Interview with James Van Prauugh

James Van Praagh is a New York Time’s best selling author. He has penned seven books, and is the co-executive producer of the CBS hit series, The Ghost Whisperer, starring Jennifer Love-Hewitt. He is hailed as one of the world’s foremost psychics. Yet, with just one glance into those piercing sapphire eyes, one is captivated by the striking depth and indomitable spirit of James Van Praagh. His easy smile and infectious laugh are also part of his amazingly wide appeal. He’s a delicious mixture of woodland sprite and Father Murphy. Energetically, he’s kinetic. Intellectually he’s brilliant. As a gifted medium, he’s incredible. James Van Praagh can ask direct questions and give you the specific names of your dearly departed, while other psychics are incessantly citing the alphabet or viciously terrorizing the recently bereaved. Whether you believe in such things as ghosts and life in the hereafter, one thing is for sure, James Van Praagh is in touch with something that is not of this world. In his latest book, Ghosts among Us: Uncovering the Truth about the Other Side, Van Praagh helps us to understand the whys and wherefores of ghostly behavior. In the following interview we will tap into the private side of James Van Praagh and discover some of the secrets of the world beyond…Kathryn: Hello, James! Are you all set for our interview?

JVP: Yes, yes I am.

Kathryn: That’s great, and thank you so much for taking the time to do this with me today. I really appreciate it. I also want you to know that I love your new book, James. It is really, really good. Your style is so warm and engaging…it’s simply wonderful!

JVP: Thanks, Kat. I try!

Kathryn: Well it’s obvious, and your efforts pay off big time with this new book. Therefore, for the sake of our readers, James, whenever I interview someone with a huge personality like yours, I always like to start at the beginning of your story just in case people are not familiar with it. I was reading in one of your interviews that when you were eight years old, you prayed to God to show Him/Herself. Now, I’ve got to tell you, as a mother of six, I was fascinated by such a bold move being taken by an eight year old. What motivated you to challenge the presence of God in that way?

JVP: Well, because I was raised Catholic and I mean a really strict Catholic. I was an altar boy and went to Mass everyday. So, when I went to church there was something inside me that said, “There’s something more to this.” To make matters worse, when I took part in the Eucharist, as a child I didn’t realize it was symbolic, and it disturbed me to think I was eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. I took it literally, and thought it was pretty barbaric. You know, it was weird and just downright scary! So, deep inside I always questioned, and thought if God is real I want to see God.

Kathryn: So, James, do you think that experience with Catholicism was destined to set you up so that you would question the status quo…

JVP: Oh, no doubt. In fact, at one point, I was in a preparatory seminary to be a priest. This was at high school level before I went to college. I remember that it was Easter weekend, and by himself or herself, each student had to go into a separate side altar to pray the monstrans. While doing this, I heard a voice say to me, “Don’t limit God. God is outside these four walls. You will never find God here.” That was the moment I knew I had to leave.

Kathryn: James, looking back on that experience from where you are now on your spiritual journey, whose voice was it you heard on that fateful day?

JVP: I think it was one of my guides. We all have guides, and we have different types of guides.

Kathryn: Do we get to pick and choose our guides?

JVP: Yeah, we do! They work with us in-between lives. There’s like a council of them, if you will, who are our teachers. We are all working with these guides who are attuned to our vibration. So, we have lifetime guides who stay with us from the time we come to this earth, until we leave. Then, there are soul guides who have been with you from the very beginning and will be with your forever. There are guides that come to you based upon some work you are doing. They are like intermediate or special project guides who you attract to you to teach you or influence you to develop your skills in something like painting or sculpting or maybe even channeling.

Kathryn: And this is set up ahead of time, James? Or is it possible to get a wild hair, out of nowhere, and they are still sent in?

JVP: I think it’s both. For instance, obviously I came back this time to do this work. This is my mission. So, before I started this work there were certain guides who were working with me. But once I began sitting in development, I attracted other specific guides to work with my development. Now, Kat, I think you will find this fascinating: every Tuesday night I sit in my development circles for mediumship and because of the group dynamic, each participant in the circle will call in a guide as well. Needless to say, when you blend all of those energies together you will attract a certain high level guide who can work with them all for the development of the medium.

Kathryn: That is incredible…

JVP: Oh, and let me just add something else here. In recent years, I have also noticed that when I am giving readings at conferences, there are lots of guides present. Remember, the audience is from all different walks of life, and all different spiritual levels. Yet, there are guides standing behind these people, cleansing their auras before I begin, so they can blend the group dynamic or group aura in order to open them up to Spirit! Isn’t that interesting?

Kathryn: Well, doesn’t Spirit just think of everything? (Laughter…)

JVP: Yes, exactly. See, when I do my readings I have to prepare my audiences just in case there are those present who don’t know what they’re in for and are coming from fear. So, now I always do a group meditation to surround the audience with a globe of gold light for protection, to raise the vibration closer to Spirit, and then, to blend the group dynamic for a more successful connection. This is really important because when I first began this work, I was the number one target of the PSI Cops. I was a pioneer, going where no one had ever trod and I became a target of the skeptics. They were really after me. Why? Because I’ve found in my work, with life after death, people do not want to take responsibility for their lives. They want someone else to do that for them. If you come out and say, “Hey, you’re responsible for your life, due to the choices you make in life”, wow…people don’t want to hear it. In addition, without the religious element involved oh, people freak out because that’s their security. That’s their personal paradigm, and if you shake up their security, they don’t know how to deal with it. They think you’re the anti-Christ!

Kathryn: I couldn’t agree more, James. Your work has definitely taken people into an entirely new arena of life and death. One that religion hasn’t necessarily prepared them for. Therefore, when they are faced with the fact there is no such thing as death (the way we’ve been programmed to believe in it) they are forced to be much more conscious about the way they live. But you know I also wanted to ask you about this: when you were growing up in Queens, your Mom was very psychic as well. Now, some people believe that we all are born with the gift of intuition. Do you personally believe that you inherited the gift, or that your Mom simply held that loving container for you to develop your intuition?

JVP: I think it’s all of that… we are all born with a certain amount of psychic ability. The word intuition means, “into the soul”, and it is our sixth sense. It is just a natural sense we all have. The analogy I like to use it this: we’re all born with the ability to play the piano, but not everyone is a concert pianists. I’ve worked to develop my abilities this lifetime and I also believe it runs in the family lineage. My grandmother on my father’s side used to read tealeaves, and my grandfather on my mother’s side was very psychic, too. So, I do believe it runs in the family. But it is a choice that’s up to each soul as to whether or not they want to develop it.

Kathryn: For you, it seems the decision was made quite early because you were still in the crib seeing orbs and discarnate entities.

JVP: Yes, I was in the crib and saw my grandfather who would show me pictures of ponies and things. I didn’t know at the time it was my grandfather, not until I was much older did my grandmother show me pictures of him in the family album. Then I recognized him as the man who visited me as an infant and toddler.

Kathryn: But, you left that paranormal world far behind you in your early adulthood. You went off to college and you wanted to be a screenwriter until a friend took you to a séance, right?

JVP: Yes, I wanted to be a television screenwriter because I am funny and thought I could do that. In fact, that’s really why I moved to Los Angeles after I received my degree from San Francisco State in Broadcasting. But like everybody else, I had a hard time breaking into the business. I did, probably, two hundred different kinds of jobs before I got a break. I worked at law firms, ad agencies and hospitals – you name it, I did it! So, finally I was working in a windowless basement office at the William Morris Talent Agency. Day after day there I sat, for eight hours at a time, taking the staples out of contracts and preparing them for microfiche. It was incredibly boring yet I just knew something was awaiting me…something big was about to happen for me. I figured I was about to meet a writer or an agent who would introduce me to a producer. Little did I know it was going to be a co-worker who would introduce me to my destiny by inviting me to see a medium. I didn’t know what a medium was! But I agreed to go with her to Manhattan Beach to meet Brian Hurst. I walked into the room, and Brian told me I was a medium. He said I would be doing this kind of work before too long.

Kathryn: Was that good news to you?

JVP: No, no… I’d been told California was the land of fruits and nuts, and I thought I’d hit pay dirt right there! I thought this guy was a weirdo, but then he started to bring through members of my family with names and details that nobody knew. Then he predicted that within two years time the spirit world was going to use me. That I was going to bring forth the message from Spirit; there is no death. Even though I didn’t really believe him, I admit he pique my interest. After that I started reading up on mediumship, psychic phenomena, and life after death. I was impressed with the fact that the common thread throughout these books was, if you want to find your soul’s destiny, and who you really are, you should meditate. So, I started meditating. I didn’t have any formal training in meditation so I would concentrate on the word LOVE, or visualize a rose as I sat in stillness each day. Within a month or so, I started seeing lights around people, and their auras. Then, I started seeing spirits. In the beginning, it was very much like a camera that was out of focus. Over time, the focus got sharper and sharper and the images came in clearer and clearer.

Kathryn: James, can you now turn this gift on and off, at will?

JVP: Oh, sure, with proper development you learn how to open yourself properly, how to open the energy centers so they flow, and I can tune in. When I’m finished, I shut down properly. In fact, at the end of all my workshops I do a closing meditation to close down everyone in my audience because they’re wide open, too. Otherwise, they would be walking around open to other people’s junk or things that could attach to them. So, there is a very deliberate and responsible way to conduct these things.

Kathryn: Well, in the meantime, back in 2006 you had your own near-death experience during a bout with food poisoning. How has that affected and/or changed your work?

JVP: Kat, it’s very interesting that you should ask me this. You know, I am a very down to earth person, very grounded. But when this happened to me I saw my dead cousin, Pat, who I hadn’t seen in 30 years. She told me not to worry, that everything was almost all over. And I asked her, “Is it over-over or just over?” But since then, I can’t say that I’ve really changed. Yet I’ve had several people close to me make the comment that I’m coming from a completely different vibration.

Kathryn: In what way do they say your energy is different?

JVP: They say they notice calmness, a deeper sense of self-assurance along with a newfound centeredness. I can also tell you, I’ve noticed myself, that the quality of my messages is so much more on a soul level.

Kathryn: Okay, James, since you talk to heaven everyday, I know you can tell me this. Where is heaven?

JVP: Heaven is all around us, Kat, just on a different vibration. Therefore, it is inter-dimensional. And there are various spiritual levels of heaven. Like attracts like, and when you leave here, you will go to the level that you’ve earned based upon your thoughts, your words and your deeds. On that level, you’ll find people who think like you, and are on the same spiritual evolution level. Whereas, on earth, we’re all thrown together in a huge mish-mosh of people, on all different levels. We still have people who kill people, for goodness sake, living side by side with very spiritual people. So why is this? So we can create many situations to learn from. Life is a classroom, and people from different levels create experiences from which we all can learn. We wouldn’t learn much if we were all on the same level, would we? There would be no conflicts and no challenges.

Kathryn: Okay, but I have an important question. I believe we all have a Higher Self that remains in heaven while a small aspect of us ventures into the physical realm to learn those lessons.

JVP: That is correct…

Kathryn: Good, then why is it that we don’t immediately rejoin our Higher Self in heaven. Why do we have to go to a level attracted by our thoughts, words and deeds while we were hanging out in the physical dream?

JVP: I think you will eventually go back to the level of your Higher Self, but everything you did in the physical also affects you. You know, we have several bodies, and the physical body is just the densest part of us. But our choices in the physical affect our growth on those higher levels as well.

Kathryn: You also believe that we are multi-dimensional beings. In fact, you believe there are aspects of us that could be living on different planets, in different solar systems, right?

JVP: Right…

Kathryn: So, my question is: Do you believe that all aspects of us, no matter where we exist, are working toward the same goal or soul’s purpose?

JVP: Absolutely, everything is energy. This physicality we are experiencing now is a complete illusion. There are certainly different levels of physicality as well. It’s like the sun, and all it’s rays – they are separate, but yet still connected as one being.

Kathryn: So, what is an average day in heaven like?

JVP: Well, you have to remember something; we are looking at this from a reference point from the physicality we now know. If we say there are trees and houses in heaven, there are. But they might look very different, and we don’t have the language to adequately describe them, you see? Yet, if we want to assign our third dimensional references to what exists in heaven, then let’s do that. When I speak with spirits they describe incredible, incredible gardens filled with wonderful flowers and trees of amazing colors. One of my favorite stories is of a woman who lost the love of her life when he went off to war at a young age. She made the decision never to marry after her lover died because he was truly her heart. So, when she passed over he was there to meet her. He took her down this long path until he brought her to a house that he told her he’d built for her. Everything was perfect and just as she would have wanted it. Behind the house, there was a garden. Her sweetheart told her that he has something for her that he has kept saved for years. He hands her a beautiful little flower and as see looks at it, it begins to grow bigger and bigger. It blooms into one flower after another that is more beautiful than the one before. It continues to grow and grow, like Jack’s beanstalk. She asked him what is happening, and he tells her that it represents the time that we were apart and how his love for her continued to grow through the years until they could be together.

Kathryn: Wow…that story is a sure showstopper! How beautiful, James!

JVP: Isn’t it? And stories like that come through from Spirit all the time.

Kathryn: All right… so let’s talk a bit about your fabulous new book, Ghosts Among Us. If heaven is so positively miraculous, why do we have ghosts? Why do we have souls who don’t want to go there?

JVP: Ah…that is a very good question! First of all, I have experienced souls who don’t realize they are dead. Due to the fact it is such a natural transition, there is no pain or trauma at the moment of death. Therefore, there are many souls who just don’t get it. Then, there are those who are so imbedded in the physical mindset that they don’t know how to let go and move on. Money, power, and addictions are all things to keep souls energetically attached to this plane. Remember, we do not immediately change our personality upon leaving the body and passing over to the other side. At first, you are exactly the same – until you evolve. Many who are locked into their mindsets of physical control and power simply cannot give them up. And as ghosts they can go wherever they want with just thought. So, being earthbound, they are happy to be in this position. Most ghosts are angry or guilty souls who want to help those they have left behind. If they’ve hurt someone or done something bad, and they happen to be religious, they are afraid to go to the light because they fear Jesus will judge them and they will have to go to hell.

Kathryn: Oh, that makes perfect sense…

JVP: Doesn’t it? Okay, let’s say they were abused by a mean mother or father, they aren’t in a hurry to run into them again in the spirit world. They’re afraid they might be abused again and they don’t want to deal with that!

Kathryn: This is really interesting, James. These are things I’ve never considered as s reason for ghost hauntings. And sometimes you say there is just unfinished business…

JVP: Sure, after twenty-five years in this work, I’ve seen everything! And in the show I created, Ghost Whisperer that is often the case where a ghost has stayed around because of guilt and regret over unfinished business.

Kathryn: I am so happy you brought this up, my Friend, because I feel that your show has become increasingly frightening as the seasons have passed. The ghosts on the show appear out of nowhere in the most unsettling way. Whenever I have seen ghosts, James, they appear young and radiant. But, in your show, they often appear scary. Why is that?

JVP: That’s another great question, Kat. Welcome to Hollywood; this is just one of my crosses I have to bear. People loved to be scared, and Hollywood is more than happy to deliver. However, the way they rationalize it is that the ghost has just left the body, and is still in the earth vibration. But in a compromise I made with them, they have to make the ghost more attractive as it spiritually evolves. So, by the end of the show, as they have resolved their issues, and are ready to step into the Light; they have a more youthful, attractive appearance once again. That is what they do and that was our agreement.

Kathryn: Do you still do private readings, James?

JVP: No, I don’t and I’ll tell you why. Spirit came through to me and told me that I must try to reach more people. The best way to reach millions and millions of people is through the medium of television. I believe that if television is to be used for its highest good, you can use it to educate and open up the minds of the people. And that is where I have the most significant input – at the very end of the show – where we have the emotional tie-up! Plus, this is my background…

Kathryn: James, isn’t this so beautiful, the way they (Spirit) seemed to take it all away from you, and then, gave it back to you through television?

JVP: Isn’t that funny! And here’s another story I know you will appreciate. When I first moved to LA one of the jobs I had was as a production assistant for a show called, Square Pegs. It was Sarah Jessica Parker’s first television series…

Kathryn: Oh sure, I remember that show!

James: Yeah…well, I was a PA at Universal Studios. I had to deliver scripts to the Bungalow Area. Along the way I had to pass through the set where they were making the movie, Back to the Future. There was a clock tower set there and everything. I had just read Napoleon Hill, and I getting into my spiritual thing. I remember getting off my bike and standing on that set and repeating to myself, “I want my own show here one day…I want my own show here one day. Well, would you believe that 23 years later they filmed Ghost Whisperer in that exact same spot? They had not changed it once since, Back to the Future, until this show came on the lot! This was proof positive for me that we truly do get what we ask for, both here and in heaven.

Kathryn: James, I couldn’t agree more because this wonderful interview with you was certainly a dream come true for me. Is there anything else that you would like me to include?

JVP: Kathryn, please just let people know that they can find out more about me, my books and my upcoming events at: .

Kathryn: You got it, James! Thank you so very much. God bless your heart, my Friend.





  CINDY wrote @


  Patt E. RN wrote @

Hello-my soulmate John G. passed on 05/05/07-am in great sadness-why?I should be happy for him-no more pain, no more betrayals.I will always love him–is he with me? I had a dream of him this last feb.–he looked young,happy,healthy–why am I depressed?–Patt–thank yoy James

  Lance wrote @

I have a question about two deceased mysterious relatives, one that disappeared and one I never knew had existed until recently. I also have afriend who is terminally ill and will leave behind a young wife and two young daughters. I would love to be able to offer any comfort and healing I can.

Living in Montreal, Born and Raised on Long Island. God Bless and Thank You!

  Helene wrote @

Hi, 21years ago, my husband passaway. About 1 month after he pass, I saw him, but for only a moment. Was he there to tell me something?
I hope he is fine with all his family.
I still miss him.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you and God Bless you always.

  Liara Covert wrote @

As I read books by James Van Praugh, I opened some incredible doors within myself. My guides often lead me to books which will proove useful to my own personal growth. This man’s life is trulr remarkable. He reminds us all human beings are remarkable.

  Nichole Enns wrote @

I live in Calgary Alberta Canada, how would I go about having you do a reading for me?

I lost my mother 2 weeks before I got married just over 6 years ago, and I would like to know if she is still around me. I did have a dream about her a few weeks after she passed away, and it just seemed so real.

Another believer.

  jean pirkey wrote @

Dear James,
My son Bob died in a tragic work related accident
on April 12, 1995. Anything you could tell me about him to bring me some peace.


  Georgia wrote @

James, My sister Connie disappeared 6-1-90 she was only 24yrs old, we have no idea what happened to her no leads nothing police feel it was foul play. can you help Please? I was asked by producers to be on you show Beyond but was canciled before I was to appear Thanks a true fan & beliver Georgia

  (Mr. florian donatelli wrote @

I lost a brother who died fighting in wwii. How is he doing. He was a great guy and had a greaat personally and seemed to have no fear of death or of living. thanks. florian

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