Wickland turned away from conventional medical psychology and toward the belief that psychiatric illnesses were 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”. Spiritualists considered him an authority on “destructive spirits” and he wrote a book in 1924, Thirty Years Among the Dead, detailing his experiences as a psychical researcher.
In his book “30 years among the dead” (DOWNLOAD below!) he protocols the dialogues with the deceased souls who entered in a medium (Wickland´s wife!). His work should be standard literature for medical students! Especially the electro convulsive therapy would be useless treating te patients as Wickland did.
Wickland was convinced that he was in contact with a group of spirits known as the “Mercy Band” who would remove the possessors, and help them in the spirit world. Psychologist Robert A. Baker listed Wickland and Arthur Guirdham as early psychiatrists who preferred to “ignore the science and embrace the supernatural”.
Wickland founded the National Psychological Institute in Los Angeles, California to study psychic phenomena. A letter published in a 1918 issue of the journal Science criticized the institute’s promotion of psychic research “under the name of psychology” as an example of “pseudo-psychology”, adding that “the use of such a name involves bad taste and delusion.”