Spirit of Light
Registered: Jan 2010
James Van Praagh (b. August 23, 1958, Bayside, New York) claims to be a medium. He has written several best-selling books on spirituality and spirit communication, which have been translated into over 50 languages.
In the 1995 NBC television series The Other Side, Van Praagh was introduced as the first American medium ever to perform readings on the air, and quickly became the series favorite. Howard Rosenberg, the Los Angeles Times television critic, dubbed Van Praagh's performances "spectacular."
In December 1997, Van Praagh became the first medium to appear on Larry King Live to promote his first book, Talking To Heaven. From 2002 to 2003, he hosted a syndicated daytime talk show entitled Beyond With James Van Praagh, which is still seen around the world in syndication. He subsequently partnered with CBS to produce several TV-movies and mini-series based on his life and experiences, including Living With The Dead and The Dead Will Tell.
He developed and is currently the co-executive producer of the television series Ghost Whisperer on CBS and occasionally appears as a special correspondent for the CBS television series The Insider and Entertainment Tonight.
 Early life and career
Van Praagh was born in Bayside, New York and is the youngest of four children. Raised Roman Catholic he attended seminary at the age of 14; however, he has described himself as experiencing spiritual phenomena from a young age that eventually drew him away from conventional religious practice.
He graduated from San Francisco State University, majoring in Broadcasting and Communications, and subsequently moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he first discovered an interest in metaphysics and began working as a medium following a prediction by another medium who suggested it was his destiny.
Van Praagh built his early career performing private readings and quickly graduated to wider audiences with a series of audiotapes, books, and eventually the television appearances that gave him national exposure.
 Career as a medium
On an episode of the radio show Loveline Van Praagh said his first reading came in first grade. He claims to have told his teacher her son had been hit by a car, but was OK and had only suffered a broken leg. The teacher told him to sit down, but a few minutes later the principal told her that her son had, in fact, been in an accident, and broken a leg.
Van Praagh claims that through his mediumistic abilities he receives messages from spirits and feelings about their presence that provide "detailed evidential proof that a loved one survived death."
In 2002, he hosted his own daytime talk show, Beyond with Van Praagh, in which he gave readings to audience members.
His work continued to inspire his own brand of successful television shows with CBS and produced the miniseries Living With The Dead and The Dead Will Tell, and the CBS drama Ghost Whisperer.
Van Praagh also hosts regular seminars and workshops to assist others in developing spiritual awareness.
 Personal life
On the Larry King Live episode on May 26, 2009, it was revealed that Van Praagh was in a same-sex marriage.
Critics of Van Praagh accuse him of using the mentalism technique of cold reading to simulate psychic powers. They point to several incidents in which Van Praagh's claims have been wrong, such as when he suggested to the parents of the abducted Shawn Hornbeck that the boy's body might be found in a railroad car. Hornbeck was found alive four years later, having been abducted but not killed, and the kidnapper was not a railroad plant worker as Van Praagh had suggested. Van Praagh has responded by asserting that his messages are often vague and hard to interpret and sometimes he mistakes their meaning.
 Books by James Van Praagh
Listed by versions most likely available, not original publication date.
Talking to Heaven: A Medium's Message of Life After Death Published March 1999.
Signet Book ISBN 0451191722
Reaching to Heaven: A Spiritual Journey Through Life & Death Published February 1999.
Button Books ISBN 0525944818
Heaven & Earth: Making the Psychic Connection Published November 2002.
Pocket Books ISBN 0743227263
Healing Grief: Reclaiming Life After Any Loss Published April 2001
New American Library ISBN 0451201698
Meditation with James Van Praagh Published December 2003.
Fireside Books ISBN 0743229436
Looking Beyond: A Teen's Guide to the Spiritual World Published Oct 2003.
Fireside Books ISBN 0743229428
Ghosts Among Us Publisher HarperCollins June 2009.
HarperOne ISBN 0061553387
Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us about Life Published May 2009.
HarperOne ISBN 0061778141
^ Welcome to the James Van Praagh Online Community - Early Life
^ a b Welcome to the James Van Praagh Online Community - Realizing The Gift
^ Welcome to the James Van Praagh Online Community - Beyond Talk Show
^ Review of Psychic Medium Van Praagh on CNN's Larry King Live
^ Salon.com:James Van Praagh's friendly ghosts
^ Randi, James (January 19, 2007). "SWIFT Newsletter January 19, 2007: Another Fabulous Failure". James Randi Educational Foundation. http://www.randi.org/jr/2007-01/011907tam.html#i1. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
^ "Living with Evil", Newsweek, 29 January 2007, pp. 48–55.
 External links
James Van Praagh - Official Website
James Van Praagh at the Internet Movie Database