James van Praagh Can’t Talk to Dead People

Con artist James van Praagh says he can talk to dead people once they’ve “crossed over”… but for some reason, he has trouble speaking to zombies when they’re a few feet away from him.

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) brought a small horde of costumed ‘zombies,’ carrying signs reading “Van Praaaaaaagh” and “talk to us, we won’t bite.” The zombies shambled up to the building where Van Praagh’s “Spirit Circle” was set to begin, and asked to speak with him. Led by JREF President D.J. Grothe, the groups asks why Van Praagh is dodging questions about whether he’ll accept the Foundation’s million-dollar challenge to prove his claimed abilities.

Of course, van Praagh has everything to lose by putting his “powers” to the test since the people who visit him care little for “evidence.” These are people who are clinging to any possible hope there’s some way to communicate with their deceased loved ones and van Praagh thinks the best response to them is to take their money instead of being honest with them. It’s despicable.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Sailor

    “It’s despicable” no, He’s dispicable.

    • Anonymous

      No, he’s despicable.  (unless there’s a joke here I’m missing)

  • Viking

    It’s people like van Praagh that slows down human evolusion, if it wernt for religion, “paranormals” and other fairitayls humankind vould prbebly  solvd most of our enegy-, polution and hunger problems by now. The people that claim to be pshykick are delsional or only in it for the money.

    • Spencer

      GTFO troll.

      • Seth

        How  is he a troll?

        • Spencer

          All those spelling errors can’t be unintentional. Maybe ze’s just not good at English, but whenever I see something like that, I instantly think ‘troll’.

          • Anonymous

            If you’re going to criticize someone’s spelling errors, it’s best not to have any of your own.

            • Spencer

              wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutral_pronoun

            • Spencer

              Plus, it’s not just the obviously intentional spelling errors, it’s also the message that all our problems would be solved if we didn’t have religion and superstition. You guys are really bad at detecting Poes. :|

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

        Spencer, aren’t you due back at Pharyngula right about now..?

        • Spencer

          Is that supposed to be some sort of lame insult?

  • Michael

    I’d be impressed by a scientific experiment which could properly investigate this. I mean for starters you’d need to confirm that the test subject would be willing to participate in your experiment after they were dead and that the experience of dying wouldn’t change their mind or bias them in any way.

    I suppose you’d need to bribe them. If they assist and the result is positive, they get to make one request which may take up to 30% of the money, at any time in their first year of death.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      Silly man, isn’t it obvious that after death people become biased in a way that makes them want to help con artists rip off the people closest to them.

  • Rocket1957

    These fakers should be exposed for hoaxes they are. What ever happened to the Trade Descriptions Act ?lol. James Van Conman 

  • Gm2

    Ehhh, sure he’s lying, and you can’t speak to the dead (they are, after all…dead), but if people want to give him money in exchange for closure or peace of mind or whatever, then that’s their business.

    • Guest

      I suppose we shouldn’t try and stop the Nigerian Bank scammers either, after all, if you give them money then it’s your business? Maybe we shouldn’t try and stop rogue tradesmen either because if you pay them and then they don’t actually do the work they say they are going to do, it’s also your business? Of course with that attitude these scumbags just keep going and keep scamming people who are unaware that they are scammers – until it’s too late.

  • Ida Know

    Of course James Van Praagh can talk to dead people.

    So can I.  Hi, Mom and Dad!  See?  I just talked to two dead people.

    The difference is, I don’t claim that they talk to me, and I don’t use that claim to prey on the gullible.


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