Spiritual medium James Van Praagh, who is known for receiving communications from the dead and presenting them to the living, is more than just a messenger.
“In some ways I am a medium, a minister and a psychologist,” said Van Praagh, who will appear on Nov. 8 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet. “I am sensitive to people’s needs. I feel that people should have an understanding before I give them a message.”
As such, Van Praagh takes particular care in his stage presentation to inform the audience of the process.
“In the show I quickly give my background — explaining that I could see spirits as a child,” Van Praagh said. “Then we have a brief meditation, to bring the energy of the people together. Then I share with them the process, to let them know how it works.”
Only after explaining the medium process does Van Praagh start to work bringing messages to people in the audience.
“I work with half a dozen to a dozen people in a show,” he said. “It may be that someone wants to see their dead son, but the spirit world might have a different idea.
“I may only work with a few people in each show,” he continued, “but it affects the whole audience. Everyone can relate to forgiveness or to losing somebody.”
Van Praagh has been helping people relate to the deceased for more than 30 years. He introduced the world to mediumship when he was the first medium on NBC-TV’s daytime television show “The Other Side” in 1994. Since then, he has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including “Oprah,” “Larry King Live,” “Dr. Phil,” “Nightline,” “The View,” and “The Today Show,” among others. Van Praagh also hosted a short-lived paranormal talk show called “Beyond with James Van Praagh,” and he co-created and produced the TV series, “Ghost Whisperer,” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Van Praagh is the author of the books “Talking to Heaven,” “Healing Grief,” “Heaven and Earth,” “Looking Beyond,” “Ghosts Among Us,” “Unfinished Business” and “Growing Up In Heaven,” among others.
“I was the first medium on TV; the first one to open the door,” Van Praagh said. “Being a medium is much more acceptable than it used to be.”
And for people who may be skeptical of his work, Van Praagh thinks it is just a matter of educating them.
“If a cynical person sees the show, they leave uncynical,” he said. “It’s just their way of thinking. I have to teach them. If you are closed-minded, you close yourself off to many experiences.”
Over the years, Van Praagh’s messages have brought solace, peace and spiritual insights, and have changed the views of many people regarding life and death.
“I work with those who need healing from the spirit side of life,” he said. “My work gives spirits the opportunity to do that. I don’t work for the living. I work for the dead.”