In early 1998, I was working at Barnes & Noble and so was frequently up on what the best selling books of the day were. Several people came up to me over a period of a week or two asking about a book called "Talking to Heaven". They must've seen him on Larry King or something. The book wound up being a huge best-seller and was turned into a TV-movie starring Ted Danson which premiered to huge ratings.
I didn't buy "Talking to Heaven" when it was initially released. I finally got around to it when B&N had it for sale on the clearance shelfs a few years later (I bought his second book "Reaching to Heaven" the same way). Over the years, I've seen him numerous times on "Larry King" and have to admit that I am a great believer in what he does. He was apparently going to be doing some "I see dead people" readings during his workshop that evening. Should be a good time, I thought.
Shortly after 8, one of the ladies putting on the conference introduced James and out he came. He was very funny, making light of being vertically challenged ("I'll sit down now...or did you think I was already sitting down?"). He first talked about how as a young child, he became aware of his abilities, but then squelched them feeling they were more trouble than they were worth. On one fateful night, however, he was dragged to a psychic medium who told him that one day he would be a medium as well. He didn't believe it at the time, but look at him now. He goes much more extensively into this in his books.
He talked about how he came up with the idea for the TV show Ghost Whisperer or as he sometimes calls it Boob Whisperer (a reference to Jennifer Love's ample cleavage).
He said she doesn't mind when he refers to the show in this way.
Shortly after 9, James said it was now time to do readings. He had everyone close their eyes and then told the women to open their purses. He was going to do a magic trick involving money. No, some music was played and we all became very relaxed. Upon opening our eyes, James had grown 5 inches! The women swooned. The readings were everything I had hoped for. I'd never been to an actual one before. He really was on fire, getting a ridiculously high percentage of hits. It really was something to behold. The lecture was scheduled to end at 10, but James was allowed to continue for another half hour.
There was this one tough dude that came through for someone and James didn't want to say two words that were being expressed to him in regards to the dead man's family. The audience said they wouldn't mind if he said them and with that, he said sheepishly, "He's telling me, 'Fuck 'em'" There were audible gasps as many in the crowd did not expect to hear such vulgarity coming from a keynote speaker. No, they ate it up.
A lady that lives near Ground Zero said that she constantly sees spirits in the evening when she's trying to sleep. A man that had passed on expressed to his wife that he sits in their old recliner from time to time and helps her solve the crossword puzzles she works on each day. She said she was wondering how she had gotten so much better at them in the last couple years.
Around 10:30, James closed and an announcement was made that he would be signing books immediately after. Just as I did with Deepak the night before, I took the liberty of taking his pic while he was signing, but it didn't quite go as planned. I took a pic of him, looked at it, saw it was distorted, deleted it, and then took another. Same thing happened. I did this again and again and again. I took 5 pics of him and every one was distorted! I decided to take a pic of my wife to ensure there wasn't anything going on with the camera. Nope, the pic of her was crystal clear. I was going, "WTF", but then realized that if what he says is true, there must be spirits all around him. I had no such problem with any of the other authors that weekend. Course, none of the other authors were psychic. Submitted below are two of the pics:
My wife and I discussed the distorted pics with a couple female attendees nearby before heading back to our room.
Excerpted from "My Experience at Celebrate Your Life 2008"