Wickland, Dr. Carl A.
(1861–1945)
   Physician who with the help of his medium wife, Anna, performed EXORCISMs in cases of POSSESSION caused by dead people. Using mild electronic current, Dr. Carl A. Wickland said he could force a possessing spirit to leave its victim, enter Anna’s body, and then finally depart forever. A native of Sweden, Wickland emigrated to the United States in 1881. He married Anna in 1896 and moved to Chicago to study medicine at Durham Medical College. After his graduation in 1900, he worked in private practice before turning to psychiatry. He soon believed that spirits played an unrecognized role in psychiatric problems and illness and began research into this uncharted area.
   According to Wickland, a possessing spirit often does not realize that its earthly form is dead. Wickland “enlightened” the spirit and sent it on its way. If the spirit resisted, Wickland called on “helper spirits” to keep the possessing spirit in a so-called dungeon, out of the aura (energy field) of the victim or Anna, until the spirit gave up its selfish attitude and departed. To facilitate the spirit’s entrance into Anna and eventual departure, Wickland invented a static electricity machine that transmitted low-voltage electric shock to the patient, causing the possessing spirit great discomfort. The device was a forerunner of low-voltage electric shock treatment used in psychotherapy.
   Wickland was not concerned with proving the identities of the possessing spirits. Rather, he believed that they seldom would provide evidential information because of their allegedly confused states of mind. Some spoke only in foreign tongues through his wife.
   In 1918, the Wicklands moved to Los Angeles, where Wickland founded the National Psychological Institute for the treatment of obsession. The building is still standing and is occupied by workers in the garment industry. Wickland wrote of his experiences in Thirty Years among the Dead (1924) and The Gateway of Understanding (1934). Anna died in 1937, and, in the same year, the medium Minnie M. Soule, prompting Wickland to go to England to find a new mediumistic partner. He approached Bertha Harris, a celebrated platform clairvoyant and trance psychic, but she refused. The psychical research establishment overlooked Wickland’s work, in part because of he did not document information that could help prove the identities of the possessing spirits.
   FURTHER READING:
   - Rogo, D. Scott. The Infinite Boundary. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1987.
   - Wickland, Carl. Thirty Years among the Dead. 1924. Reprint, N. Hollywood, Calif.: Newcastle Publishing, 1974.

Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. . 2009.

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