A self-proclaimed psychic, who won’t even get tested properly for his “skills”, starts an online school to teach others.
After thirty-five years of talking to the dead on television, radio, and through live demonstrations, New York Times bestselling author, psychic medium and spiritual teacher James Van Praagh is making dreams come true for his students and fans. In May of 2015, Van Praagh launched The James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts, an online academy where students can tap into their psychic, intuitive, healing and mediumistic abilities, and be personally guided and mentored by the popular medium.
Yep, even you can become a Certified Psychic Intuitive Messenger! According to the website:
Over 8 Enlightening Weeks, you’ll:
- Learn how to expertly read energy and auras.
- Become a master at using key psychic tools for reading energy.
- Access the intuitive guidance you need to make important life decisions.
- Perfect your ability to give accurate, life-changing readings to others.
- Step onto your highest path and deepen your spiritual connection.
- Uncover your unique psychic strengths through fun, enlightening exercises.
- Discover how to use the magic of color to deepen your reading abilities.
- Get insider secrets to building a successful spiritual business.
- Gain confidence in your abilities through secret exercises James personally uses.
The price for an online course in woo-woo nonsense? $1600. But enter today and get half-off! Puhleeze.
The questions that arise from the intended goals of the course just overwhelm me; I wouldn’t know where to begin. I sure do wonder what the purpose is of the “licensing agreement” you must sign to complete the course? Is that part of the “secrets” to building a spiritual business? He should know.
I will not be surprised if people buy into this in the hundreds. It sounds wonderful. Van Praagh’s beliefs are rainbow-bright, New Agey, feel-good religious hooey. Here is an excerpt from E-Skeptic about his foundation:
Each of us is an eternal soul that reincarnates on the earth, and on other planets and in other dimensions, in order to learn all the lessons a soul’s got to know. These lessons are, predictably, things like patience and humility, and not things like how to make napalm or take the temperature of a cat. The ultimate lesson is that “we are all love created by Love,” and once we’ve figured out what the hell that could possibly mean, we achieve enlightenment. Our karma guides us reliably to the perfect body in which to learn that next big life lesson, but before we reincarnate, we plan out our next life with others in our soul group. The soul group is composed of souls that share the same electromagnetic frequency and is divided into soul families that are made up of soul mates and others who interact with us on a daily basis. We make soul pacts with these people, meaning that we promise to help them to achieve their goals in their upcoming existence. Thus everything is planned, nothing is an accident, and no one ever dies before it is time.
People who never learned critical thinking might eat this right up.
Michael Shermer exposes James Van Praagh and discusses some of the techniques ‘psychics’ use to ‘talk’ to the dead in Talking Twaddle With the Dead.
When NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries had me sit in on a day of readings with Van Praagh in 1994, I kept a running tally of his ratio of hits to misses for each of the 10 subjects (one of whom was me). Being generous with what kind of information counted as a “hit,” Van Praagh averaged 5-10 hits for every 30 questions/statements, or 16-33%. For a 1998 ABC 20/20 show, I counted a much lower rate of about 2-3 hits for every 30 questions/statements, or a mere 6-10%. (Van Praagh was on an exhaustive book tour in which he had done dozens of readings and missed some obvious cues from his subjects that he normally would have caught.) After giving him the benefit of the doubt by using the higher percentage from Unsolved Mysteries, his hit rate of 16-33% was still significantly below that of roulette where the player wins almost half (47.4%) the time.
Unimpressive. But Shermer admits JVP is clever and theatrical which can win over followers.
So, JVP was an actor playing a medium at one point? Should we think that that is still going on or that he suddenly and mysteriously discovered special powers beyond normal people? And if these powers are special, how can he TEACH them? Nothing in his psychic career or TV shows or books or instruction plan would stand up to any scrutiny without dissolving.
Back in 2011, James Randi challenged Van Praagh take the Million Dollar Challenge. He didn’t. Why should he? He already makes millions. He had everything to lose, nothing to gain.
He should be Challenged because he is saying something huge — he is claiming to have abilities that are beyond our current knowledge and would revolutionize our understanding. Anyone who is so gifted has an obligation to humanity to help us all understand, but his refusal to allow scientists to study this “skill” is completely telling of his morality. Instead he charges you several hundred dollars to learn hogwash about “mystical arts”. That’s contemptable.
Tip: Ben Radford