Medium James Van Praagh Shares His Process for Communicating with Spirits

Bob Olson Interviews James Van Praagh

JAMES VAN PRAAGH: “In this conversation with medium James Van Praagh, which is an extension of my last conversation with him (although on a completely new subject), James explains how he communicates with our deceased loved ones in spirit. This interview covers a lot of spiritual territory, as James Van Praagh and I talk about souls, spirit guides and how our loved ones in spirit try to communicate with us on their own. If you’re a bit skeptical about mediumship or you’ve wondered how mediums do what they do, James Van Praagh does a great job explaining his process for communicating with spirit.” ~ Bob Olson, Afterlife TV

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Bob Olson:  Hi everybody.  This is Bob Olson with Afterlife TV.  You can find us on  This is sort of a continuation interview that we have going here.  I interviewed James Van Praagh about his background up to this point.

And really what I intended to interview him about was how does Psychic Medium James Van Praagh communicate with spirits?  A lot of people are interested in the process.  So once again, welcome back James.  Thank you so much for coming.

James Van Praagh:  Thank you, Bob.

Bob Olson:  And continuing this interview, I’m having so much fun with you.  I really am.

James Van Praagh:  Thank you.  It’s a lot of fun.  I appreciate it, and it’s great, and it’s great to share it all.

Bob Olson:  Yeah, well, a lot of people are interested in this, and so we’ll get right into this.  I’m going to start off sort of simple and we’ll work into maybe some more complicated ideas.  You’ve been giving readings for 30 years.  A lot of people just want to know do you see spirits, hear spirits, feel spirits?  What is the process from that level with you?

James Van Praagh:  Okay.  So the process which I go through which is different with every medium because every medium works very, very differently.  Everyone goes through a different process per se.

What I do myself, if I have an event or if I have a reading for somebody, a private reading, I will about 15 minutes before – actually, let me back up by saying if I know there’s a demonstration at night, let’s say, the whole day I will put myself into a state of receptivity and a state of reflecting and paying attention to what’s going on around me; kind of keeping my mind very open.

That’s what I will do because you never know if you’re working that evening what signs will be around that the spirit people will use in order to come through that night for communication.  For instance, I did an event once in New York, and I was in a hotel room, and I remember I was given a room on the bottom floor right next door to railroad tracks.  And I looked at the railroad tracks and I started seeing blood.

Now I started seeing blood and my third eye center clairvoyantly and I knew something happened.  So the first reading that occurred the next evening was a man who jumped off a train trestle and was hit by a train.  So, you know, you pay attention.  But generally speaking, what I do is I meditate at least 15 minutes beforehand.  When I say meditate, I really work through the various energy centers of the body.  I open up each energy center and I connect with my guides; I connect with several of my guides who are around me.

I ask them to be there.  I ask them for protection.  I work with the light.  I then will become, it’s very much like a radio where you turn on the radio and you tune in.  And what happens when I get on stage, I will – or I’m getting in the group, I will sit there and explain to the people what I do.  And I tell them that the spirit people use me in different ways.

I will be impressed or influenced, if you will, by visuals.  I will see things.  I will see the face of spirit.  I will see their bodies just like I’m seeing a physical being.  I will see scenes that they show me.  Many times those scenes are memories of the spirit, the memories they had years ago with the person in the audience.  Maybe it was during their childhood they used to go to a fishing trip on the lake.

I’ll be shown the lake; I’ll be shown the cottage; I’ll be shown that clairvoyantly.  I will also feel the spirit.  And when I start many of my shows, I will merge my mind with that of a spirit.  So I welcome spirit into my conscious of my mind and I blend them with me.  I give them permission to blend themselves with me.

And I first will pick up the personality of the individual and I will describe how they were as far as what their personality was like.  And I will ask them to please give me the last days of their life on this physical earth.  If they can show me how they passed out of the body in order to be given physical evidential details that – what their name was, what the age was, how they found themselves in the situation of the death.

Were they at home when they died?  Were they outside of the house?  Was it a quick impact?  Was it a disease they passed over with?  And I go through my head and I’m sending out these thoughts to spirit people as they’re merging with me.  So it’s a multi-sensory kind of situation.  So they will show me themselves, I will feel them, and I hear their thoughts.

Like, “Oh, I was hit by a car when I stepped off the curb.”  So I’ll hear that in my head as well.  And do I hear that in their voice?  I hear it like thoughts that I have or we all have.  Like a thought we might have if I have to go down to the store and get some milk.

These thoughts that come into my head, I’m going to step off the curb.  I stepped off the curb and was hit by a car.  There’s a young man here who is 27 years old named Robert, who stepped off the curb, and was hit by a car.  Does that make sense to somebody in the audience?  Or I will also go if the spirit’s standing behind somebody, I will be right there with that spirit.  I’ll be connected with that spirit and I’ll describe who that spirit is to the person in the audience.

So it’s all different depending upon the spirit, how they want to communicate, how the person in the audience is receptive or not, and what their experience with spirit communication is because if you have somebody who’s very experienced with spirit communication, receiving the information is much easier than someone who doesn’t know anything about it.

The same for those spirits who have never communicated before; much harder than one’s who know about the subject matter or indeed who have come through in other ways.

Bob Olson:  Oh wow.

James Van Praagh:  So there you go Bob.

Bob Olson:  Yeah.  Alright.  You know what?  Then I’m just going to follow some of the questions that I wrote because you did cover a lot there and as you were talking, my mind’s going wild with questions.  So I’ll back it up a little bit.

You know, one of the things you talk about was this merging that you allow the spirits to do and that you feel things.  So let’s just say if you were to feel if someone passed from a heart attack, or lung cancer, or whatever it may be, how much of that are you actually feeling?  How much do you allow that?

James Van Praagh:  Again, it depends on the spirit who is communicating, and how close they can come to me, and how they can influence me.  It depends.  I can’t just give a general answer like, “Oh, it’s like this,” because the amount of it is different depending upon the spirit.

I’ve had many situations where I will have – I’ve been through many, many spirits who’ve died of a heart attack and some it’s a stinging feeling.  Like I physically feel a stinging where I suddenly know; whereas, if it’s a gunshot, I’ll feel a piercing in my head or my body and I’ll smell a metal smell.  With cancer I smell a horrendous smell, which is like a sulfurous smell.  I smell it.

I’ve had them come through, let’s say someone had hung themselves, I’ll get a [choking sound] in my neck and I’ll be like [choking sound] I can’t breathe, and I know it’s a choking feeling around me.  It all depends.  Many times when you ask them to provide the death condition, sometimes they know they have to try so hard in order to get it through to the medium that they will really, with their mind, they will send it so strongly to you.

It’s way too strong and the medium will say, “Take that away.  I can’t breathe right now.  Take it away.”  So it really does depend upon how the projection is given by the spirit to the medium.

Bob Olson:  I was wondering if they take it too far sometimes.  Obviously, they do.

James Van Praagh:  And guides protect you, but also the guides want to make sure he gets through.

Bob Olson:  Yeah, yeah, right.  And they know that that’s what you want as well, so you want it to be clear, but interesting the things that you put yourself through in order to help people in this way.  And that’s something I’m sure a lot of people don’t realize.  You know also you’re talking about seeing clairvoyantly and actually seeing it as if you were seeing a person.

I’ve seen you live a couple of times and you’ll talk about actually seeing, we’ll say someone’s deceased grandmother.  What is it – beside them or behind them or around them in some way?  In this way you’re actually seeing them as if you were looking at me?

James Van Praagh:  Correct.  I see a full figure of a person standing behind them and they’re very, very solid to me.  As I’m looking at you here, it’s very, very solid.  Now that being said, I’ve also had experiences where I will get flashes of a grandmother or a grandfather and I’ll just be shown their face.  Or I’ll be shown them back in the 1930’s dress; 1930’s garb.  And I’ll describe it to people.

This happens so many times.  I’ll describe this dress or how they’re wearing gloves or the hat they’re wearing, and the person in the audience says, “I cannot relate to that.  I don’t understand that.”  Well, but then two or three days later I’ll get an email saying, “Oh my goodness, I have that picture of my mother on the top of the television set and she’s wearing that outfit with the gloves and the hat.  That’s exactly right.”

Bob Olson:  Which is great in the long term, not so great when you’re in front of an audience and everybody else is trying to figure out what’s going on as well.

James Van Praagh:  Well a medium is just a vessel.  It’s interesting when you do mediumship, and for all those mediums out there who are doing mediumships the proper way, they must realize that they are just a vessel and that it’s not up to them because when you worry about what you get through, and it’s part of the human being that wants to help and get things correct and accurate, especially a medium.  You want to.

But there comes a point to put that aside because if you worry so much about getting it completely correct and accurate, “Oh my gosh.  I’m going on that stage.  I have to get it right.  I have to get it right.”  And I’ve seen this, “I have to get it right.”  You know what?  You can’t do that.

The spirit’s in charge.  They’re your boss.  They’re the ones who are in charge.  You’re the vessel and if you worry so much about getting it right, your ego’s involved.  Your ego is blocking God if you will.  So you’ve got to get the ego in check because you have to keep it in check so spirit can come through because the ego will block it otherwise.

Bob Olson:  Did you start with one of these abilities where one was more dominant than the others and then the others sort of came as you grew?

James Van Praagh:  Yes.  Well, every single person alive has intuition.  We call it intuition into the soul.  And really that translates to what’s called clairsentience – clairsentience, a French word meaning clairsensing so all of us sense.  Every single person usually senses.  So of course I was very sensitive and I would feel things right away when I’d walk into a place or I’d meet somebody.

But I was also very clairvoyant where I would see spirit.  As a little boy, I used to see spirits in colors around people, which we all now know is the aura around people.  So I’d see things clairvoyantly.  Until I started developing mediumship as a discipline, then I started opening up clairaudience, where I’d actually hear the thoughts and hear them and feel the personality.

So then they became – it’s very interesting.  It’s hard sometimes to say you’re just clairvoyant, clairsentient, clairaudience.  Sometimes it’s jumbled.  Sometimes it’s all at once.  You feel, see, hear, taste; all at once.  So it’s a different type of communication.  It’s a multi-sensory communication.

Bob Olson:  The only thing I can relate to, because I’m not a medium or a psychic, but I’ve had past life regressions and those were multi-sensory experiences as well.  First it came as claircognizance – is that how you say it – sort of as a knowing?  So the regressions would ask a question and the answer would just be there.  But then as we continue with the regression, all of a sudden I was seeing things, and feeling things, and hearing things in that multi-sensory way.  And so that’s the only way I can really relate to it.  When you talked about your spirit guides are sort of involved, have you had the same spirit guides throughout the whole, we’ll say, life?

James Van Praagh:  No.  I don’t think anybody does.  I think we change.  I’ve had several of the same ones and I still do that I know about.  And I’ve had changes definitely.  It’s almost funny.  I have five or six of the same ones.  And then I’ve had other guides come through over the years as well.

And now this is very interesting.  Whenever I do an event, I will find that behind me are even different guides and these guides have been brought to me to work with that audience; that particular individual audience that I’m working with that night.  I will have guides based upon their energy of the audience and they will come to me that way.  Now isn’t that interesting?

Bob Olson:  Well it is.  I’ve noticed this isn’t even just for mediums; this is for public speakers that every audience has a personality.  It seems as though whatever it is, if everybody’s in a bad mood, it’s like most everybody’s in a bad mood.  If everybody’s in a great mood, it’s sort of that way too.

But when it comes to mediumship, I have recognized in these medium demonstrations where there are live audiences and you’re giving random readings to the audience members that quite often there tends to be a theme going on.  Like a central message that seems to be for everyone.

Or there are a lot of people who are dealing with – they’re grieving because of a suicide in their life.  I see this a lot; it’s interesting.  This is kind of what you’re talking about.  They do come together.  They’re sort of drawn to this place, again, divine coincidence.

James Van Praagh:  What’s funny, Bob, because a couple of experiences I’ve had, which I think were so fascinating to me, and I was going to be, by the way, I was thinking of studying when I was younger, in my 20’s, I thought I’d go into psychology or sociology because I found the human animal so interesting.  It’s so interesting to study them.

Now when I’m on stage and I’m about to do a demonstration and give out random readings, I talk to the audience a little bit beforehand.  And the reason I do that, the many reasons behind that, number one is to take away the expectation.  Number two to take away the fear; to alleviate the fear; show them I’m a normal, everyday, down-to-earth kind of guy they can laugh with.  This is not something crazy.  And thirdly what it does is it gives their personal guides a chance to clean out their auras because when people come to a function, a demonstration, you have to realize that they come into that room with all their belief systems, with their fears, with their limitations of the mind, and their desires, and it all sits in the aura.

All those shadows, those thought forms, are sitting in the aura.  And what I find when I’m watching the audience and talking, I’m seeing their guides cleaning out a lot of the auras in order for the energy for the spirit to come through and work with.  So it’s so interesting to watch that.  That’s what I’ve seen so I’m like why am I waiting 15 minutes, 20 minutes talking.  Why can’t I just go into the messages?

They were, “No, we have to clean the audience.  We’ve got to bring it all together as one energy and we must clean,” they said to me once, “We must clean the atmospherics of the room.”

Bob Olson:  Oh my goodness.  I never even heard that before so that’s fascinating to me.  Now these guides that you see that are sort of there for the group, are they the ones who are doing this or is it everybody’s individual…

James Van Praagh:  Yes, yes, yes

Bob Olson:  Those are the ones who are…

James Van Praagh:  Well there are individual guides and also there are guides that are just there for that group for sure.

Bob Olson:  As well?  Okay.

James Van Praagh:  I’ve noticed a lot of personal guides; the person’s personal guide behind them cleansing as well.

Bob Olson:  Doing it as well.  What other functions do these guides that are there for the group – are they there for you to try to help you?

James Van Praagh:  Different types of work for the guides – number one is it’s very interesting, as you were saying, that it is true.  I was thinking this.  It’s like a stage crew.  It really is like a supporting cast in that they’re, number one, cleaning the atmosphere; cleaning the energy from people because you don’t want people coming in with negativity.

You don’t want people coming in with troubled minds.  You don’t want people to come in with skepticism.  You don’t want all of this negative energy because you want to attain to the highest level possible.  Yes?

Bob Olson:  Right.

James Van Praagh:  So they will work it that way.  I have several gate keepers.  They’re called gate keepers who work with me specifically in order to protect my shield, my energy, my shell, and bring through into my atmosphere that spirit who wants to communicate to somebody in the audience.

And I’ve heard on the side as I’m talking to audience members, I’ll hear on the side it’s like someone whispering to the spirit and it’s a guide saying to that spirit, “Listen, you must concentrate the thought very, very strongly.  You must send it with this much vibration into James’ atmosphere so he’ll be able to pick it up and give the information out.”

It’s very much – the analogy I love to use – it’s a radio.  If they have to send me that thought – send me that vision within a certain level, within a certain bandwidth if you will.  If they send that thought too quickly, if they project it too fast, I will not pick it up.  If they send the thought too slowly, I will not pick it up.  If they send it right to my level of vibration and if they send that emotion – put a lot of emotion on it, I’ll tend to pick it up.

It’s also very important to note that many mediums do the best job they can when they have a spirit communicator that is very much like them.  For me, who has a sense of humor, a fondness of philosophy, an understanding, a compassion.  If I can get somebody close to me, the readings and messages are even that much better.

Bob Olson:  Oh, that’s great.  I love that.  Well, this kind of brings into like this question that I have about how do you choose?  Especially at the beginning, I was in your audience – I don’t even know.  Say there are 1,500 people there; a lot of people there, and if everybody’s got five spirits with them they want to get through, who makes that decision who’s going to get through and who isn’t going to get through, and how do you deal with that?

James Van Praagh:  The guides that are working with the group and the guides that are working with me who are the ones who decide whose message comes through.  And I have found that the messages that they choose, the communicator they choose, number one, has to be an effective communicator.  Number two, the message that that communicator’s going to bring through has to be one where it’s beneficial for every single person sitting in that audience.  So if there’s a message about a father that comes through and talks to his daughter about how sorry he is that he couldn’t say I love you when he was alive, please forgive him.  Many, many people in that audience, probably most of the people in that audience, will have an issue about forgiveness.

So this through example of this reading for the loved one in the audience, it may help and benefit every single person sitting there.  And I have found all of the messages that come through, whether it’s 10 readings or whether it’s 20 readings, every single one has a benefit; has something that can help all those people.

Bob Olson:  Yeah.  I love that you’re putting that into words because I’ve noticed it and I’ve talked about it with my wife Melissa, but I don’t hear many people talking about it.  I don’t hear many mediums talking about it and I’m so glad that you…

James Van Praagh:  I’ll tell you something, Bob, I’ve seen many mediums out there.  I’ve seen a lot of famous mediums, not famous mediums, and I don’t think they understand fully what the process is.

Seriously, I’ve seen some go out there and just stand there and whatever happens, happens and it’s like, “No, you need to be in control of your energetic body, what’s happening with you.  You need to contact your guides.  Be really in communication with your guides and you really need to be there.”  You’re not just this wire and whatever bird sits on the wire you bring through.

It doesn’t work that way and a lot of mediums don’t know the process correctly.  I’ve seen it.

Bob Olson:  Well, I’ve seen it too.  Alright, so I know a big question that a lot of people have is so you’re getting the message from spirit and you always tend to know where in the auditorium that message is going.  How do you know that?  What are you feeling?

James Van Praagh:  Right, great question.  Yesterday I was at an event for Halloween actually.  It’s interesting.  I explained it to the audience.  When I’m given the information, many times the spirit guides will draw a line if you will.  An energetic line from me to that person in that audience or that area right there and it’s called psychic rods.  They will set up these psychic rods if you will.

And from my solar plexus, it goes straight out to the person in the audience; the energy.  It’s almost like a tube if you will.  And it’s interesting, too, that people who are in the audience don’t realize that that’s happening and it’s unfortunate that the medium does not say to the audience members, “Please do not stand up and go in front of the medium when they’re working because you can hurt them.”  So for instance, if I’m working with somebody in the audience over here and someone gets up across – and it’s happened to me – they’ll get up and they may cross in front.

All of a sudden that rod, that psychic rod is like, “Whoa,” brought right back into the medium’s solar plexus and I feel it because it comes very quick.  It’s like a rubber band or a sling shot.  Like oh my goodness.  And I’m like I have got to take a couple of breaths and then it can be re-established, but boy, that’s how that works.

Bob Olson:  Whoa.  First of all, I didn’t realize that happened.  I had no idea and second of all, not only does that interrupt the reading, but boy, I mean, what that does to you energetically is amazing.  And again, I’ll bet a lot of mediums are not aware that that happens either.

James Van Praagh:  I’m sure they’re not.  You have to remember that when you’re setting up a demonstration let’s say, whether it be a group of 10 people or a group of 2,000 people, what the mediums and guides are doing is they are setting up an atmosphere.  They’re setting up an atmospheric condition in order for the spirit people to come down to a lower vibration; a lower frequency and to work with the sensitized medium.

The medium is somewhat out of the body a little bit so there’s a little bit of altered state of consciousness.  So they’re a little bit out of it here and so that’s what’s happening.  So people have to be very respectful of the medium at work.

Bob Olson:  Yeah.  Now earlier you said at the very beginning of a reading in an auditorium like this, a medium demonstration, you tend to get the messages to identify the person; maybe some names, physical characteristics, how they died.

Is this your spirit guides again sort of telling them what you want?  Are you in your mind sort of saying, “Look, this is what I need?”  Or do they just know because spirits are aware this is a medium demonstration.  They know what you want first.  How does that work?

James Van Praagh:  I’ve seen it done different ways.  I’ve seen it done where – and I’m just the receiver so I’ve seen it done, or been aware of it being done is this, and this is an interesting one too.  When I came across this I was like, “Wow.”  My guide and the spirit, or guides and the spirit who is going to communicate, may together meld a thought, fend a thought about the evidence like what their name was, what the age was, and I’ll send it into my consciousness.  They’ll send it into my consciousness.  They’ll influence me.  They’ll impress me with the age 29, with the name of Mark, died from whatever it is; a blood disease.

They’ll influence me either together they can meld a thought and send it together collectively, or it can be the spirit themselves.  If they’re strong enough, they will themselves project into my consciousness the information.

Bob Olson:  Okay.  Well that brings up – I’ve seen a lot of times I’ll say a grandfather will come in.  He’s been in spirit for a long time and then a younger person will come in right behind him, and it seems as though the grandfather’s helping the young person who just passed fairly recently communicate.  Is that really what’s happening?

James Van Praagh:  Yeah.  Number one, that’s a great question Bob.  And that shows me that you really know your stuff because not many people know this.  But as you’ve seen, because you’ve seen many demonstrations, there can be one main spirit who comes through.  It might be easier for one spirit to open the door – to open that door and then let all the others through.

The others might be hesitant.  The others might now know how to do it.  They might be nervous or sort of scared.  And they might come in – I’ve seen it over and over again, but that one spirit will come through and bring through other people.  It happens where one spirit, let’s say a grandfather will come through and bring through information for the granddaughter.

But then the other people sitting next to them, their relatives will come through and it’s this grandfather who brings through those other people’s relatives.  So they help each other out and that does happen quite a bit.

Bob Olson:  Okay, which is cool because – and it’s important for people to know because if you – okay, we’ll say you just lost your son, you know, and he’s the one you really want to communicate with.  It’s his loss that you’re grieving.  Grandpa comes in and you’re – some people are actually annoyed.  “Grandpa, get out of the way.  I just want to talk to my son. I don’t want to be talking to some of these other people.”

In a case like this, it may be them who is actually helping get the son through, right?  So people should know this.

James Van Praagh:  For sure.  And it might be hard for that son to come right through because one of the first things that spirits pick up on this vibration, on this level of frequency, is the last memory that they had.  And for most of everyone, it’s the death condition.  It’s how they died.  So that son might be so traumatized about his death and he doesn’t want to go through it again.

He might be, “Oh, this stuff, I can’t go through that again.  When that car smashed, I can’t go through that again.”  It’s just a memory.  It’s not real.  It’s just a memory.  But it might be so scary to him that he might need someone else to open the door for him to let him through.

Bob Olson:  I love that.

James Van Praagh:  And it’s so interesting to say that because when people come to a demonstration or spirit messages, they really should be open minded.  They should be very, very open-minded to whatever happens in the process.  You cannot control things by thinking, “Okay, Johnnie.  Come on, Johnnie.  Come through.  Come through.  Come through.  Come through to the medium,” because you’re really hindering the process.

You’re really holding back the process.  You’re diminishing the energy if you do that.  You’re not giving your son enough of the energy to work with or the spirit guides to work with.  So you really need to be open to whatever happens and realize, “You know what?”  Let them be in charge.  This is very hard for control freaks; very, very hard because you’re letting go of control; not good; not easy.

Bob Olson:  And speaking of control freaks, let’s talk about those people who make deals.  They make deals with their loved ones in spirit and they say, “If you say jellybean.”  If you get him to say jellybean, I’ll believe.  And all these wonderful messages come in but you don’t say jellybean, now they just throw everything out.  Talk about these deals that people make.

James Van Praagh:  Sure.  It’s funny because a spirit can come through and talk about the actual license plate – naming the numbers on a license plate, but because they haven’t said jellybean, it didn’t happen.  Come on.  It’s so crazy.  The thing is in life we can force people to say what we want them to say.  We can’t force our thoughts into someone’s mind and say you’ve got to say what – right now you can’t say what I want you to say.

Why do they think it changes that much when they go into spirit?  It doesn’t change at all.

Bob Olson:  And is it true – I get this sense that you’re getting a lot of messages at one time and you’re sort of picking and choosing which ones you’re going to say.  So you might have got the jellybean.  You just didn’t say it because you thought something else was more important.  Does that happen do you think?

James Van Praagh:  That used to happen at the very beginning when I first started 30 years ago, but I’ve since honed it to such a point where, if I’m downloaded that information, I give it out.  If my spirit gives it to me, I have to give it out.  Now I don’t have to tell people when they’re going to die.  That’s not what I do.

But if spirit gives me something like that – like this person is really fatal here, I will say to them you should go see a doctor.  How is your health?  I won’t be remorse, but I’ll make sure they get the point that they should go seek some help.

But I give out the information as I get it.  If I’m given 10 things, I give 10 things.  And I think you’re right in a certain way where spirit is projecting many, many things, and maybe I pick up two, or three, or four of them.  That might happen too.  In the process they might be sending so much, but maybe I’m only picking up three, or four, or five, or six of the things they’re projecting.

Bob Olson:  There’s a lot going on there.  Do you follow a formula?  It does seem very formulaic and you probably don’t think of it is a formula anymore because you’ve been doing it for so many years, but maybe at the beginning of your calling were actually sort of saying, “Okay, I need to bring through physical characteristics and how they died.”

And then later on in the reading I’ll give some more of the loving messages; the messages of forgiveness.  Is there any kind of formula that you have done?

James Van Praagh:  Well, I think that it changes with the medium.  I think that as a medium evolves spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, because I think that we as mediums evolve as well.  So I think our work will show that; demonstrate that growth or non-growth.  So I do think that when I first started many years ago, I would sit and I would wait.

I would wait until spirit gave me things.  I would sit there literally like five minutes and say, “Okay, I’m waiting.”  And being the Vergo that I am I’ve got to get details.  So I would sit there until I knew it was a female, until I knew the information she’d say, “I’m his mother,” Then the sensing of energy.  I feel her mother energy or grandmother energy.  So it’s evolved over the years.  It’s been refined over the years.  I’ll tell you that.  And it was a little bit of a process in the beginning because I would sit and I would prepare myself.  I still do to a point of view.  It’s just a little different only because I’ve done it for so long.

I don’t want to say it’s automatic, but it certainly is easier to put myself into that state of receptivity than it used to be 30 years ago.  And it’s almost like I’m there, but I’ll never ever take for granted what the process is.  I’ll never take it for granted or that I have to be a recipient of spirit and that I’m only as good as I am listening and hearing and seeing.

Bob Olson:  That’s right.  Yeah.  Sure.  We talk about spirits all of the time and I think people forget that we’re talking about people in spirit because I get this sense that – now I recognize that things change when you get there, but their personalities still seem intact and so if someone was a – let’s say we have a woman who was sort of fairly pushy when she was here in the physical plain.

She gets over there.  She’s still sort of a pushy personality or does she do that just so that her family members can identify her?

James Van Praagh:  Oh, that’s a good question.  Both.  Both.  I would say that when she comes through, for evidential purposes, she will demonstrate herself as the characteristics that she would be known by.  So people tend to, as a natural thing, people tend to remember the negative qualities about someone before they remember the positive.

They will remember the personality traits very, very strongly.  So it really is – I’ve heard my guides in their own way; in their own language, talk to the spirit and say, “Bring through that personality they would know.”  So many times – and this is a great one.  For instance, you were at a demonstration that I did in Boston.

And if you remember, I think his name was Tony, or Joey, and it was the last message I brought through for this – I think it was his sister, and he was very much like Jersey Shore, Italian Guido kind of guy and he talked like that.  And he came through to me very clearly like, “How you doin’?”  And, “I was a heroin addict, and yeah I shot up.”

Now I’m thinking oh my God.  Me, as James, would never do this.  But that personality was so strong and he had come through and I let him come through and he came through so strong that the person in the audience identified him.  Now, that’s how he’d be known in his last lifetime.  Is he still like that?  Well, that’s an aspect of his soul, but that’s a very small personality aspect of that soul.  The soul’s much bigger than just that little thing.  So don’t think of that person as that’s who the soul is.  That’s only a small aspect of that soul.

Bob Olson:  Yeah.  And a lot of times that’s just so family members can identify them.  And with that said, a lot of people ask, “Okay, my deceased grandmother didn’t speak English.”  So what happens?  Can you still communicate with that deceased grandmother?

James Van Praagh:  Sure.  Sure.  Language is of the physical world, this three dimensional world; language.  Thoughts are universal so they telepathically can send you information with a thought.  And I’ve worked all over the world.  I’ve worked in many, many countries and it’s always been telepathic; always; telepathic and sensing.  So I’ve never had a problem with that because that’s in the physical world.

Bob Olson:  And yet if they want to, they might be able to give you a word or two in their language to, again, help identify them, right?

James Van Praagh:  I spoke Portuguese.  I was giving Portuguese names out in Brazil.  I didn’t know any of these Portuguese names.  I didn’t even know what they were.  They said, “That’s his name.”  I’m like okay.  That’s a name?  “Yes, it’s Portuguese,” because they’d give me the sound.  You can hear the sounds of things.

Bob Olson:  Yeah, yeah.

James Van Praagh:  That happens quite a bit when I work with foreign countries.

Bob Olson:  I know that a lot of beginner mediums have difficulty shutting it off, you know, so that spirits aren’t constantly communicating with them.  I think it would be interesting for everybody to sort of know, how do you go about shutting them off, creating that boundary where I don’t want you bothering me 24 hours a day?

James Van Praagh:  Right.  It’s very interesting that mediums nowadays, mediums who are out there doing this work, I find – I’m going to make a general statement.  Forgive me but I’m going to.

I find that a lot of them are, number one, maybe not doing it for the right reason.  Number two, they’re not sitting long enough in development.  Number three, they think they’re going to be rich and famous.  That’s wrong.  So I think that it comes in why are they doing it?

It should only be of service to human beings.  They should sit for the right reason which is service.  You will not be rich being a medium.  It does not happen.  It won’t happen.  I was fortunate enough to write a book, which did really well, so financially I was fine from that.  But I still work.  I do it for the service.  Once you do the right work, the universe says yes.  We say no.  Our egos so no, but God always says yes.  I think if you do it for the right reason then things will be fine.

I think that you need to always, always sharpen your tool; always.  You always have to sharpen.  I mean you have to.  That’s why I’m still working.  I’m doing some more work, workshops and doing some private readings and different things because I have to sharpen my instrument.  Always, always you’ve got to work always.  I mean I wish I could be better than I am.

And you always have to have that sense of being better than you are.  On a daily basis you should meditate.  You should learn how to meditate properly.  You should go through the process of meditation and grounding yourself and learning how to shut off the energy centers; how to open them up when you’re about to do the work and how to close them down when you’re finished.

And when you close down that connection with the spirit, you’re done; you’re finished; you’re finished.  You should not open that up again until you sit down to do the work.  And that’s true for everybody.  If you’re walking around and you’re always open, it’s going to affect you on a health level as well because it will drain your prana; the energy of life.

So people need to know the process to do it.  I have on my website a wonderful tool that people can download, and it’s developing your intuition with meditations.  It’s a couple of classes that people have loved and it’s a ten-week class, which they can go to as long as they want.  They can stay in one lesson for two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, and then go to the next lesson.

So it’s things like that.  I put that out there for this very reason.  Budding mediums don’t know the proper process.

Bob Olson:  I was going to say because I saw this online course I think would be really important for people.  And this is one of the things that you cover is how they can shut it off; turn it on and shut it off.  Let’s just talk about some of the other courses you have.  You have one on meditation, correct?

James Van Praagh:  Correct.  There are several on meditation; divine love; on healing and forgiveness; empowering your intuition.  I have a bunch of meditations, and they are the ones that I’ve worked on for many, many years and some of them I’ve had developed for two years, and they’re very effective, and people have given five stars across the board.  I feel like you have to give back to people and this information is knowledge.  It’s not just for me.  It’s knowledge that I’ve attained from spirit, from my teachers, to give out to other people, to share it, to share it, to share it, and that’s what it’s about.

Bob Olson:  And I know meditation has been important to you in your own life and one of the reasons you have books and online courses that people can help to learn how to meditate themselves and even meditate better.  But I also recognize, I’ve been to two events of yours in the last year and you walked the audiences through a meditation just to get them in the right energy, right; the right mood?

James Van Praagh:  Yes.  Not many mediums will do that.  Actually, I don’t know any other mediums that do, do that.  I went to England with Toby Stockwell, who is a great medium over there, and he just said, he goes, “I just deliver messages,” and I was shocked.  I was like, “Wow.”  I wasn’t trained that way.  The way I was trained – and most British mediums do that.  They just go out and do that.

But the way I was trained, for me, is I go out and I kind of meld the energy of the people together.  I do it for that reason.  Number two, it’s for the atmosphere; clean the atmosphere, change the atmosphere.  And also, another reason I do that is to show people that they can meditate and connect them to their own power because a lot of people don’t know who they are.  A lot of people don’t know what their power is.

And it’s a way that I can help them to really reach in and acknowledge their power and that they can use that every single day.  It’s a tool I give them.  They can leave that evening, that demonstration, knowing that they can go to that space, go into that center, get into that power of space, and always have that in their lives.  And when you come from a place of power, it’s a lot easier in life.

Bob Olson:  Yeah, wow, I know I need to meditate more.

James Van Praagh:  Yes you do Bob, and I was just going to tell you about that.

Bob Olson:  Well I appreciate you holding it back on that one.  But, yes, I totally agree.  Alright, I just have a few more questions.  One is how do you tell the difference between a psychic and a mediumistic message?  So a message is coming in, how do you know if it’s coming through you psychically or through spirit communication?

James Van Praagh:  Great question and I’m going to tell you that there are a lot of mediums out there who are just psychics and they have the name medium.  And there’s another term out there, which I hate, called psychic medium.  Well, that doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s an oxymoron because I’m hoping the medium is psychic because otherwise, hello, that’s the basic groundwork.

In order for a medium to be a medium you first have to have a high level of intuition.  You have to be able to intuitive read someone on a psychic level.  And then you tune into a higher frequency which is mediumship.  So I would hope that they’re psychic.  So saying psychic medium to me is like what does that mean?  I hope they can.

The difference between a psychic and a medium just first of all, a psychic is somebody, like every single person is psychic from one degree or another; we’re all intuitive.  If someone’s able to read energy; energy are molecules that vibrate at a certain rate of speed so the person’s able to read that energy from the past, present or future.

A medium is someone who’s not only able to tune in on that level of energy; the past present future, but they can tune into a higher level of frequency and be the in-between on those higher levels of spirit and the lower levels of the physical.  And they’re the instrument that’s able to bring through evidential details.

A medium brings through evidential details: names, places, events, situations, memories that only the person from spirit and the person receiving the message would know about.  I’ve seen mediums stand up there and say – and here’s the difference.  I’ll show you the difference.

A medium will say, “You’re a lovely person.  I see that you’re working very hard in your job.  There’s a lady at your job that you’re having trouble with and that’s going to change in the month of April.  That will change because she’s going to get fired,” and, “oh, you’re going to get married at the end of April as well.”  That is a psychic reading.

That is a medium who is resting on their laurels if I say so because they’re giving them a psychic reading, not a mediumship reading.  The difference in mediumship reading them would be, “Hello, I have your father here.  His name is Max.  He tells me that he died in 1978 and he used to drive an Impala, brown Impala station wagon, and he has a memory of you in the backseat with a beach ball.

And he’s watching over work with you and he’s there behind you and you have a picture of him on the desk on the left side.”  That’s a mediumship reading as opposed to a psychic reading.  And I’ve seen many mediums fall back into the intuition.  It’s easy to do that, but it’s lazy mediumship.

Bob Olson:  Good to know.  Similar question then, how do you know which message is coming from which spirit?  I’ve had readings with mediums where they’ll give me a message and I’ll say, “Who did that come from?”  Because it makes a difference if it came from my father or my aunt and they don’t know.  Way too often they don’t know.  Is there any advice?

James Van Praagh:  Yeah.  They should drop out and become librarians I think.  I mean, gosh, part of being a medium is being able to differentiate the spirit.  And I understand because when I work it is like air traffic control because sometimes a door opens and you have several spirits at once.  And you only being a human being, can really only differentiate one from the other.

But, listen, just like in a group when you have a party and there’s one person that talks and another person talks on top of that person.  You’re hearing several voices.  That does happen in mediumship, so I’m going to grant that, and I’m going to give that to most mediums.  At the same time, I will say, the medium really needs to perfect their abilities in that they know they can recognize what energy that is coming from.

Does that energy feel like it’s coming from the father’s energy that’s saying that?  Do you hear the father’s voice?  Is the position of the father behind you over here and you’re getting it there for the information or is it a woman who is standing in front of you?  Where is it coming from?  That’s really very much a pinpointing.  It’s pinpointing exactly where you’re hearing it from and that comes with development.

That comes with development, development, development.  It really does.  I’ve been doing this for 30 years.  I still do get that sometimes, too, where I’m hearing something over here and something over here because they’re jumping on top of each other.  That does happen.  You can’t control that, but at least you can do the best you can as far as your discernment between the spirits.

Bob Olson:  Yeah.  Well, I mean I think I asked you pretty much every question that I wanted to ask you and…

James Van Praagh:  You have one more you have not asked me, but the answer is yes.

Bob Olson:  What’s the question?

James Van Praagh:  You’ll have to psychically think about that one.

Bob Olson:  Alright.  I’ll take the course and see how I do with that.  But listen, thank you so much for sharing this amazing information.  I recognize that in your answers and in your work I noticed, too, the 30 years working in this field shows up.  It really does actually make a big difference in experience.  It shows how much experience really helps.

Also, I know you’ve honed your craft as much as you possibly can.  And you’re still trying as you point out; always trying to get better.  That’s a sign of what?  I don’t know.  A Virgo?

James Van Praagh:  Perfectionist, control freak, I don’t know.

Bob Olson:  But I want people to, if they want more information about your online courses, about your events, I highly recommend people go to one of your events.  Now you do large events like I was talking about.  You also do events where it’s limited to 150 people.  That’s in California, right?

James Van Praagh:  It’s in California, but I’m going to go across the country so I’ll be doing some in Florida and some in Texas, some in Massachusetts, some in Chicago, so I’ll be doing it around the country.  If it’s so successful in California, and if a lot of people from around the country are saying please come here, right now, literally, we’re checking out places to have them.

So we’re going to be doing some other groups around the country.  So look at my Facebook and my website to find out the information.

Bob Olson:  Alright and the website is  Anyways, underneath this video people are going to be able to read all the bio about you with all the links to your website and everything else.  Again, thank you very much and I hope you’ll come back.  I want to interview you about so many other things.  So I hope you’ll come back in the future.

James Van Praagh:  I’ll be around.

Bob Olson:  Not going anywhere?  Thank you so much, James.

James Van Praagh:  Thanks Bob.  Appreciate it.

Bob Olson:  Bye now.

James Van Praagh:  Bye.


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