All Souls, Ghost Whisperer to Rally Spirits Downtown
October 17, 2014
by Brad Poole
If you believe in ghosts, you’re probably gearing up for a fun month.
Halloween is, of course, coming up Oct. 31, and All Soul’s Procession will wind through Downtown a week later, collectively gettin’ its dead on and paying homage to all things gone but not forgotten. Most of us seem to rise up to honor the dead one way or another this time of year.
And if you’re a true believer, you might want to head to the Fox Theater Nov. 7 for a show with James Van Praagh, a medium who has brought his brand of connecting with the dead to the masses. Whether you believe in spirits or not, his demonstrations are an entertaining melding of spiritual guidance, humor and fun exploration of other realms.
Van Praagh considers himself a teacher. He believes our true lives in the spirit world, that this world is just an educational stop along the Great Modern Streetcar. He helps people board the train, so to speak, with guided meditation and relaxation. I asked him about naysayers. He urges them to come.
“Most of the people who come to these shows leave different,” he said.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Van Praagh says he started seeing spirits when he was a child. In his early 20s, he says he discovered an ability to connect people who have died with their living loved ones, and he thrives on the joy he brings by connecting them, he said.
If ghost whisperer James Van Praagh can connect with a few spirits Downtown, it won’t be the first time the claim has been made. There is at least one law office Downtown where folks have reported seeing things, and I have a Tucson ghost story, of sorts. I know it’s true, because it happened to me.
In 2006, when the county was planning the Juvenile Court complex at the corner of Stone and Toole, archaeologists dug up a graveyard from the late 1800s. It was the city graveyard back in the day, and all-told it originally contained about 1,800 dearly departed. That graveyard included hundreds of mortal remains that had already been moved in the 1890s from the original Presidio San Augustin del Tucson graveyard on Church, which dated to before 1800.
Also in 2006, the city was getting ready to open a park at the original presidio site at the corner of Church Avenue and Washington Street, a few yards from the original graveyard. Soon after the park opened in 2007, employees and volunteers reported… incidents. Noises. Blurry sightings. Doors closing. Footsteps.
Enter me, who went there to shoot video with a reporter colleague who was writing a story about local ghosts. When we got to the faux presidio, the volunteer docent showed us where things happened and what they had heard. I set up my camera to do an interview near one of the hot spots, and …. nothing.
I got a message that the video sensor was shut down because of condensed moisture – the sky was pure blue. I got no video to go with the story, and by the time I got back to the newsroom the camera was fine. I’ve used the same camera dozens of times, before and after that, in all types of weather, including monsoon rain, and I had never seen that error message before or since. So.
If you want to get in touch with your inner ghost at the Fox Theater with James Van Praagh, check out the Fox website. Tickets start at $29. Information about his two-day Tucson seminar Nov. 8-9 is available here.