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Van Praagh Sparks A Mini-Series

James Van Praagh has a remarkable gift. Since he was a little boy, he says, he has been able to communicate with the spirits of people who have died. He visited The Saturday Early Show to talk about "Living With The Dead," a two-part mini-series that draws on his life story, the second part of which is to be broadcast on CBS Tuesday, April 30.

The drama, which stars Ted Danson, is the story of a man who comes to terms with his ability to speak to the dead and is then asked to help solve a series of murders by communicating with the victims who are on the other side.

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The movie is also based on Van Praagh's book, "Talking To Heaven."

Danson, the star of the mini-series, says it is "really about love and forgiveness, and that's all there is in life. In the story, a series of boys have been killed and on one level, it is a whodunit…about who killed the boys. On another level, it's about the spiritual message of love and forgiveness even in the face of murder."

In the mini-series, James (Ted Danson) has been haunted by psychic visitations from the time he was a child and has found them deeply disturbing. Although encouraged by his mother, Regina (Diane Ladd) when she was alive and after she dies, and a good friend, Midge (Queen Latifa), James has struggled for years with his gift, which at first seemed to be more of a curse than a blessing.

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James first met Eddie, a young boy who was accidentally shot, when he revealed himself to James when James, too, was just a boy -- 30 years earlier. It is only as an adult, in the midst of a police investigation, that James realizes that he knew Eddie from the past and that the boy had already died at the time of their first encounter.

James turns to Detective Karen Condrin (Mary Steenburgen, who is Danson's real-life wife) for help identifying seven new boys who visit him from the other side, all of whom appear to have been murdered. James is horrified when he realizes that they have something in common: they are all connected to Eddie. Karen needs James' visions to solve the crimes, but he wants to run away from the violent images that constantly plague him. However, the knowledge that the boys need him in order to continue their journey gives James the incentive to carry on.

While the first half of the movie is very much based on Van Praagh's life, the movie takes a fictional twist with the murder investigation of the deaths of the seven boys. Van Praagh was never recruited for this specific investigation.

However, he says, "The murder part of the film is actually based on a real case I worked on… I used to work with the police, many years ago, on unsolved crimes. Mostly, I specialized in kidnappings."

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