I am often asked if I was born a medium or if I was transformed into one by a terrible illness, or a freak accident that caused some sort of head trauma, or a near-death experience. As hair-raising as those possibilities may be, I cannot claim any one of them as the dramatic moment that introduced me to my life's work.
I am not unlike anyone else. We are all born with some level of psychic ability. The question is: Do we recognize our psychic abilities and act upon them? Like many others, I didn't know what it meant to have psychic ability. It was probably on some TV game show that I first heard the term "psychic." I was lucky enough to pronounce it, let alone understand its definition. It was a word that came closest to explaining why I knew things about people when they walked into a room. It was also the reason my first-grade Catholic school teacher kept me after school one day.
Lunch break was over, and all the kids were heading back to the classroom. I had just put away my Yogi Bear lunch box when my teacher, Mrs. Weinlick, walked into the room. Our eyes met, and a feeling of sadness instantly came over me. Then I walked up to her and said, "Everything is going to be all right. John broke his leg." She looked at me with a cross expression and said, "What are you talking about?" I replied, "John was hit by a car, but he is okay. He just broke his leg." Well, I thought her eyes were going to pop straight out of her head. She pointed to my seat and told me to sit in it for the rest of the day. About an hour later, the principal came to the door and spoke with Mrs. Weinlick. Suddenly, Mrs. Weinlick panicked, turned white, and ran out of the room screaming.
The next day Mrs. Weinlick seemed to be back to her normal self, except that she did not stop staring at me the whole day. She asked me to stay after school so she could talk to me. God bless her! It was her talk that introduced me to my psychic ability. It seemed that on the previous day, her son John was hit by a car, but, miraculously, he had just broken his leg. She asked me: "How did you know it was going to happen?" I didn't know how to answer her. I just knew it. I had a sense about it. She stared at me, and I started to cry. Was I responsible for creating this accident and maiming her son?
Well, needless to say, she calmed me down and told me not to get upset. "Many children and grown-up people know things before they happen," noted Mrs. Weinlick. She said that I was "one of God's messengers" and that God had given me a special gift. She continued, "So that one day you could help people." She told me not to ever feel bad about things I might see in my mind. "You are special," she said. But she warned me to be careful with whom I share my specialness.
That was my first explanation of psychic ability. When I look back on that time, I am grateful to Mrs. Weinlick for explaining it to me. It was an aid to me in so many ways. If I had had a nun for my homeroom teacher instead of a layperson, my life might have turned out a lot differently.
Today, I fully understand my ability to see and feel things that are not of this physical world. Often referred to as a sixth sense, psychic ability is also known as intuition, gut feeling, a hunch, or a certain knowingness one has about something. And all of us use this ability every day without even knowing it. For instance, how many times have you thought of someone, and minutes later the phone rings and that person is on the other end of the line? Or you get a hunch to switch lanes in traffic, and you find out further along the way that there was an accident in the other lane. Perhaps you get a feeling on the way to work that the boss is going to be in a bad mood, and sure enough you get to work and it's true. How many times have you been thinking of a song, and minutes later you hear it on the radio? These are all examples of psychic ability. Where does this sixth sense come from? In Greek, the word psychic means "of the soul." When we use our psychic ability, we are tuning into the energy of the soul, or the natural life force that permeates every living creature.
As infants, we are even more psychic than we are as adults -- maybe not more psychic but more open to our psychic senses. Not only because we are still very close to the other side of life but also because our speech and thoughts are not developed so we have to rely on our feelings, or our sensing, to relate to the physical world. We have all seen a baby start to cry when held by one person and stop immediately when held by another. The baby surely senses a more harmonious or safer vibration with the second individual. That is why babies always want their mothers. A strong psychic link exists between a mother and her baby. How often will a mother run into the baby's room knowing she is needed just as her baby wakes up? This link continues to grow stronger and stronger, and soon a mother just senses her baby's needs without any verbal signals from the child at all.
Psychic energy is also at work in the plant and animal kingdoms. Plants are extremely sensitive and often thrive very nicely when they sense a gentle and friendly environment in which they are cared for and feel loved. This reminds me of a very interesting story. When I was working a regular nine-to-five job, I drove a coworker home one day. As I sat in her apartment, I heard a very high-pitched sound. This screaming vibration was all around me. It was as if someone was hurt and crying for help. I looked around and finally realized what it was. All of the plants in her apartment were dried up and dying. They were screaming for water. I immediately told the woman, and she informed me that she hadn't watered them for over two weeks.
The idea of plants screaming might seem strange to many. To those, I suggest reading books on the subject, especially one called The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins. We must realize that the magic of LIFE comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes, even plants. We can learn more about these life-forms if we take the time to listen and open up to our own psychic ability and to the energies all around us.
Besides the plant kingdom, animals are known to rely on a sixth sense. Witness the behavior of your own Fido or Kitty. How often have you seen a dog cower or bark relentlessly when it meets a certain individual? Or how it tends to stick around one person more than another while roaming around a room full of people. Or, during natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes, an animal tends to become restless and disoriented, and often hides in a closet or underneath furniture. The animal is not getting the news from the TV set like us. It just knows. Usually animals sense a disaster before it strikes. They are highly sensitive to human anxiety as well. If you want to know a weather forecast, observe the nearby cattle. Before a storm, cows can often be found lying down on the grass. Throughout creation, animals have depended on their psychic sense or instinct to assist them in protecting themselves and sustaining life.
I Want to See God for Myself
Even before I thought about my psychic ability, I used to think a lot about the existence of God. Although I was raised Catholic and attended nine years of Catholic school, I found the Catholic view of God to be too limited and unrealistic. We had to believe in a deity on blind faith, and that confused me all the more. I was plagued with questions like: How do we know God really exists? Has anyone ever seen God? How does God make things from nothing? Who wrote the stories in the Bible, and are they true?
As much as I wanted to believe in the God molded by the rituals and laws of the Church, I did not feel a personal experience of God inside me. Was it my duty simply to live out this daily ceremony? I felt I was missing a piece of the puzzle. Had the nuns kept something from me? Did I miss something at mass that everyone else had picked up on? Was I the only one to question their beliefs? The request seemed simple enough in my young mind: If there is a God, please show me proof.
My prayer was answered when I was eight years old. I was lying in bed early one morning when I felt a strong gust of cold wind blow across my face. I pulled the blankets closer to me and looked over to my bedroom window. It was tightly shut. As I tried to figure out how that gust of wind got in my room, I looked up and saw a large hand, palm down, coming from the ceiling. The hand glowed with a pulsating white light. I was mesmerized, but somehow unafraid. I didn't understand what was happening, but perhaps because I was a child, I had no fear. I was willing to accept the image I was seeing as real. I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of peace, love, and joy. Although there was no booming voice of God (as often described in the Bible) to answer my questions or reveal my destiny, I knew that this vision was God. I also knew that I would do whatever was necessary to experience that joyful feeling again. I began to understand that there was much more to life than what I had been taught and what I could see through my physical eyes.
The illuminated hand of God was my first clairvoyant experience, and though the impact was impressive, I never mentioned it to anyone. I felt it was my secret and that no one would believe me anyway. Later, I would learn much more about clairvoyance, when the mind is impressed with various images, shapes, scenes, spirits, faces, and remote locations not visible to the physical eye. For example, before falling asleep at night, a number of different forms, faces, and scenarios are seen or played out in our mind's eye. Clairvoyance is similar to seeing these pictures in our mind. I will explain clairvoyance further in chapter 2.
Copyright © 1997 by James Van Praagh