Supposed “spiritualists” or “mediums” like John Edward of the cable show “Crossing Over” and James Van Praagh claim they can communicate with the dead.

However, they actually seem to be little more than clever tricksters and showmen.

But that doesn’t stop television producers from promoting their claims without any meaningful critical balance.

Van Praagh even generated a TV mini series starring Ted Danson and now also has his own syndicated show titled “Beyond”.

What the two men really appear to be good at is something called “cold,” “warm” and/or “hot” readings, reports the New Zealand Herald.

What this means is that rather than communicating with the dead, pros like Edward are clever questioners and most often initially offer rather general answers that would apply to almost anyone. This doesn’t require any special “gift.”

Edward and Van Praagh employ a Q and A process that solicits enough detailed information from a respondent to produce a “warmer” and/or “hot” reading with more specific answers. It’s dubious entertainment, but nothing supernatural.

Both men know there is big bucks doing such work.

Edward has parlayed his act into a lucrative cable deal and now so has Van Praagh. They both also do private readings, which provides additional income.

It’s sad to see people seemingly exploited by what critical analysis could readily expose as little more than a sideshow or “con.”

However, people want to believe. It comforts those that want closure or contact with a loved one who is gone. Edward and Van Praagh largely tell individuals and the audience what they want to hear, which makes them feel good.

But have the networks that promote these shows “crossed over” the line ethically?

What meaningful critical balance do they offer viewers regarding these supernatural shows, which are essentially presented as fact?

It is very rare to see the same networks that feature these spiritualists, offer any substantial skeptical inquiry concerning their claims, even though Edward and Van Praagh can easily be debunked.

But of course, why do that when it would only hurt ratings?


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