attention, he worked with NBC on a 2002 TV miniseries based on his life, “Living with the Dead” followed by “The Dead Will Tell” in 2004. In addition to his own daytime TV series “Beyond with James Van Praagh,” he has created several other media projects including CDs, tapes, and videos. Most recently he has co-produced a 2005-6 TV series “Ghost Whisperer” based on his experiences.
Raised in Queens, NY, Van Praagh was the youngest of four kids born to Alan, a retired Broadway stagehand and Regina, a homemaker who died in 1988. He acknowledges a tremendous fascination with death from an early age. His dad was a distant figure to him and his mom an alcoholic, so the boy took comfort in the spirit visions which he first saw one night when he was eight. Raised a Catholic, he claims that his interest in his religion ended, and his spirituality began, when he entered a junior seminary at age 14. Leaving after just one year, he attended public schools and graduated from San Francisco State University in 1982 with a major in broadcasting. For ten years he worked as an aspiring screenwriter doing menial jobs at the William Morris Agency and Paramount. In 1992, he paid his first visit to a medium, when the spirits said, "We'll take care of you if you do your work." He quit his job and became a full-time medium himself, soon attracting a clientele that included some of Hollywood's finest. He never had to advertise but word spread like wildfire. He soon had his first TV booking plus a book contract. After his first book was published in 1997, his success was assured.
Van Praagh was married briefly and divorced in 1996. He continues to write books, lecture, and use the media to broadcast his message that there is life after death and that the dead communicate with the living.