After moving to Los Angeles in 1918, he founded the National Psychological Institute of Los Angeles with his wife Anna Wickland, who was a trance medium. Wickland treated many patients suffering from mental illness of all kinds, and after many years experience came to the conclusion that a number of patients he treated had ‘attachments;’ by that he meant that spiritual entities had attached themselves to unwitting mortals and influenced them (often) in the worst kind of way – leading them to alcoholism, madness, and occasionally murder.
Wickland stated at the time: ‘Spirit obsession is a fact – a perversion of a natural law – and is amply demonstrable. This has been proven hundreds of times by causing the supposed insanity or aberration to be temporarily transferred from the victim to a psychic sensitive who is trained for the purpose, and by this method ascertain the cause of the psychosis to be an ignorant or mischievous spirit, whose identity may frequently be verified.’
Having come to the ‘spirit obsession’ conclusion, Wickland and his wife set up a rescue circle, with Mrs. Wickland acting as the medium, and they set about communicating with lost souls who had passed away and were unaware of their post physical death condition and often in denial due to dogmatic religious and equally dogmatic atheist beliefs.