Thirty years among the dead

Thirty years among the dead is a timeless masterpiece, written by a devoted medical professional, who had the courage to investigate the many cases whereby “psychiatric illnesses” turn out to be obsessing spirits of the dead. Carl Wickland (Wiklund) was a Swedish born, professional American psychiatrist who turned away from conventional medical psychology and became convinced that many psychiatric illnesses were the result of the influence of the obsessive spirits of the dead. With the help of his wife and medium Anna W. Anderson, Wickland communicated with the spirits. These intriguing sessions make up the bulk of the book Thirty Years Among the Dead. His conversations with, in most cases, confused spirits, who don’t even realize they are dead, are indexed in thematic chapters: Tormenting Spirits & Marriage Disturbances – Spirits and Crime – Spirits and Suicide – Materialism and Indifference – Selfishness – Orthodoxy – Spirits and Narcotics, Inebriety, Amnesia – Psychic Invalidism – Orphans – Christian Science – and Theosophy.


Thirty Years among the Dead

Snapshot of a girl who is possessed. Following in the footsteps of Carl Wicklands’ research, several psychiatrists and psychologists today recognize that a difference has to be made between mental illness and possession.


Wickland’s dedicated research, in combination with the excellent medium-ship of Anna, has resulted in one the most fascinating and taboo-breaking works on spiritualism and life after death-questions ever. Perhaps today the book is even more actual than it was in it’s publication year 1924. The mystery of death touches all of us, while, due to the intermingling of the modern rat-race, consumerism and internet-addiction, the general climate for the development of spiritual intelligence is worsening to levels that should concern all of us deeply.


Carl Wickland and his wife and medium Anna

Carl Wickland and his wife and medium Anna W. Anderson


Doctor Carl Wickland (14 February 1861 – 13 November 1945) was born at Liden, Västernorrland Province, Sweden, to Anders Wiklund and Ingrid Brita Nilsdotter, and was one of nine siblings. Wickland emigrated from Sweden to St. Paul, Minnesota, married Anna W. Anderson and moved to Chicago, graduating from Durham Medical College in 1900. Wickland’s was a physician, a member of the Chicago Medical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and chief psychiatrist at the State Psychopathic Institute of Chicago. In 1918, he moved to Los Angeles, California, and founded the National Psychological Institute to study psychic phenomena. Anna Wickland his wife and medium who played an invaluable role in his work passed away on 3 March 1937, after a nine-month illness. Carl Wickland died in 1945, at the age of 84. Spiritualists still consider Wickland a prominent authority on destructive spirits.


Obsessing spirits

Wickland turned away from conventional medical psychology and toward the belief that many supposed psychiatric illnesses were in fact the result of influence by spirits of the dead. Wickland came to believe that a large number of his patients had become possessed by what he called obsessing spirits, and that low-voltage electric shocks could dislodge them, while his wife Anna acted as a medium to guide them to progress in the spirit world. He published Thirty Years Among the Dead in 1924, detailing his experiences as a psychical researcher. One of the problems Wickland stumbled upon as a psychiatrist, and put him on the trail of obsessive spirits of the deceased, was the fact that in many cases drugs prescribed for certain psychiatric problems or symptom had no effect at all. Within this context Dr Wickland summarizes his point in the introduction of his book:

“Death does not make a saint of a sinner, nor a sage of a fool. The mentality is the same as before and individuals carry with them their old desires, habits, dogmas, faulty teachings, indifference or
disbelief in a future life.”

“Lacking physical bodies through which to carry out earthly propensities many discarnate intelligences are attracted to the magnetic light which emanates from mortals, and, consciously or
unconsciously, attach themselves to these magnetic auras, finding an avenue of expression through influencing, obsessing or possessing human beings. Such obtruding spirits influence susceptible sensitives with their thoughts, impart their own emotions to them, weaken their will power and often control their actions, producing great distress, mental confusion and suffering.”

Saint Francis exorcism of a member of the Borgia-family by Francisco Goya - thirty years among the dead

Saint Francis exorcism of a member of the Borgia-family by Francisco Goya

“The influence of these discarnate entities is the cause of many of the inexplicable and obscure events of earth life and of a large part of the world’s misery. Purity of life and motive, or high intellectuality, do not necessarily offer protection from obsession; recognition and knowledge of these problems are the only safeguards.”

“The physical conditions permitting this impingement are varied; such encroachment is often due to a natural and predisposed susceptibility, a depleted nervous system, or sudden shock. Physical
derangements are conducive to obsession, for when the vital forces are lowered less resistance is offered and intruding spirits are allowed easy access, although often neither mortal nor spirit is
conscious of the presence of the other.”

“This encroachment alters the characteristics of the sensitive, resulting in a seemingly changed personality, sometimes simulating multiple or dissociated personalities, and frequently causes apparent insanity, varying in degree from a simple mental aberration to, and including, all types of dementia, hysteria, epilepsy, melancholia, shell shock, kleptomania, idiocy, religious and suicidal mania, as well as amnesia, psychic invalidism, dipsomania, immorality, functional bestiality, atrocities, and other forms of criminality.
Humanity is surrounded by the thought influence of millions of discarnate beings, who have not yet arrived at a full realization of life’s higher purposes. A recognition of this fact accounts for a great portion of unbidden thoughts, emotions, strange forebodings, gloomy moods, irritabilities, unreasonable impulses, irrational outbursts of temper, uncontrollable infatuations and countless other mental vagaries.”


The essential role of Madame Wickland

In chapter 2 of his memoirs, Dr. Wickland has explained his working method. Of his wife Anna he wrote that she had proven to be an “excellent medium” that could be easily controlled by immaterial intelligences, that is, temporarily take possession of her in order to communicate. As a result, Dr. Wickland spoke directly to the spirit of the deceased, when this spirit took possession of his wife’s body, after which he started a dialogue to understand why this spirit acted as a parasite on his patient.




Thirty Years Among the Dead (1924)
– The Gateway of Understanding (1934)










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