A psychic claims his paranormal abilities enable him to contact the spirits of the dead.
On April 24, 1994, in Burbank, California, a collage of photographs celebrated the brief life of a young man named Don Raskin. One week earlier, the 32-year-old brilliant attorney and accomplished outdoorsman had fallen to his death while climbing Mount Fuji in Japan. Doug’s parents, Sue and Don Raskin, were shattered by his untimely death. Sue searched for answers:
But Don wasn’t so sure:
Before their meeting with James Van Praagh, the Raskins gave the psychic no details whatsoever about themselves or their son. Throughout the reading, the Raskins were impressed with Van Praagh’s knowledge of their son’s death, but that wasn’t all that amazed Don:
James Van Praagh says he’s a clairsentient and clairvoyant:
For the Raskins, any residual doubts that they may have had were erased when Van Praagh spoke of another family tragedy that had occurred 33 years earlier: Sue’s miscarriage:
The session brought enormous comfort to Sue and Don, even though Van Praagh was not 100% correct. In fact, Sue felt that he had completely missed the mark when James told them that Doug liked the picture of himself taken at the base of Mt. Fuji. According to Sue, they knew of no such picture:
As it turned out, Doug’s climbing team had gone back to the spot where their friend perished and found his camera. Inside the package was the exact photograph James Van Praagh had talked about.
Does James Van Praagh have genuine psychic abilities that allowed him to communicate with the dead? Unsolved Mysteries invited 10 people to a session with Van Praagh. None had ever seen or talked with him before. They all hoped, however, to make contact with specific loved ones who had passed away. The session lasted several hours.
Van Praagh was unaware that a skeptic had been planted in the group. The man, Professor Michael Shermer, investigated claims about psychic phenomena:
Van Praagh explained how his abilities worked:
Stan Wheel attended the séance with his wife, Theresa. They intentionally sat on opposite sides of the room. The Wheels came to the session hoping to find out about their 19-year-old son Kevin, who had been innocently gunned down by gang members in a drive-by shooting in 1991. Though Stan was skeptical, Theresa was amazed by the reading:
Skeptic Michael Shermer explained how Van Praagh knew about the Wheel’s son:
However, Theresa claimed Van Praagh could not have seen the ring because she kept it hidden in her dress. But perhaps disagreements about details are beside the point. Six of the ten participants felt Van Praagh correctly identified the people that they had hoped to contact, and most felt a sense of comfort and healing. For Van Praagh, that’s enough: