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JAMES VAN PRAAGH

Van Praagh was born in Bayside, New York, and is the youngest of four children. An average child, he remembers having a tremendous fascination with death. He was raised 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 that he had when he was only 8-years-old. The young boy was praying for God to reveal Himself to him, when an open hand appeared through the ceiling of Van Praagh's 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. At 24, the promise of that outstretched palm so many years before was fulfilled.

Realizing the Gift

Van Praagh was invited to go see 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 his sensitivity increased, he began doing psychic 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.

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