Monday, May 21, 2012
It's Not All in the Head
MPL Book Trailer #153
Thirty Years Among the Dead
There have been many theories about what causes mental illness. One forgotten treatment, which most practitioners today would summarily dismiss, was effectively used by psychiatrist Carl A. Wickland, M.D., during more than three decades of psychiatric practice in Chicago and Los Angeles. When patients were unresponsive to conventional care, Dr. Wickland considered an external source to their insanity and psychoses. His paranormal classic, Thirty Years Among the Dead, first published in 1924, provides ample documentation of his successful treatment of mentally disturbed persons using electrostatic shock to dislodge disembodied, earth-bound spirits who were obsessing these patients. Once the haunting entities were removed, patients recovered quickly and completely. After receiving the shock treatment, the spirits would temporarily possess the body of Dr. Wickland's wife, Anna, who was a psychic medium. Dr. Wickland would then communicate with the entities (one-at-a-time) to persuade them to leave the patients alone and move onto higher spiritual pursuits.
Sound crazy? Dr. Wickland (1861-1945) was a physician specializing in psychiatry and spent over 30 years successfully treating mentally ill patients through these techniques. Regardless of whether or not one believes in spirits, or whether one posits multiple personalities as the psychological root of these mental infirmities, Dr. Wickland's treatments were effective cures, according to his reports. His case studies make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the paranormal and psychology.
The book is available (in PDF or HTML formats) on a CD-ROM at MPL in the Evergreen Indiana online catalog. A PDF version is also available online.
I'd Rather Be Obsessed by Canned Tuna-in-Oil Spirits,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers' Advisory News Beat
P.S. I found an interesting interpretation of the lyrics to "Hotel California," by the Eagles, which suggests the predicament of disembodied, earth-bound spirits discussed in Dr. Wickland's book. Frankly, I'd never thought about the song this way before. The song was first released on the album by the same title (1977).