James Van Praagh is a world-famous medium who is renowned for conveying messages and conversations between the physical and spiritual realms. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Reaching To Heaven and Talking To Heaven, which sold close to 600,000 copies in hardcover. Although he was raised a Roman Catholic and even entered a seminary at 14, he soon found that "spirituality" was more compelling than "religion." He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in broadcasting and communication, then moved to Los Angeles, where at age 24, he met a medium who told him that within two years, he himself would become clairvoyant. Van Praagh's psychic sensitivity increased, and he began to receive messages from the beyond. He now lives in Southern California but travels throughout the country lecturing, giving demonstrations, and spreading the knowledge of life after death. In addition, he conducts specialized tours of spiritual centers around the world, including in Brazil, Egypt, and Mexico.
Lecturer, nationally known medium, and president of Spiritual Horizons in Los Angeles, Van Praagh conveys a strong message of the probability of life after death. He claims he is able to receive messages from dead loved ones and sees himself as a healer of grieving hearts. Here he tells moving stories of love and loss, and writes of relatives and friends of loved ones contacted who have left his sessions in peace, better able to understand the son who committed suicide or the relationship of AIDS in connection with the human race. Van Praagh claims everyone has an intuitive ability, and that with practice anyone can contact the "other side." He devotes a section to practicing meditation to open up that spiritual level. Written in a clear, honest style, this title captures the essence of mediumship. Recommended for public and academic libraries requiring basic information on this subject.‘Lisa S. Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, N.Y.
Communicating through a medium with lost loved ones can, according to Van Praagh, himself a medium, be a way for people stuck in the grieving process to work out their unresolved emotions. In his first book, the author sees heaven as a multidimensional world, permeated by "pure love," where spirits reside once they have left their physical bodies and before they take up new ones. Precise explanations of psychic phenomena are coupled with compelling stories of individual sessions of mental mediumship, which make up a good portion of the book: an elderly man celebrates his 50th anniversary with a deceased wife; a son dead from AIDS assures his parents of his well-being. Van Praagh claims that humans are all blessed with benevolent guides, and offers introductory meditation and psychic exercises to help the reader experience their presence. His suggestion that flickering light bulbs, scrambled TV pictures and telephone hang-ups are contacts from these guides may not, however, convince many readers. On the other hand, belief in the paranormal is not necessary to enjoy this book, or to appreciate the author's apparent commitment to rendering compassionate service to individuals in despair over unresolved emotional issues with deceased family members. (Nov.)