James Van Praagh, Psychic to the Stars, Confronted by "Zombies" in Laguna Beach

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James Van Praagh
Very out psychic James Van Praagh makes a living delivering live folks messages from dead loved ones.

But the frequent Chelsea Lately guest got more than he bargained for at a recent $100-a-head seminar in Laguna Beach, where he was confronted by "zombies" toting signs that read "Van Praaaaaaagh" and "Talk to us, we won't bite."

The undead were actually costumed actors hired by the James Randi Educational Foundation, which since "The Amazing Randi" founded it in 1996 has exposed "charlatans" and helped people "defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims."

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James Randi
The zombies wanted to know why Van Praagh has supposedly refused to accept the foundation's $1 million challenge to prove his claimed psychic medium abilities. According to foundation president D.J. Grothe, who was there, Van Praagh's representatives promised to get someone to talk with the group, but the someone turned out to be security guards who kicked them out.

"If James Van Praagh is making his living by faking psychic powers and pretending to speak to people's deceased family members, that's truly shameful," Grothe says in a foundation statement. "That's why we put a million dollars on the line and gave him the opportunity to prove he can really talk to dead people.

"It seems that when James Van Praagh is asked to prove his 'psychic' powers, even dead people get the silent treatment."

See the video of the undead encounter below:

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28 comments
Towers Victoria L
Towers Victoria L

 Ah, the ol' 'I don't agree with you so that automatically makes you ignorant and dishonest' mentality. It's very impressive how much you went out of your way to back up your opinion with, well, something... Oh, yeah, right - with nothing. Wow. How fortunate everyone is that you posted your thoroughly thought out and well considered wisdom here before we all keeled over dead from sheer stupidity. But what ever shall we do when you aren't there to keep us from bumping into the walls when it's dark out and there are no lights on in the house???? Seriously, you're the one who is in luck because you can find plenty to read and watch at Randi's website, and also others such as Quackwatch.org that give answers to the questions you've so intelligently, inquisitively and politely posed. Happy learning (or at least something constructive to ponder while you're warming the pew?).

Towers Victoria L
Towers Victoria L

 Shame on those who prey on the living by misleading and even lying, and shame on those who support them and would have the rest of hush up and let them do it without being held accountable.

Pranqustre.
Pranqustre.

Suggestion: Pay the ticket price for volunteer actors. Go in w/ hidden disguises and disrupt on camera while he is committing the fraud. Better video/story perhaps. 

Eatme
Eatme

Randi you are so corrupt and a phony Why are you still alive I don't know. You are a huge hypocrite who depends on stupid people who think you are so honest. Who pays you anyways? The challenge is an empty promise.. Who believes randi? Ignorant only.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Now kids, if "religious" folk can bilk people out of their hard-earned money then why can't the so-called "psychics" do it as well? Seriously, what's the difference?

Atheistathlete
Atheistathlete

The article got one thing wrong. We weren't hired actors, we were volunteers :)

Miguel Picanço
Miguel Picanço

I'm really excited about this new approach against frauds and parasites

Thomas
Thomas

Van Praagh should be ashamed of himself for taking advantage of grieving families with cheap magic tricks.

Carrie Poppy
Carrie Poppy

Love it! Cute joke with a serious message: prove you can talk to dead people, or stop taking money from their grieving survivors.

Torg T. Robot
Torg T. Robot

Sylvia Browne, Uri Geller, and many others have run away from Randi's challenge.  Others, such as Derek Ogilvie, who claimed to read the minds of babies, took the challenge and failed.  These famous psychics won't take the challenge because it tends to ruin their careers!

Kidscansail
Kidscansail

AMEN!  Thanks for your comment  ... I think this guy might be made of stone but I'm not so sure all the people who work for Randi are stupid, but definenitly terribly ignorant ...  

Kidscansail
Kidscansail

Sorry to hear from so many skeptics here!  James Van Praagh has far too much integrity to accept any amount of money to prove anything to some closed off intellect who bases his reality on what he "see's, smells and  feel.s"  Unless you've actually seen James in person and heard the amazing things he tells people which brings them comfor or not,and  for some,the closure they are seeking, perhaps you folks out there that know nothing about nothing do a little more research on the subject. We know we all have a "mind" but have never actually seen it, but we as human beings all operate from this mind.  Even the surgeon has never seen the "mind" but we do know it is somewhere in the brain.  We know there is wind, but actually do not see it, but instead we feel it or see the trees sway from it, but still we do not see it.. We know there is a vast galaxy "out" there but have never actually seen beyond the point of which our eyes can see.  Energy exists in all of us, as that is exactly what we are ... we have enough energy in each one of  us to light up the entire city of New York. That is a scientific fact.  Those  "na- sayers" out there in the world can believe in whatever they wish, but to criticize what they have no idea about is sheer ignorance.i would suggest to find something more constructive to do. When is the last time any of you "nay-sayers" saw an "atom?" or the nucleus within it? Or the brilliant light that is finally seen by the naked eye once the atom is split apart with a powerful microscope.  There are many mysteries in life ...   if you do not like what James Van Praagh does for a living, by all means do not seek him out... belive in your own limitations if that is what makes you happy. There are so many other things to "yelp" about and criticize ...

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

I meant actors in the sense that you were posing as zombies and were not really the undead. Sorry to offend.

Mike V
Mike V

I doubt Van Praagh can feel shame at this point.

Bill T.
Bill T.

In the mean time the $million goes unclaimed.  Yawn.

What's the big deal? Prove that you can perform some psychic ability, claim a million bucks (loosely paraphrased, I haven't looked at the actual offer lately). Easy peasy.

Poster
Poster

The Randi Foundation may have some value in critiquing and exposing claims. However I can't believe playing practical jokes on people is a tax-exempt charitable activity.  Sounds more like bullying. That's not independent, educational information sharing.

Rick Pikul
Rick Pikul

Van Praagh does nothing more than a stock cold reading.  He doesn't tell people anything, he gets them to tell him things then parrots it back as if he has it in the first place.  Anyone can do it, and anyone who pays attention to these scam artists can see that they are doing it.

If he had integrity he would be more than willing to prove he can do what he claims to do.  His hiding from the challenge just shows that he lacks integrity, testicular fortitude or both.

Torgtrobot
Torgtrobot

"costumed actors hired by the James Randi Educational Foundation,"

Matt, you are being evasive by pretending that you only meant to characterize the participants as 'actors' instead of 'real zombies'.  You didn't even bother to address the issue of 'hired' vs. 'volunteer', which is the issue here.  The word 'hired' implies they were paid, which is a significant distortion and mischaracterizes the motivations of the volunteers.  It also unfairly implies that donations to the JREF are used to fund these activities.

Just apologize and update the story; it is a simple mistake and besides, I'm sure the JREF is just happy you covered this in the first place.

UrWrstNghtMre1
UrWrstNghtMre1

There's a difference between a not-for-profit organization and a charity.

Shaun Mason
Shaun Mason

If Van Praaaaaaaagh had nothing to hide, they would let the JREF people in and talk to them.  Using humor to expose idiocy is freedom of speech and very American.

public bizmail
public bizmail

Please learn to read.  The event crashed was a " $100-a-head seminar".    The Charitable Foundation is _Randi's_, as in the " James Randi Educational Foundation".    

Education foundation was doing it's job: exposing frauds. In this case, someone preying on the bereaved.

Randilikescock
Randilikescock

None But you are not seeing who is the con artist. He dupes you while pointing the finger at others. Smoke screen at it's finest. I know him.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Because he won't submit to an inquiry by knowledgeable people? Given the opportunity, I would wager CASH MONEY, giving odds (say 1:5), that the guy couldn't pass an investigation by experts on cold reading, etc. Heck, Randi is betting $1,000,000 the guy is a fake. I'd say that's putting his money where his mouth is.

Kidscansail
Kidscansail

Why don't  YOU prove that he does what you call a "stock cold reading" Mr. Pikul? Just curious about this ...

Bill T.
Bill T.

Cite one example of Randi duping people.

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