James Stenbeck, heir to the Swedish throne, came to Oakdale as part of a business deal with Brad Hollister. However, soon it became apparent that his real motive was to see Barbara Ryan. Years earlier, the pair had a passionate love affair which Barbara broke off since James was obligated to marry another. Now years later, James's wife was dead and he was eager to win Barbara back. Barbara was wary, but finally relented when James learned her secret: they had a child together. Forced to tell James the truth, Barbara revealed how his family learned of her pregnancy and told her that James wanted her to abort the baby. Unwilling to do that, Barbara carried the child, who she named Paul, to term and gave him up to a friend. Shocked by this story, James revealed that he never knew about the pregnancy. He then convinced Barbara of his love for her and they planned to marry, despite the disapproval of his family. The plans were halted when Barbara was injured in at their engagement party. Undeterred, James married her in her hospital room and they brought Paul home with them. James was finally married but soon it became apparent that love wasn't James's motivation for marrying Barbara.
Evidently James's grandfather stipulated that the 1st son born to one of his grandsons would inherit the Stenbeck fortune. Now married, James's position was secure and soon his eyes began wandering in the direction of Margo Montgomery, Barbara's private nurse. Seeing nothing wrong with having a wife and a mistress, he began an affair with Margo. In addition, James decided to supplement his fortune by smuggling drugs and stolen jewelry through the fashion company he bought for Barbara. Meanwhile, Barbara found out about the affair and the illegal activities. Though James was able to talk Barbara into giving their marriage a chance, it became clear that Barbara was becoming disenchanted. At the same time that Barbara suspected that James was having another affair, this time with Dee Stewart, Barbara started having bizarre visions of a previous life. The visions consisted of a woman who looked just like her, named Bianca, who resided in Paris with her husband, Jason (who looked remarkably like James, Bianca would later learn Jason was carrying on an affair with the maid, Daphne (who looked like Dee Stewart). Later, Barbara's flashbacks included a mysterious blonde Englishman who challenged Jason to a duel, with Jason getting the upper hand, at first. In the summer of 1982, Bianca (Barbara's doppelganger) would learn this mysterious blonde Englishman's name, Geoffrey.
Not long afterward, at the funeral of James's brother, Lars, Barbara was shocked to see a man who looked exactly like Geoffrey--Gunnar St. Clair. Gunnar surprised the Stenbecks by claiming to be James's cousin. He produced records from the St. Clair orphanage showing that Greta Aldrin, James's ex-nanny, brought him there after his parents died, because James's father didn't want him living in the same house. James ordered an investigation and was determined not let Gunnar claim any rights to the Stenbeck fortune. Later, one day, Barbara got into her car at the cabin, a masked man put a gun to her head. Barbara's captors were Charles Ivenstrom, the man who had once ordered her death, and his daughter, Ingrid, widow of James's younger brother, Lars. Ingrid blamed Barbara and James for her husband's death. Lars and James would have had to share the Stenbeck fortune, and, according to Ingrid, Lars futilely begged James to keep him out of bankruptcy. Desperate, Lars got drunk and died in the hiking "accident.” In revenge, Ingrid vowed to kill Barbara, and her father, Charles, was helping her get back the money that was rightfully hers. The kidnappers mistook Gunnar for James, and demanded $2 million in cash for Barbara. They insisted Gunnar make the drop, but captured him as he approached. The pair escaped and James arrived to find Gunnar and Barbara sleeping in each other's arms. Alone with Barbara, James accused her of having an affair with Gunnar, which she denied. Soon after, Barbara overheard John Dixon yelling at Dee that Barbara was a fool to stay married to the man who ran him down and who was having an affair with Dee.
Shocked, Barbara told James she and Paul were moving out. James's attorney, Mr. Hoyt warned James about losing control of the Stenbeck fortune. James begged Barbara to reconsider and warned that she and Gunnar would never get custody of Paul. Meanwhile, Barbara was becoming more and more attracted to the dashing St. Clair. Unfortunately for Barbara, the intensity of the visions was becoming much, with people noticing how distracting she was becoming. Finally Lisa, her partner in Fashions, suggested that Barbara see a psychiatrist, Dr. Ben Forrest. However, this suggestion fell right into James's plans for Barbara since he decided to use this as a means to get Barbara locked away so he'd get control of Fashions.
Meanwhile, James spent more and more time around Ariel Aldrin Dixon trying to put pressure on her to keep John out of his and Dee's life since John disapproved of the affair). Ariel couldn't help herself and started flirting with James and James returned the flirtation. Suddenly, Ariel's mother, Greta Aldrin called, and ordered James to send Ariel home. She then ordered Ariel to stay away from James and gave her the reason--he was her brother! Although Greta didn't want James to know, Ariel couldn't resist and that's when James got the shock of his life: he wasn't a true Stenbeck at all!! It seems that Greta, who was the Stenbeck maid, wanted her son to have a better life and switched her newborn son with that of the Stenbeck baby and placed that child in an orphanage. Doing some checking, James discovered that the true heir to the Stenbeck fortune was none other than Gunnar. Now things spun out of control on many fronts for James. After hearing James yelling about birth certificates, John followed James to Europe and found the birth certificates in Greta's house. When James arrived, John escaped out the window with the documents. He put copies in Greta's car, where Greta and James found and burned them. Knowing that James planned to kill him, John began to plot James's ruin. John was out driving, one day, when his brakes failed, and he lost control of the car and crashed. When he came to, John told Margo that either Ariel or James was trying to kill him. John cut Ariel out of his will and insurance policies. He then gave her sealed envelopes containing copies of James's birth certificates and addressed them to Gunnar, Barbara and the New York; Times -- to be delivered in the event of his death. John pasted cut-out letters to form the question, "When is a Stenbeck not a Stenbeck?" James suspected John, but Ariel was sure John had no idea that James was not a Stenbeck.
James, was shocked to learn that John knew the truth about his parentage and vowed that he would kill John. He read up on undetectable poisons and then he left a message for John saying Dee's life was in danger. John ran out and, seconds later, James poisoned a jug of water on John's desk. John returned to his office and drank some water. Soon he was lying on the floor, gasping for air. Simultaneously, James was searching for the birth certificates. When he didn't find them, he called Dee. James was in the middle of declaring his unconditional love for her when the doorbell rang. It was John, and he had a gun. Hoping to upset John, James urged Dee to tell him of the coming event. John got on the phone, but Dee wouldn't listen to John's ranting and hung up, saying, "I hate him so much, I could kill John Dixon right now!" John forced James to admit to the murder attempts and said that he had proof that James wasn't a Stenbeck. Instead of killing him, John demanded a million a year for his silence. Not one to be blackmailed, James had a plan that included a gun and a way to dispose of a body without detection. Later, James was shocked to learn that someone had done his work for him--John was dead.
Simultaneously, Dr. Forrest was administering a psychotropic drug to Barbara that made her past life visions get even more bizarre. Barbara even started blurring the reality of her life into the life of Bianca's and this was courtesy of James since James broke into Forrest's office and stole Barbara's psychiatric files, which contained information about Mme. Koster and the visions. He bribed Mme. Koster into becoming his co-conspirator. Barbara had moved into the then vacant Stewart house, and, on James's instructions, Mme. Koster sent a woman named Sylvia to apply for the job of housekeeper, and Barbara hired her. James planned to drive Barbara crazy so he could get custody of Paul. Finally, one night, James/Jason lured Barbara into a raging storm. He then left her and told Paul that she was missing. The next morning, he "found" her and made her feel guilty of leaving Paul alone in the house. Everyone was worried about Barbara's state of mind, but Gunnar suspected James and installed round-the-clock surveillance. Meanwhile, Sylvia was drugging Barbara's coffee, and Barbara started acting even more strangely. Even Paul backed away when she reached out to him. Finally, while Barbara was drugged, James ripped her dress, cut her arm lightly and placed a letter opener in her hand. She awoke screaming and terrified Paul. James committed Barbara to a sanatorium, and Gunnar arrived too late to stop him. The doctor, Henry Moller, was a cohort of James. Gunnar accused James of having Barbara committed in order to take Paul away, and he refused to leave until he got her out. Near the end of 1982, Gunnar got Tom Hughes to help him get papers that would validate Barbara's sanity. Paul had been staying with Ariel because James said the boy was afraid of Barbara.
When attorney Maggie Crawford issued James a copy of the decree ordering visitation rights for Barbara, James tore it up. He threatened Gunnar and demanded they meet at the Stenbeck refinery. Barbara grabbed a gun and arrived just as James was about to throw Gunnar from a catwalk. Barbara tripped, and the gun went off, the bullet hitting James in the stomach. He told Barbara he'd make her pay for what she'd done and told Paul that Barbara had shot him. When Barbara saw Paul, she reached out for him, and the boy ran away in terror! Less than a week later, it would be James’s turn to think he was going insane. One night, recovering from his gunshot wound and groggy from the medication, James thought he saw John standing at the foot of his bed! The figure told James there was no way Dee was going to be convicted of murdering him, because he was going to make sure she got off. Scared to death, James closed his eyes. When he opened them, the apparition was gone. James was sure he had been hallucinating. He told Barbara he would take her to trial for attempted murder unless she signed an agreement giving him full custody of Paul. An angry Barbara tore up the agreement and threw it in his face.
Meanwhile, Karen Haines accidentally discovered John's tape in Maggie's safe. After listening to James tell Ariel he wasn't the true Stenbeck heir, Karen realized she had the evidence Tom needed to indict James for the murder. During the course of the trial, who should return but John Dixon, back from the dead! After the trial, John and Ariel testified to Barbara's sanity in the custody hearing for Paul. Unfortunately, James was given total custody, with Barbara allowed some visits. Not long after, the greedy Karen blackmailed James into marrying her, threatening to reveal his true heritage if he didn't. Karen tried to make friends with Paul, but James said it wouldn't be necessary, since Paul was going to Europe soon. Karen divulged this to Barbara. Barbara and Gunnar went to Maggie and told her that if she couldn't do anything legally, they were going to take Paul. When James got wind that Barbara and Gunnar had seen the District Attorney about Paul's custody, he knew he had to stop them. He came up with the perfect "accident." James invited Barbara to a private bullfighting demonstration he was presenting in Spain in honor of Paul's birthday. With James, Karen, Barbara and Gunnar in attendance, the birthday bullfight was a great success. The next day, James told Paul to call his mommy and ask her to meet James at the bullring for a surprise. Gunnar suspected foul play but was detained by one of James's men. Barbara arrived and walked toward the center of the ring to pick up a bouquet of flowers that James had strategically placed there for her. A sudden noise made her turn around, and to her horrors she saw a bull coming straight at her. As Barbara frantically tried to dodge the animal, she saw James smirking on the sidelines. Luckily, Gunnar arrived and diverted the bulls' attention while Barbara ran to safety.
James took off and Gunnar followed him to an old castle, where James grabbed a sword from the weapons room and engaged his rival in a "duel to the death." (Just as in Barbara's vision of Jason and Geoffrey having a sword fight where Jason got the upper hand) Luckily, history did not repeat itself. They were both expert fencers, but Gunnar got the best of him and, with a sword at his throat, James forced to sign custody papers. James bade Paul a tearful goodbye. Barbara and Gunnar happily claimed Paul as their own and told him they were going to be a real family now. What started out as a vision had now turned into a dream come true as Barbara married Gunnar. In honor of their marriage, Barbara made good use of the Stenbeck fortune by giving an endowment of the St. Clair Orphanage, where Gunnar had spent his childhood years. In the meantime, James told Karen he had lost Paul and revealed that without him, there was no Stenbeck fortune. Karen called him a coward for giving up. She had married him for the fortune and now felt entitled to look elsewhere. A down-and-out James was forced to sell his penthouse. As soon as he put it on the market, it was snapped up by none other than his adversary, John Dixon!
In May 1983, two more characters now entered the chaotic Stenbeck saga. A handsome but bitter man named Burke Donovan approached James and suggested they form and alliance against Gunnar. Burke's wife, Nicole Berrysea, had had an affair with Gunnar but later died and left Burke with a son, Dustin, called Dusty. When Ariel investigated Burke, she began to suspect Gunnar was actually Dusty's biological father. It was then that Ariel realized Dusty could be the true Stenbeck heir. Ariel talked James into hiring Burke as his horse trainer. James himself became intrigued by Burke's vendetta against Gunnar asked him about his wife, Burke sadly recalled the argument that led to her death. She had just told Burke she was leaving him for Gunnar. They struggled, and Nicole fell off the balcony to her death. James thought this incident was just the ammunition they needed to destroy their mutual rival. The plan was to make Gunnar believe he drove Nicole to suicide, thereby wreaking havoc in his marriage to Barbara. James hired a Nicole look-alike, Lorna Whitmore, to haunt Gunnar. As a result, Gunnar was plagued by further visits from "Nicole" until he finally captured the imposter in his camera lens! Gunnar and Barbara tracked Lorna down at the Hayloft and persuaded her to help them seek revenge on James. Lorna tipped them off about "Nicole's" next meeting with him, and James was caught red-handed. Fearing that he was going to lose his visitation rights, James lured Paul away from camp and took him on a trip.
In a hotel room in Cheyenne with James, Paul saw a news bulletin about his disappearance, and realized his father had lied to him. Barbara and Gunnar arrived in Cheyenne and traced James to the hotel, but all they found was Paul's teddy bear lying in the middle of an empty room. When they returned home, however, Paul was there to greet them! The ever-manipulative James claimed his son had asked him to take him out of camp, and once they saw the news and knew how worried everyone was, they had come home. Barbara had had it -- James would never see his son again. When Barbara and Gunnar tried to explain this to Paul, the boy blamed Gunnar for keeping him away from his father. Paul even stopped talking to them and Barbara and Gunnar were forced to have to take Paul to child psychiatrist, Zachary Stone. Never one to miss an opportunity, James tried to turn Paul against Barbara as well. Once Karen learned that James had kidnapped Paul from camp, she sided with Barbara and Gunnar and left James for good. Meanwhile, Ariel informed a stunned James that Dusty, not Paul, was the true Stenbeck heir. Since Karen had custody, Ariel told him he had better get her back at once! However, Karen was already on her way to getting a quickie divorce. In January 1984, James traced Karen and John (and Dusty) to the island of Hispanic and set out with Ariel to stop the divorce. By the time James and Ariel arrived, Karen and John were legally married. Ariel tried in vain to persuade Dusty to live with her. In search of an answer to Dusty's parentage, Gunnar hopped a plane to Hispanic as well. Now a series of events took place, where James became truly sinister.
James decided he'd kill at least, Gunnar, and if possible Dusty, so that Paul would be left as the sole Stenbeck heir. James hired man named Phillipe Keiko to concoct a poison from the fruit of the manga tree. Keiko presented it to James and Keiko said it was fast-acting, just what James wanted to hear. He then convinced a doubtful Ariel to attempt to seduce Gunnar. James further told her to take Gunnar out to one of the native huts on the island to attempt the seduction. He then gave Ariel a vial of Keiko's poison and convinced her that it was a love potion she could give Gunnar to make him fall in love with her. As Ariel took Gunnar out to the native hut with a picnic for them and the vial of poison, Dusty was able to convince both Karen and John that he'd be alright on his own and for them to go ahead and enjoy their honeymoon. James then had Mr. Keiko pose as another man named Mr. Phillipe who gave Dusty a fake note from Gunnar asking Dusty to come to the same native hut where Ariel was poisoning Gunnar.
When Dusty arrived at the native hut, he saw Gunnar passed out and Ariel nowhere to be found. Dusty was disconcerted about Gunnar and stayed in the hut with him. James then proceeded to set fire to the native hut, stranding both Dusty and the passed out Gunnar in the burning hut! Luckily, Karen and John were able to save Dusty and Gunnar. Later, they met up with Ariel who seemed contrite. Ariel told Gunnar, Dusty, Karen and John that James was missing and she feared he was going to leave the island of Hispanic and head back to Oakdale to try to kill Barbara. Because there were no commercial flights leaving the island that night, Gunnar and John arranged for a private cargo jet to take them home. On the plane, John confirmed Gunnar's suspicions that Dusty was his son. Little did they know, however, that James was at the controls. The plane lurched, and the cabin reached freezing temperatures, and one by one, the passengers (Dusty, Gunnar, John, Karen and Ariel) passed out, leaving James free to kill Gunnar. However, Gunnar came to, and in the struggle that ensued, Gunnar accidentally pushed James out of the open door that was meant for him. James seemingly fell to his death.
Or so everyone thought. Years later, James resurfaced and though he was put on trial for his subsequent crimes, with the help of Lucinda Walsh, he was exonerated. Like Barbara, Lucinda was only a means to an end. While working at Walsh Enterprises, James began embezzling funds in order to regain his fortune. It didn't take long though for the authorities to go after him again for illegal business dealings in Europe. On the run again, James blackmailed his ex-lover, the young Emily Stewart, into helping him escape and manipulated a teenaged Paul into keeping his whereabouts secret. Unfortunately, he couldn't hide his dangerous nature from Paul for long and, in order to spare John Dixon's life, Paul agreed to go with his father. Unfortunately, the police were waiting for them. After a standoff in a cabin, James apparently died in fire, but since the body found was unrecognizable, there was still some doubt. As it turned out, James was very much alive and again returned to Oakdale to retrieve his son. By now, James truly wanted Paul to be close to him and was disconcerted that Paul hated him. Lurking in the shadows, James learned of Paul's affair with Emily Stewart. Disgusted by the affair, he decided to murder Emily. However, this time Paul rescued the intended victim and shot his father dead.
But again, James defied death. Having previously replaced the loaded gun with blanks, James faked his death to avoid imprisonment. After hiding away for several years, he returned with news for Lucinda: they had a son together from a previous tryst. Though Lucinda was instantly suspicious, James convinced her that District Attorney David Allen was indeed their son. However, James was only telling half the truth. David wasn't Lucinda's son, but he was a Stenbeck. James then confronted David and told him the truth about who he was. Though he thought that David would use his influence to keep him out of jail, James was wrong and he was sent to prison. However, when James learned that David was in serious trouble, he escaped and headed back to Oakdale. When David was on the run after kidnapping Lily Snyder, James went to Lucinda's, desperate to get his son back alive. When David disappeared, Lucinda seduced James into marrying her. It didn’t take long for James to the truth: David was shot and (presumably) killed by Lucinda's son-in-law, Holden. Vengeful, James plotted to kill Holden only to have Lucinda get hurt instead. To avoid imprisonment, James ran off to a tropical island and, months later, served Lucinda divorce papers.
A few years later, James returned to Oakdale. A free man, thanks to a deal he made with the police, James, hearing that Barbara had been horribly burned in a fire), returned to Fairwinds and promised to take care of her and her business. James's way of taking care of Barbara was eliminating her enemies and so he arranged for the kidnapping of Carly Tenney, Emily, and Rose D'Angelo. Eventually, Barbara turned him in for the crime, however, James, eventually, escaped by hypnotizing Hal Munson and forcing him to cooperate. Finally, Barbara agreed to run away with James in exchange for the girls' freedom. Touched, James agreed to release Carly and rewarded Barbara by marrying her and having her burnt face reconstructed. Unfortunately for James, Barbara betrayed him when she learned of his plot to kill Emily and stabbed him. Though she thought she'd killed him, she was stunned when his body later disappeared.
Paul, however, was convinced that James's former lawyer, Marshall Travers, knew exactly where his father was and tried to force Jessica Griffin to find out. However he was unsuccessful and when Marshall was made District Attorney he dropped all charges against James. Though a free man, James felt betrayed by his family and decided to ruin Paul by framing him for murder. Blackmailing Travers with knowledge of his daughter's whereabouts, James forced Travers to charge Paul with Brandy's murder. When Travers double-crossed James by telling the truth, James shot him and was sent to prison. Later, after suspecting that a presumed-dead Paul was still alive, James concocted an elaborate plot to lure Paul back to Oakdale by kidnapping Rose, the woman Paul loved.
A few years later, the specter of James Stenbeck would rear its head with the arrival of a newcomer to Oakdale, Jordan Sinclair. As Jordan, an orphan since birth, was settling into his new job at BRO, he became friends with the wealthy Rosanna Cabot, who had an agenda of her own. After flirting with Jordan for months, Rosanna finally had to admit to Jordan that a mysterious person assured her that she'd get custody of her adopted son, Cabot, only if she married Jordan. Later, Jordan was shocked to learn that he was Cabot's real father, although he had no memory of who the mother was. At the same time, Rosanna wondered whether or not Jordan's job was a lucky break or something arranged by someone else. Although it was becoming apparent that some mysterious person was pulling the strings of Jordan's life, no one had any idea who or what his agenda was. However, all became clear when James secretly contacted Barbara. Later, Paul and Barbara came to a sudden realization--Jordan could be James's son! Convinced that he was right, Paul confronted James; at the same time Jordan learned that James was the one who contacted Rosanna and went to confront him. With Paul convinced that that his theory was right and, with Jordan in the room, James was forced to confess the truth--he was Jordan's father. James proceeded to tell Jordan that he put him in an orphanage because he couldn't care for him, yet he made sure there was someone there to look after him. While Jordan was sickened by this revelation, others in Oakdale were very concerned that James could wind up inserting himself in his son and new grandson's life.
After it was revealed that James was Jordan's father, he was scheduled to go to a maximum security prison in California, but got Barbara to help him escape by threatening to harm Will, her youngest son. After escaping from the prison bus, James went back to Oakdale where he kidnapped Rosanna and Cabot and locked them in a cabin. Paul came to their rescue, but James had a time bomb set to go off and told Paul that there was only enough time to save one life. Paul took the keys to unlock Rosanna's door and James slipped away. Paul got Rosanna out and went back for Cabot, but the bomb went off. After telling Barbara that she was on her own for now, James left with a very much alive Cabot. Rosanna eventually forgave Paul and they married. A few months later, James returned. At this time, Barbara was being sent to jail for drugging Emily in order to have Emily haunt Rosanna about Cabot's death. Barbara’s ultimate plan was for Will to move out of Paul and Rosanna’s and back with her. At this point, James revealed to Rosanna that Cabot was alive and well and told her that he would return Cabot to her if she got Barbara cleared.
With Barbara's help, Rosanna convinced Emily and everyone else that she set up her own haunting. James gave Cabot back to Rosanna and revealed that he renamed Cabot "Little Jimmy.” James made it clear that he and Cabot were going far away where they would not be found and stated that Rosanna could join them or not. James wanted Paul tormented as a punishment. He declared that neither Paul nor Jordan was worthy to carry on the Stenbeck name, so Cabot was going to have that honor. James told Rosanna that she could have Paul or Cabot, but not both. Rosanna chose Cabot over Paul and left Oakdale with James, but vowed that James would not get away with this. Months later Craig Montgomery showed up in Bangkok and discovered that James was holding Rosanna and Cabot hostage. Meanwhile, Rosanna refused to marry James and James tried to kill her by throwing her out of a plane, but Craig managed to stop him. Thanks to Rosanna, James was arrested and taken to Bangkok prison. James warned Rosanna and Craig that he would return, because no prison in the world could hold him. James warned Rosanna that he would come back for Cabot. To prevent that, Rosanna gave Cabot back up for adoption with a new identity.
Years later, Paul, at this point married to Meg Snyder, learned that the Snyder land was contaminated. Due to the vast amount of contaminated soil, the company that was developing the land backed out of the housing project. Unfortunately, without that money, Emma was in serious danger of losing her home. Determined to save the Snyder farm, Paul decided to fund the contraction project himself. Unfortunately, the cost of decontamination was unbearably high. Low on funds, and not wanting to go to Barbara for help, Paul went to a loan shark and promised that he would pay back the loan in a month from money gained from the housing project, Finally, Paul went to Barbara for help only to discover that her money was gone! That same day, who should reenter his life but James who was inexplicably out of prison. Paul immediately accused James of stealing Barbara’s money, an accusation that James denied. However, James knew all about Paul’s recent money problems and offered a solution—for a price. All James needed was for Paul to dig up the money James buried at the Snyder farm. It didn’t take Paul long to realize that James contaminated the Snyder farm himself in an attempt to stop the construction so it wouldn’t be discovered. However, by this point, James had disappeared. Ultimately, Meg stumbled upon his whereabouts and found that James had been harboring a surprise prisoner---a presumed dead Dusty! Paul wasn't too far behind and in a showdown, again apparently killed his father.
After James's supposed death, Paul began acting irrationally. When he was caught in an explosion, the surgeon removed a microchip that had been implanted in Paul's brain, similar to those used in experiments for mind control. Barbara suspected it had been put there by James. At the same time, Audrey Coleman informed Henry that James was his father. Paul eventually found his father and brought him to Fairwinds. Audrey found James, who was being held in the wine cellar at Fairwinds, and told him that Henry was definitely his son. Audrey took James to the Lakeview, where Emily, Paul, Barbara, Vienna, and Henry found them. Henry became interested in James after he learned that James still had a large amount of money that Henry might inherit. At Emily's urging, Paul wanted the police to arrest James, but Henry found out and hid James in the boiler room at the hotel. Vienna tricked Henry into revealing where he was, and the police were able to arrest James. James revised his will so that Paul would be his sole heir, but Audrey and Henry kidnapped James's lawyer before he could give James the revised will to sign. Audrey decided the only way Henry would inherit the money was if James died soon, so she stole a drug from the hospital and injected it into James at the police station.
Months later, a young researcher named Mick Dante arrived in Oakdale claiming to have an anti-aging potion. After convincing Emily and Barbara to try the potion, Mick told the Ryan family that he was actually James. None of the Ryans believed Mick's claims, especially Alison Stewart who believed that Mick was seriously ill since she had witnessed his numerous nose bleeds. Finally, Mick revealed the truth to Alison--he'd been brainwashed by James to do his bidding. With Alison's encouragement, Mick turned himself in to the police. Again disgusted by his father, Paul gave his share of the Stenbeck fortune to Henry who ended up falling in love with Barbara. On Barbara and Henry's wedding day, the couple and Paul and Emily held a ceremony to exorcise James from their lives.