Psychics TV takes shows beyond the physical

El Paso Times, Aug. 3, 2002
Maribel Villalva
El Paso Times

On one show, viewers can witness a man as he relays messages from the dead to their loved ones still living.

On another show, a woman translates the feelings of animals into a language humans can understand.

Welcome to the television world of sixth-sense communication.

They’re not your typical prime-time shows or self-help programs, but shows featuring psychics are growing in popularity — shows like “Crossing Over with John Edward” on the Sci-Fi Channel and “The Pet Psychic” featuring Sonya Fitzpatrick on Animal Planet

“These shows couldn’t exist 10 years ago,” said Paul Shavelson, one of the executive producers of “Crossing Over.” “We have seen television evolve from a fantasy-based industry to a reality-based industry. There is nothing as real as death, and ‘Crossing Over’ deals with our loved ones who have died.”

New shows will soon hit airwaves as well. “Beyond with James Van Praagh” will debut the week of Sept. 16. It has not yet been picked up by an El Paso station. Praagh is also a psychic medium who claims to communicate with the deceased.

As with anything else that focuses on the supernatural, there are both believers and nonbelievers. Just as these shows have strong followings, there are also people who choose to change the channel.

“People who open themselves up to that kind of stuff are opening the door for the enemy, the devil, to destroy their lives,” said Judy Russell, a pastor at Jesus Chapel.

All of the people involved in the television shows agree that they have a mission of good will — to bring comfort to people.

But the thought of someone communicating with the dead or with animals is frightening to Pastor Russell. She said she is not the least bit curious about the shows and would encourage anyone to change the channel.

“Psychics are operating with a demonic spirit,” Russell said. “The Bible strictly prohibits us from consulting with any kind of palm readers, curanderos or mediums.”

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