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Excerpted from Talking to Heaven by James Van Praagh. Copyright 1999 by James Van Praagh. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"We are all born with some level of psychic ability. The question is: Do we recognize our psychic abilities and act upon them?"

James Van Praagh
Talking to Heaven
, Part 1

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?

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