When James Van Praagh was around 2 years old, he would often see a man with white hair standing in the corner of his room near his crib, grasping a toy.
“It wasn’t until I was about 7 or 8 years old and my grandmother was showing me a photo album that I saw him in a photo,” Van Praagh recalled. “He was the same person to come to my room as a boy.”
The man, his grandmother told him, was his grandfather who had died before he was born.
Although he didn’t know it at the time, that was the beginning of Van Praagh’s future as an evidential and spiritual medium, proclaiming the ability to relay messages to people whose loved ones have died and crossed over into the spiritual realms.
The 58-year-old has become nationally known as a pioneer in the field of mediumship and has worked with millions of people, including celebrities Cher, Ted Danson, Eva Longoria Parker and Jennifer Love Hewitt — he co-produced “The Ghost Whisperer,” a television show featuring Hewitt — and has been on numerous television shows including “Oprah,” “Dr. Phil,” “Larry King Live,” “20/20,” “The View,” “Chelsea Lately” and the “Today Show.” He also penned 11 books, with “Talking to Heaven” reaching the No. 1 spot on the New York Times best-seller list and the newest, “The Power of Love: Connecting to the Oneness,” released at the end of 2016.
Van Praagh has a bevy of accolades, and although he isn’t keen on making house calls, he does tour the nation, hosting various demonstrations and events hoping to connect as many people with their loved ones as possible.
On March 9, Van Praagh, a resident of San Diego, Calif., will hold a live event from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Stanhope House in Stanhope, where he will try to connect with the audience’s loved ones.
Van Praagh said he is able to bridge the gap between the world and the spiritual dimension. In his own words, he explained that spirits exist at a much higher vibration than humans.
“Connecting with them requires you raise your vibrations and frequency, as they lower theirs,” Van Praagh said.
The exchange causes both the medium and the spirit to “meet in the middle,” Van Praagh said, adding that is actually the reason why they are called “mediums.”
Spirits will share information with Van Praagh, often with simple thoughts since complex thoughts are difficult.
They and may even express some sort of emotion such as regret, frustration or sadness, he said.
An individual who has passed over, Van Praagh said, may need practice to learn how to communicate with him.
He also believes that there is no pain after we die as we prepare for the afterlife where everyone goes to heaven, which comes in all different forms depending on an individual’s belief system.
Van Praagh also believes that every person has had past lives.
“I had an extreme fear of water growing up, but I had a dream that in my past life, I was a galley slave chained up in the middle of a boat and a wave hit it and we all drowned,” Van Praagh said.
Van Praagh grew up in Bayside, Queens, and for many years tried to extinguish the many psychic experiences that he had. He moved to California to obtain a degree in broadcasting from San Francisco State University and took on a temporary job in his early 20s at a talent agency.
It was there, at the age of 24, that while speaking to a co-worker he said he saw a dead woman appearing as a spirit behind her looking straight at him.
“She told me to tell (the co-worker) about the house in Idaho and about the footstool,” Van Praagh said, adding that the girl immediately knew it was her grandmother who had died.
That was the first time Van Praagh believed he had communicated with the spiritual world.
Van Praagh attended meditation circles to develop his gift, and with word of mouth, took a test of faith and pursued a career in being a medium and writing books dedicated to the afterlife.
Now touring around the country, Van Praagh, who believes he helps others connect with loved ones, also shares that he believes everyone is born with some sort of intuition that can be developed if they just “open and quiet their mind.”
In everyday life, there are many signs to look out for that a loved one is trying to communicate, he said.
“As soon as someone passes over, they want their loved ones (on Earth) to know they are all right, so they try to communicate the only way they know how,” Van Praagh said.
Communication can come in the form of flickering lights, a butterfly, bird or dragonfly, he said.
Other ways a person may try to communicate are through songs on the radio or even as someone who may look like them, shopping in a store or passing on the sidewalk.
To feel and see those communications, Van Praagh said, it is important to quiet the mind and pay attention to the signs.
“Most people live 9 to 5, very rarely opening up their minds to the world around them,” he said. “It’s so important for them to get out of their head and into their heart.”
For those who may be skeptical of Van Praagh’s abilities, he challenges them to come out to his event and experience it firsthand.
“I can’t force it down people’s throats, but I can plant the seeds for them and allow them to open up when they are ready,” he said. “If you come in with a closed mind or cynical, you may never be open to new experiences.”
Van Praagh said in many ways, people are afraid to change their way of thinking, that it might be scary for some people to throw away their old belief system, but added that an open mind is the best way to learn.
Tickets for the event at the Stanhope House on March 9 are $149 for a general admission seat or $179 for VIP seating, which includes seats closer to the stage, an autograph signing, a digital download of Van Praagh’s book, a meet-and-greet after the show, and a photo opportunity. Reservations for a table must also be made at the same time.
To purchase tickets, visit https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1416403.
Read the article on New Jersey Harold.