Life After Death
A précis of “30 Years Among the Dead”
30 Years Among the Dead was first published in 1924. The secondhand copy I managed to obtain was published in 1974, indicating that this book was in print a long time, although Newcastle Printing only published that 1974 edition.
This is a relatively large book, covering 390 pages as published in small type. One of the strengths of the book is the fact that the author, Dr Carl A. Wickland lets the characters tell the story. Other than in the introduction, in the first chapter, nowhere in the book does he summarise his findings or conclusions. That becomes a weakness too, as it means one must read the book very carefully to extract the maximum from it, and one would expect Dr Wickland would have had many experiences not detailed here. So, if you skim this book, you will miss a lot that lies buried. It is very easy to conclude that all the tales are much the same, and indeed at a superficial level that is true.
The closest that Dr Wickland gets to a summary of this book is found in the first chapter:
The change called “death,” - the word is a misnomer - universally regarded with gloomy fear, occurs so naturally and simply that the greater number, after passing out of the physical are not aware that the transition has been made, and having no knowledge of a spiritual life they are totally unconscious of having passed into another state of being. Deprived of their physical sense organs, they are shut out from the physical light, and lacking, a mental perception of the high purpose of existence, these individuals are spiritually blind and find themselves in a twilight condition - the “outer darkness” mentioned in the Bible - and linger in the realm known as the Earth Sphere. (The Earth Sphere is in the Astral Plane)
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.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Prov. 23:7.
Assuming spirit forms which are the result of their thought life on earth, millions remain for a time in the earth sphere, and often in the environment of their earth lives, still held by their habits or interests.
“Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matt. 6:21.
Those who have progressed to the higher spirit world ever endeavor to enlighten these earthbound spirits, but the latter, due to preconceptions concerning the hereafter, labor under the delusion that the departed are “dead,” or are “ghosts,” and often refuse to recognize their friends or to realize their own condition.
Many are in a state of heavy sleep, others are lost or confused; troubled minds may be haunted by fear of the strange darkness, those conscience stricken suffer in anguish or remorse for their, earth conduct; some, impelled by selfish or evil inclinations, seek an outlet for their tendencies, remaining in this condition until these destructive desires are outgrown, when the soul cries out for understanding and light, and progressed spirits are able to reach them and aid them.
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.
These earthbound spirits are the supposed “devils” of all ages; “devils” of human origin, byproducts of human selfishness, false teachings and ignorance, thrust blindly into a spirit existence and held there in a bondage of ignorance.
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.
An example of a typical session where Dr Wickland’s wife channels a spirit entity is shown here. It seems that Mrs Wickland was in an extremely deep trance, allowing literally complete control of her faculties by the spirit. In spite of this procedure, which would typically not be recommended, she never apparently suffered any side-effects. Obviously she was well protected by her spirit band.
Dr Wickland does not attempt to categorise the entities that he encountered, and it remains for us to puzzle over what precisely is an earthbound spirit, as compared with a “dark” spirit, also called a “neg” by some. In many of the cases it is clear he is talking to a spirit that is ignorant of its condition, and unable to alter that condition. This it seems fair to me falls clearly into the class of spirit one might call “earthbound.”
A pdf can be downloaded here.