home books e-books audio books recent titles with blogs
Do Earthbound Spirits Really Influence Humans?

Posted on 28 August 2023, 6:58

Do the dead influence the living? That’s the subtitle of The Case for Possession, authored by Cynthia Pettiward in 1975 and recently republished by White Crow Books. There is no indication that Pettiward is a psychologist, psychiatrist, researcher, or professional of any kind, although she apparently observed many mediums. She examines the works of a number of researchers from the past, including Dr. Carl Wickland, whose 1924 book, Thirty Years Among the Dead, also has been republished by White Crow Books.

Wickland, Carl & Anna

“What I have to say about Possession depends upon acceptance of the belief that the human spirit survives bodily death,” Pettiward explains. “For, in every case that I have considered, the entity parasite on the living human being – the possessing entity – is the spirit of another human being who has died. I have not come across any convincing evidence that human beings are possessed by non-human entities, and this is why I jib at the expression: ‘possessed by the Devil’.” She goes on to point out that exorcism, as practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, specifically excludes the belief in discarnate human possessors. Whatever the priest is exorcising is a diabolical entity of some kind, but it is not recognized as a deceased human.

Pettiward does not discount the possibility of “devil-possession,” but she believes the evidence strongly suggests possession by “earthbound discarnate humans” in most cases – spirits that are imprisoned by bonds of self-interest, greed, cruelty, emotional obsessions, lust, hardness of heart, or even simple stupidity and obstinacy. She frequently quotes Wickland, a psychiatrist who specialized in cases of schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, addiction, manic-depression, criminal behavior and phobias of all kind while writing two books on the subject. “Our experience, on the contrary, has proven that the majority of these intelligences are oblivious of their transition and hence it does not enter their minds that they are spirits and they are loath to recognize the fact,” Wickland wrote in his 1924 book.

Wickland’s wife, Anna, was a trance medium. Their method of combating the vagabond spirits attached to Wickland’s patients was to administer an electrical charge to the patient and drive the obsessing spirits from the patient to Mrs. Wickland.  These obsessing spirits would then talk to Dr. Wickland using Anna Wickland’s body. Nearly all of them didn’t know they were “dead” and so Wickland explained their plight to them. Mrs. Wickland was said to be protected from the vagabond spirits remaining with her by a group of strong intelligences known as “The Mercy Band.” As a representative of this Mercy band explained to Wickland, these earthbound entities become attracted to certain humans and attach themselves to the human aura, unwittingly conveying their thoughts to these individuals. It was further explained that the earthbound spirits could not be helped by spirits on their side until they recognized they were “dead.”

With one patient, Wickland related, he conversed with 21 different spirits through his wife. In all, they spoke six different languages even though Anna Wickland spoke only Swedish and English. In Thirty Years, Wickland sets forth numerous cases of spirit release dislodgement, including the dialogue that went on between him and the vagabond spirits attached to his patients.  As an example, with a patient identified only as “Miss R.F.” a spirit calling himself Edward Sterling began speaking through Mrs. Wickland’s vocal cords. At first, he didn’t remember his last name and couldn’t remember what town he was from although he knew he was born in Iowa. When asked what year it was, Edward said it was 1901 (the year he had died). Wickland informed him that it was now 1920.  Edward struggled to understand why his hair was now long and he had on women’s clothes. Wickland explained to him that he was now “dead” and occupying his wife’s body. “If I was dead I would go to the grave and stay there until the last day,” Edward responded. “You stay there until Gabriel blows the horn.”

Beliefs go with us

At the end of a long conversation, Wickland seems to have convinced Sterling that his physical body had died, but that his spirit body was very much alive and that he should detach himself from Miss R.F. and let her get on with her own life. Wickland noted people take their beliefs with them when they die and that the false teachings of religion often keep them earthbound.

With a patient referred to as “Mrs. R.,” a spirit named Ralph Stevenson took over Mrs. Wickland’s body and began speaking to Dr. Wickland.  Stevenson said he was “straggling along” when he saw a “light,” so he came in. However, he couldn’t figure out who he was or where he was. He thought it was 1902, when, in fact, it was 1919. When Wickland asked him how long he had been dead, Stevenson replied: “Dead, you say? Why I’m not dead; I wish I were.” Wickland asked him why he preferred to be dead and Stevenson said things had been very unpleasant for him. “If I am dead, then it is very hard to be dead,” he said. “I have tried and tried to die, but it seems every single time I come to life again. Why is it that I cannot die?”

Stevenson went on to say that he often thinks he is dead, but then he is alive again. “Sometimes I get in places (auras) but I am always pushed out in the dark again, and I go from place to place. I cannot find my home and I cannot die.”  Wickland noted that Mrs. R., his patient, had often talked about killing herself. Further conversation with Stevenson revealed that he and a young woman named Alice were engaged to be married. However, when her parents objected to the marriage, he decided to kill Alice and himself. After killing Alice, he said he could not kill himself.  In fact, he did succeed in killing himself after shooting Alice, but he assumed that he had failed and had been on the run ever since.

After Wickland convinced him that he, in fact, had succeeded in killing himself, Stevenson recognized his mother (in spirit). The mother then took over Mrs. Wickland’s body and explained that she had been trying to get through to her son for a long time, but he had built up a barrier that she could not penetrate until now. “He ran away from me whenever he saw me, and neither Alice nor I could come near him,” the mother communicated. “He thought he was alive and that he had not killed himself. Some time ago he came in contact with a sensitive person, a woman (Mrs. R), and has been obsessing her, but he thought he was in prison.”

Another of Wickland’s patients was a pharmacist with a drug addiction problem, especially addicted to morphine. After the patient was administered an electrical shock, the obsessing spirit jumped into Mrs. Wickland’s entranced body. Mrs. Wickland’s body then began violently coughing. Dr. Wickland asked what the problem was and the spirit replied that she was dying and needed some morphine. Wickland explained to her that she was already dead, but the spirit ignored his comments and continued to beg for morphine. Wickland managed to calm her down enough to further explain the situation to her and ask her for a name. At first she couldn’t remember, but after several moments of searching gave her name as Elizabeth Noble. She said that she was 42 years old and was living in El Paso, Texas. After again begging for morphine, she noticed her husband, Frankie, standing there (in spirit).  Frank Noble then took over Mrs. Wickland’s body and explained to Wickland that he had died before his wife and had been trying to get her to realize she had “passed out,” but had been unsuccessful. He thanked Wickland for explaining the situation to her and said that she would now understand and be better.

Wickland’s second book, The Gateway of Understanding, was published in 1934. It offers additional cases of spirit possession and considerable philosophy. “The unscientific attitude and aloofness of the medical fraternity toward any research that suggests discarnated spirits, due to fear of ostracism, of jeopardizing professional standing, or owing to the fallacious notion that it is unethical and beneath the dignity of science to follow such research, is today a serious obstacle to advancement of knowledge pertaining to contributing causes underlying mental aberrations and insanity,” he wrote in the 1934 book, “and is a hindrance to neurological and psychiatric research.” Little seems to have changed since then.

Pettiward considers explanations other than earthbound spirits, such as past-life personalities and multiple personalities, but she concludes that the evidence overwhelmingly supports lowly spirits who don’t realize they have “died.”  “It is these spirits who become parasitic upon the living, chiefly because they simply to not know any better,” she offers.

Crowds of Spirits around us

Coincidentally, before reading Pettiward’s book, I had just finished reading a 1931 book, Let Us In, by Jane Revere Burke, a seemingly credible automatic-writing medium who sets forth a record of communications believed to have come from William James, the famous pioneer of modern psychology. “Immense crowds of spirits of all grades of development from the vicious to the most exalted surround every one of you,” James communicated on April 28, 1931. “For the great mass of men this is a fact which they never think about even once in a lifetime, yet not any single one of you is exempt from the constant influence of your unseen friends and foes.”

As for the “foes,” James said that most of them are not what would be called evil. “That is, they have not chosen to identify themselves with the dark forces, they are beings who have not yet come forward here to that degree of progression where they have to make that choice. They constitute, however, one of the greatest menaces to men on earth because their lack of positiveness makes them open to being herded and driven and used by the dark forces.”

On June 18, 1931, James communicated that there is an enormous increase in insanity among those still in the body because they don’t know how to protect themselves from possession by lowly spirits. “In ninety-nine cases out of every hundred it is direct suggestion from some discarnate being,” he explained. “The people must be taught to recognize it and deal with it. It is as simple as shutting off your radio. Learn that it is not a suggestion of the Devil but a direct voice of another human being – albeit dead, as you call it. Shut them off! Deny them! Order them off the premises at once! Even in cases when the suggestion made is not evil, you must be strong, clear and definite to hold control of the citadel of your own mind.”

If the increase in insanity was “enormous” in 1931, it must be gargantuan today.

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow books.

Next blog post: September 11




Thanks for the quotes from Kardec. I think that explains reincarnation in both male and female bodies very simply and straightforward.  Makes sense to me!  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 15 Sep, 15:17


Concerning Doyle’s comments on sex confusion and dissatisfaction and reincarnation, I refer to Allan Kardec’s The Spirits’ Book, and the spirits, responses regarding gender:

THE SPIRITS’ BOOK, Sex in Spirits
item 200. Have spirits sex?
“Not as you understand sex; for sex, in that sense, depends on the corporeal organization. Love and sympathy exist among them, but founded on similarity of sentiments.”

201. Can a spirit, who has animated the body of a man, animate the body of a woman in a new existence, and vice versa? 
“Yes; the same spirits animate men and women.”

202. Does a spirit, when existing in the spirit-world, prefer to be incarnated as a man or as a woman?
“That is a point in regard to which a spirit is indifferent, and which is always decided in view of the trials which he has to undergo in his new corporeal life.”

Kardec’s Note: Spirits incarnate themselves as men or as women, because they are of no sex and, as it is necessary for them to develop themselves in every direction, both sexes. as well as every variety of social position. furnish them with special trials and duties, and with the opportunity of acquiring experience. A spirit who had always incarnated itself as a man would be only known by men, and vice versa.

Also, Kardec stated in January 1866 in the journal the Spiritist Revue, “A change of sex, may then, under that impression in its new incarnation, conserve its tastes, its inclinations and the inherent sexual character of the sex it just left. This explains certain apparent anomalies, observed in the character of certain men and of certain women.”

Yvonne Limoges, Mon 11 Sep, 22:04

Excellent copy writing. I would say you worked in the top 5 agencies. I think that the question Do Earthbound Spirits Really Influence Humans? might be changed to Do Earthbound Copywriters Really Influence Humans?
I think the answer to both questions is Yes but in different degrees.
The one thing I like in Michael’s blog is the wealth of interesting backgrounds.
Lots of creatives.

Bruce Williams, Mon 11 Sep, 04:05


“ASPD: The best treatment for all your possessions!”

<i>I wonder if the laws on false and deceptive conduct apply to ASPDs?</i?>

Anti-spirit possession is nine-tenths of the law.

Rick Darby, Sun 10 Sep, 07:38


I haven’t heard of the Zappidee-doo-dah, possibly because I don’t venture into Walmart unless there is an urgent reason to, and there never is.

If they’re blowing the device out at $14.95 it sounds like it hasn’t caught on with the masses. Maybe they’d have better luck if they recorded some videos to demon-strate its action.

Rick Darby, Sun 10 Sep, 07:16

I decided to abandon my marketing plans with another opportunity which you have created in my troubled mind. It flows from an idea spawned from Amos and Rick. I call it Michael Amos Darby for short.
Basic premise. Possession fits in well to a legal defense (Non compos mentis -not of sound mind).
I am sure that many criminal lawyers will try this approach that a possessing spirit did the dirty deed.
This is where the legal team Michael Amos Darby comes in. We say that the actions were caused by a possessing spirit. The spirit takes the fall. Great result for the client but not too good for society.
Leave it with me. Looking forward to the next article as my mind needs the rest.
Non compos mentis Bruce

Bruce Williams, Sun 10 Sep, 01:12

I don’t know Bruce.  I am just as mean and crotchety as I ever was and each time it goes off, I have to put in a new battery.  So, it got to be too expensive in batteries.  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 9 Sep, 13:29

I was very interested in the competition. It is the risk/reward situation. Zappidee-doo-dah for $14.95. Ouch.
As the price drops there will be a point where anti-spirit possession Devices (ASPDs) will not be as effective. In the marketing plan we called this the Eternal Damnation Price Point. The calculations within the plan pinpoint the price point of $200 as being the figure that a ASPD would give the maximium believable benefit.

I wonder if the laws on false and deceptive conduct apply to ASPDs? I might have to go back to circle of salt packets which I know work having seen them in television shows.

Gotto go, the REM pods are going off like crazy.
My question Has it worked?

Bruce Williams, Sat 9 Sep, 05:07

Since we are talking about possession here, I want to draw you attention to a Spanish series currently on ‘Amazon Prime’ titled “Estoy vivo” (I’m alive!)  I just started watching it so I don’t know how it turns out. It is interesting in that it is about a detective who was killed chasing a serial murder.  The detective has a loving wife and two daughters.  The writers of this series must be very aware of all of the literature about after death experiences and possession.  The man doesn’t know he is dead and is very angry about it and wants to return to earth.  He is currently in an interim place where three spirit entities try to reason with him but eventually, they agree to send him back in another body.  That body has just been hit by a car and has died.  He continues to work as a detective in the new body and finds that his oldest daughter is working as a cop now and becomes his partner. His goal of course is to get back with his wife and children.  I could go on and on about the verity of the portrayals so I know that the writers just had to have done a lot of reading about afterlife experiences; e.g., white light, meeting with 3 spirit entities, assigning a ‘helping angel’, aberrations with time, healing of illness, and even the youngest daughter is experimenting with EVP (Thanks to Anabela Cardoso’s influence in Portugal and Spain).  As always, the Spanish movies are superb in casting, photography etc. English-speakers have to read subtitles however.

By the way, I have a demon destroyer that I wear occasionally.  I bought it at Walmart I think, in the toy department around Halloween.  It’s called the ‘Zappidee-doo-dah’—-$14.95.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 8 Sep, 16:37

Thanks for the suggestions. I like The Electronic Exorcist. Could we have different versions for different religions?
Devil Dodger (Catholics)
Jinn Juicer (Islam) and
Begone Devil (Christians)

I will have to watch out that Michael doesn’t give away the IP. Putting wires in to electricity outlet (I did that to power a 1 1/2 volt motor at age 5). Cheaper but not recommended.
Picture the ad on television, wrist lights up adjacent persons heads turn 360, eyes turn red - Should have bought a Spirit Be Gone when I had a chance!
Another clever product from Miracle Industries - remember if it works it’s a miracle!

Bruce Williams, Thu 7 Sep, 10:46


Thanks for sharing your intriguing experience. There are so many variations of paranormal phenomena, but the skeptics seem to think that they should all be much the same.  As Dr. Gustave Geley is quoted in my next blog, most of the phenomena are incomplete or fragmentary because the lack of power, either by the medium or by the spirits.  As I have suggested before, the variance seems much like athletic skills.  The best mediums might be likened to runners capable of finishing a mile in under 4 minutes. The average person of college age will take closer to 10-12 minutes to jog or trot a mile.  A brisk walk for a mile will take 15-16 minutes.  When it comes to mediumistic ability, most people are like the walkers, but even average mediums are more likely in the 5-6 minute mile range.

Michael Tymn, Thu 7 Sep, 09:57


As an old advertising copywriter, I couldn’t stop myself thinking up names and slogans for your new wrist-worn device.

Here are a few of the least-bad suggestions:


The No Garlic Spirit Repellent

The Cheerful Disposession

The Electronic Exorcist

“Be your own no-go zone for attaching spirits!”

Rick Darby, Wed 6 Sep, 22:13


Thanks for the idea. However, an electric box such as that my father used, is not really necessary. I learned that about 1965 when my daughter, about age 3 at the time, stuck a hair pin into a wall plug. She got the shock of her life and had a little burn scar on her finger for many years.

Michael Tymn, Wed 6 Sep, 21:50

“You get what you concentrate on; there is no other rule.” ~Seth

Several nights ago I was feeding my neighbors’ cat while they were away.  I’d cleaned a bowl and put it on a level countertop as I opened a can of cat food.

As I did so, I noticed the bowl moving, by itself.

I picked it up and put it down. It moved again.

I’d been concentrating, on and off, on what I’ll call “delayed post-death transitions.”  This included reading this present blog of Michael’s and comments but began earlier this year when I saw some strange photos.

They’d been taken by the brother of an acquaintance in 2021, using a disposable film camera.  He’d taken the photos at the location where his brother was found dead in 2016.  He’d noticed nothing unusual when he took the photos, but each print included a human-shaped and sized semi-transparent “object.” One included strange electrical-like spikes and wavy lines.

His brother had been an alcoholic, drinking himself into a stupor when his work was done.

More recently, I “saw” quite clearly the boss I’d had in 1979 and 1980 (this was as I was awakening; my eyes were still closed).  I hadn’t thought of him in years.

Eventually, a friend familiar with genealogical searches found his college yearbook photo (he’d graduated from Stanford in 1942), his military registration card (he’d joined the USN upon graduation and became a fighter pilot), and his death certificate (he’d died in 1995 from renal failure). 

I had come up with nothing, not realizing that I was misspelling his first name—Fredrick, not Frederick.  After realizing my error thanks to my friend I was able to access his wife’s and son’s obituaries; they’d died in 2011 and 2017, respectively.

Fredrick had been a civil engineer and worked on large construction projects all over the planet.  He’d been the boss of a construction management office I worked in for a very large project.

I wondered why I “saw” him in 2023.  Where had he been since his death in 1995?

As boss, attendance at a Friday post-work “cocktail party” in his office was mandatory for those who worked for him. His credenza was fully stocked with booze.

When I’d “seen” him this year, he appeared seriously hungover.  Possibly, his particular delayed post-death transition was connected with his alcohol consumption—I had no contact with him after leaving that job and can only wonder what his eventual retirement was like.

It seemed as though his “visit” coincided with his recovery and, finally, transition; appearing “hungover” is consistent with that—no matter how bad a hangover is, most soon recover. It’s also possible that what for us may be the passage of many years is not experienced for those temporarily stuck between worlds.

Nearly all of the time (maybe not quite all of the time) our physical senses are insufficiently sensitive to see the dead; “inner senses” must be deployed.

Even when someone like me “sees” a dead person, this is a fleeting experience (I’m sure various skilled/talented and/or renowned mediums and psychics have no such difficulties—I’m still in the sporadic experiences only/student category).

Thus we are reduced to speculation and reading “second hand” reports from others, with no easy way to determine their validity, supplementing this with occasional brief direct experiences that seem to be strictly subjective, even if they may actually be more than that, in some cases.

It’s clear to me that some of those experiencing a delayed post-death transition can influence physical reality, to an extent.

What causes these delays?  It seems that alcoholism (and probably serious drug addiction) may be factors.  Others, possibly, choose to “hang out” between worlds, exploring.

Is the situation as dire as it seems from the quoted material (or Andrew Jackson Davis’s “diakka” material)?

Maybe not, but I don’t truly know.  I would expect that a natural “immunity” exists in any healthy individual, while those learning to open their minds to non-physical realities have a degree of control.

Seth’s dictum applies, too.

Bill Ingle, Wed 6 Sep, 15:34

I blame you for starting marketing ideas in my head. Please do not consider this comment as meaningful, merely tongue-in-cheek.

Michael started this thought with his dad getting jolts to get rid of spirits with possessing intent. Wow. Now remember to sell more anti-virus programs let us put more fear in to potential customers with a new harmful virus. Beware the xyz virus. Sales increase.

I started to think of how to sell devices (to repel nasty spirits) which sit on your wrist, like a wristwatch and they are programmed to light up at random (different colours equal different types of nasty spirits). At the same time the device delivers a small shock to ward off said nasty spirit. Maybe a recorded blessing or two?

I have done the market forecasts and expect to sell 1 million in first year at $300 per device.

Now is the time to invest - the name is still a work in progress Wickland Wrist Wacker or 3W for short. I did consider the Tymn Peace (from nasty spirits). The Williams Rescue Watch did get much support from the focus group.

As I said Michael’s articles start all sorts of thoughts. Our competition is here but the competitive advantage is portability.

Just a thought,
Marketing Bruce

Bruce Williams, Wed 6 Sep, 10:12

Amos, Pettiward does consider past-life memories and dissociative disorders.  I put it all into my personal probability program and got the following:

Low Level or Earthbound Spirits:  71.4%
Dissociative Disorders:  11.2%
Past-Life Memories:  9.4%
Other/Unknown/Unspecified:  8.0%

Mike smile

Michael Tymn, Sat 2 Sep, 05:01

Thank you for your story. It brings home the meaning of this blog. The pain of your loss is felt by all. I was interested as I also had the 9/11 vision unfold six months ahead. It did not go well as I was telling my wife as it unfolded in a food hall. To me it is a large wave of pain able to be felt well before the event (many reported similar visions). The two year before the event is a reflection of your daughters ability.
I was heartened that you found solace in the communication by a medium and that there was sufficient evidence given to slightly heal your pain.  It is like a room filled with stygian darkness and seeing the flickering light of a tiny candle - you feel the warmth of after life communication.

Bruce Williams, Sat 2 Sep, 01:41

For me the very best examples of past lives influencing the present life are young people experiencing dissatisfaction and confusion related to their gender identity.  Of course, no one will even broach the subject of reincarnation in these cases but if one wants to adhere to “Occam’s Razor,” sex changes or changes in gender identity from lifetime to lifetime seems to me to be the most straight forward, least convoluted explanation for the confusion and unhappiness with gender in a new physical form.  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 1 Sep, 17:48

There is, of course, another possible explanation for “possessing spirits” and that is that the current manifestation of a spirit entity in a physical form is influenced by all of the other past life personalities that it has lived.  That seems more reasonable to me than “earth bound” spirits jumping in and out of other people, occupying their form for unsavory earthly pleasures, refusing to acknowledge that they have ‘died’ and ignoring spirit relatives and others who come to usher them into a higher spirit realm.  And apparently, all it takes is somebody like Dr. Wickland or Dr. Fiore to point that out to them to move on, while spirit entities seem to fail in that endeavor.

Now, that is not to say that there could not be a few cases where another spirit entity takes over a living physical form and the “Watseka Wonder’ is a good example of that type but I think that probably is rare.

In the many documented cases of reincarnation in children there are examples of children whose behaviors are clearly influenced by their past lives.  And if there is a progression of the soul from lifetime to lifetime then it seems reasonable to me that somewhere, perhaps hidden in the subconscious mind or in a group soul, those past life personalities still exist as a memory which can influence the current-life personality for better or for worse.  Perhaps all of us are influenced by our past-life personalities whether we know it or not!

It is not always a case of “The devil made me do it!”  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Fri 1 Sep, 17:34

Hi Mike
by mistake I ‘unsubscribed’ to receive further notifications. Could you please RE-subscribe me. The comments are really great for your colum.

Hans Wilhelm, Fri 1 Sep, 14:47

Wow! I didn’t expect so many meaningful and helpful comments. Thanks to all for sharing, some so personal as that by Ann. I agree with Stafford that Hans’s short video is an excellent summary.  I have read all the books he mentions at the end, except “Astral Horror” and would recommend all of them. I also plan to read the book authored by Jerry Marzinsky, as mentioned by Stafford Betty.

Yvonne mentioned the teachings of Allan Kardec, the the distinguished 19th Century French educator and psychical researcher. He likened the “earthbound” condition to somnambulism, as in sleepwalking, when the somnambulist thinks he is awake.  “The moral state of the soul is the condition which determines the ease, or the difficulty, with which the spirit disengages himself from his terrestrial envelope,” Kardec explained. “The strength of the affinity between the body and perispirit (spirit body) is in the exact ratio of the spirit’s attachment to materiality; it is, consequently, at the maximum in the case of those whose thoughts and interests are concentrated on the earthly life and the enjoyment of material pleasures; it is almost null in the case of those whose soul has identified itself before with the spirit life.”

Silver Birch, the spirit entity who spoke through the entranced Maurice Barbanell said the same thing.  “The higher your consciousness, the less the need for adjustment,” he communicated.  “You must always remember that ours is a mind world, a spirit world where consciousness is king.  The mind is enthroned and mind rules.  What mind dictates is reality.” Silver Birch added that the time for realization is self-determined.  It can be short or long, as measured by our duration of time.  For the enlightened, at least those whose actions in the physical world were in accordance with their enlightenment, it is a speedy process.
In addition to those earthbound souls who do not know they are dead, there are indications that there are those on the “other side” who do not realize that they were ever “alive” in the material world or that the earth world even exists. So much of it is mind-boggling.

Michael Tymn, Fri 1 Sep, 00:08

“Do the dead influence the living?”

I unhesitatingly answer, yes.

Part of why I say so is a fairly strong intuitive feeling. But that is supported by evidence gathered by others. Reading Dr. Wickland’s first book especially, I found it convincing. Also I think discarnate influence helps explain certain puzzling phenomena—for example, multiple personality disorder, people impulsively doing things completely out of character, xenoglossia, and showing knowledge of subjects foreign to their education, background or environment.

I also believe there are degrees of influence and that many discarnates cannot or do not completely take over living people, even while having their say.

Analyzing my own behavior, it seems that from time to time I am mysteriously “pushed” into thoughts or actions not entirely my own. I consider myself lucky to retain enough control to limit, though not completely overcome, inner voices of presumably negative spirits. Or maybe good spirits are helping me keep defenses up.

Rick Darby, Thu 31 Aug, 08:55


In hundreds of Spiritist homes, Centers (and in Spiritist psychiatric institutions in Brazil together with medical professional, of which I have experienced) all over the world, conduct spirit communication sessions where spirits communicate that are brought to the meeting by morally superior spirit guides so that spirits may communicate for various purposes.

One of these, is so that spirits that are influencing persons in the material plane negatively (in a variety of ways) can be persuaded to leave, and move on toward whatever the spirit itself needs (care and comfort, moral education, forced removal by superior spirits, etc., etc.). 

The spirit may be an enemy from a past life that, if they could, wants to kill the person who ruined and killed their family in a previous one. They are so obsessed with this and so angry, some do not realize they have left the earth plane. 

There are some who notice a certain person and follow them around. They know what the person is thinking and feeling, and if they are attracted to them, they stay around. This can have an ill effect on the person, for various reasons.

A spirit can cause depression, bad moods, other types of moods, and physical effects as well.

It can happen to mediums-in-development when their mediumship first starts. The spirit notices that it has more of an effect on them, and the mediums have to learn how to deal with these. I have taught mediumship classes for over 20 plus years.

Educating spirits (this type of spiritual work) was described by Kardec in his book The Mediums Book. It is a work of charity that Spiritist mediums take very seriously.

Most cases are easily dealt with. We educate the spirit about its situation and spirit guides assist. Some cases are more difficult.

The more seriously committed, in harmony and educated the mediums are, the better the results. These services are considered a sacred duty and are absolutely free of charge.

In modern times, this work has been called “spirit release”, spiritual emergencies”, “Deposession,” and other names. Now mental health professionals some take classes and earn educational credits.

Some like Emma Bragdon, PhD., who has worked with U.S. health professionals and then visit psychiatric institutions in Brazil. See

(What her company does is in no way affiliated with me or my society)

Basically, we have found that spirits of a variety of types (errant spirits, spirit guides, spirits of deceased relatives, spirits of ill will, and more) can and do, influence people in the material world.

Spirit Influence is one of the forces of nature that is not recognized by science.

Some common phrases we use that indicate a change of personality or mood, can indicate possible spirit influence: “did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?,” “you’re in a bad mood,” “you’re not yourself today,” etc.

See categories of obsessions,
From the Spiritist Society of Florida website: 

Mediumship is beautiful and is an extremely useful faculty but, there are dangers involved. Below they are classified as follows from The Mediums’ Book by Allan Kardec:.

Simple Obsession - exists when a spirit imposes itself on a medium, against the medium’s will, into and with all the communications received by the medium, or prevents the medium from communicating with other spirits, by substituting itself.

In this case, the medium is aware that he is dealing with a deceptive spirit.

Fascination - is an illusion which is produced by the direct action of a spirit on the medium’s thought, which paralyses the medium’s judgment with regard to the communications the medium receives.

The deceiving spirit artfully inspires in the medium a blind confidence which prevents the medium from seeing the absurdity of his thoughts and any spirit communications received, even when this is clear to everyone else.

The fascinated medium cannot believe he is being deceived.

Subjugation - is the third degree of obsession in which a spirit paralyses the will of the medium, reducing the medium to a state of absolute bondage. Subjugation can be moral and corporeal.

Moral, in that, the medium is often drawn on to do things which are foolish or horrible, which the medium is deluded into thinking are wise and proper. It is a species of fascination which acts on the will and the mind.

Corporeal, in that, the spirit acts on the material organs of the victim, provoking involuntary movements or acts.

The spirit is in complete control of the medium.

Or, it could be ANY PERSON.

There is more information on spirit communications and mediumship on the same website under section “Spiritist Mediumship.

Being a medium participating in spirit sessions, and in this type of serious work of service, is extremely interesting and very rewarding. We help the spirit and the person.

Most Respectfully,

Yvonne Limoges, Thu 31 Aug, 04:21

My daughter took her life after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She never accepted her diagnosis and as soon as she was 18, refused to take medication. She was hospitalized twice. She was meditating by a lake one day and had a vision. She returned home perspiring profusely in a state of great agitation. She said God had spoken to her and revealed that the “Two Big Towers at the Southern end of Manhattan would collapse. She described this exactly. This vision took place exactly two years before 9/11. I believe that our daughter had a gift, was misdiagnosed and could not handle the stress of being thought to be mentally ill. I had a reunion with her via a psychic medium. She apologized for her death, and said she had taken her life because she couldn’t handle her illness. She said we were the best parents she could have had, and gave several evidential instances of her continued existence, and was aware of several happenings in our lives since her death

Ann Borges, Wed 30 Aug, 23:14

I am reminded of Dr. George Ritchie’s NDE where he is given a tour of the afterlife by Jesus and they visit the earthbound realm where they go to a bar filled with drunken sailors. They witness how earthbound alcoholics hover around living alcoholics in the hopes that a living alcoholic passes out. As soon as this happens, a crack appears in the aura of the living alcoholic that allows an earthbound alcoholic to temorarily possess the body of the living alcoholic. It is so interesting I will quote the episode here:

“Gradually I began to notice something else. All of the living people we were watching were surrounded by a faint luminous glow, almost like an electrical field over the surface of their bodies. This luminosity moved as they moved, like a second skin made out of pale, scarcely visible light.

“At first I thought it must be reflected brightness from the person at my side. But the buildings we entered gave off no reflection, neither did inanimate objects. And then I realized that the non-physical beings didn’t either. My own un-solid body, I now saw, was without this glowing sheath.

“At this point the light drew me inside a dingy bar and grill near what looked like a large naval base. A crowd of people, many of them sailors, lined the bar three deep, while others jammed wooden booths along the wall. Though a few were drinking beer, most of them seemed to be belting whiskies as fast as the two perspiring bartenders could pour them.

“Then I noticed a striking thing. A number of the men standing at the bar seemed unable to lift their drinks to their lips. Over and over I watched them clutch at their shot glasses, hands passing through the solid tumblers, through the heavy wooden counter top, through the very arms and bodies of the drinkers around them.

“And these men, every one of them, lacked the aureole of light that surrounded the others.

“Then, the cocoon of light must be a property of physical bodies only. The dead, we who had lost our solidness, had lost this ‘second skin’ as well.

“And it was obvious that these living people, the light-surrounded ones, the ones actually drinking, talking, jostling each other, could neither see the desperately thirsty disembodied beings among them, nor feel their frantic pushing to get at those glasses. (Though it was also clear to me, watching, that the non-solid people could both see and hear each other. Furious quarrels were constantly breaking out among them over glasses that none could actually get to his lips.)

“I thought I had seen heavy drinking at fraternity parties in Richmond, but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were going at it beat everything. I watched one young sailor rise unsteadily from a stool, take two or three steps, and sag heavily to the floor. Two of his buddies stooped down and started dragging him away from the crush.

“But that was not what I was looking at.  I was staring in amazement as the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply opened up. It parted at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his head, his shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move, one of the insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on top of him. He had been hovering like a thirsty shadow at the sailor’s side, greedily following every swallow the young man made. Now he seemed to spring at him like a beast of prey.

“In the next instant, to my utter mystification, the springing figure had vanished. It all happened even before the two men had dragged their unconscious load from under the feet of those at the bar. One minute I’d distinctly seen two individuals; by the time they propped the sailor against the wall, there was only one.

“Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the identical scene was repeated. A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the aureole round him, one of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that opening, almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man.

“Was that covering of light some kind of shield, then? Was it a protection against ...  against disembodied beings like myself?  Presumably these substance-less creatures had once had solid bodies, as I myself had had. Suppose that when they had been in these bodies they had developed a dependence on alcohol that went beyond the physical. That became mental. Spiritual, even. Then when they lost that body, except when they could briefly take possession of another one, they would be cut off for all eternity from the thing they could never stop craving.

“An eternity like that - the thought sent a chill shuddering through me - surely that would be a form of hell.  I had always thought of hell, when I thought of it at all, as a fiery place somewhere beneath the earth where evil people like Hitler would burn forever. But what if one level of hell existed right here on the surface - unseen and unsuspected by the living people occupying the same space. What if it meant remaining on earth but never again able to make contact with it. I thought of that woman who wanted that cigarette. To want most, to burn with most desire, where you were most powerless - that would be hell indeed.

“Not ‘would be,’  I realized with a start. Was. This was hell: And I was as much a part of it as these other discarnate creatures. I had died. I had lost my physical body. I existed now in a realm that would not respond to me in any way ...

“There were two other things distinctly unique about the beings of this realm. Since hypocrisy is impossible because others know your thoughts the minute you think them, they tend to group with the ones who think the same way they do. In our own plane of the existence, earth, we have a saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.”  The main reason that they stick together is because it is too threatening to be with beings with whom you disagree when they know it.

Kevin Williams, Wed 30 Aug, 20:54

Dear Michael Tymn! It’s many years I’m following your blog, and in my German blog almost 20 times I have reported your blog entry, of course always naming the source. I get up to 1000 contacts, so your work a bit is alive also in Germany, thank you for everything! A long time ago (1994-1999) I worked for Professor Hans Bender’s institute in Freiburg, and since that time I never stopped writing about it, mainly about our life after life. More than 3000 articles in eleven Years. The address: Many greetings Manfred Poser.

Manfred Poser, Wed 30 Aug, 20:38

The 10-minute video by Hans Wilhelm should not be missed. It accords with everything I know about the phenomenon and portrays it in gripping fashion. Many, many thanks, Hans!

Stafford Betty, Wed 30 Aug, 19:40

Michael, excellent article!
Such important knowledge. Wish more people would be open to it. Some years ago I made a 10 minute video on this subject where I illustrate how these entities control us.
Here is the link for anybody interested:
Thanks again

Hans Wilhelm, Wed 30 Aug, 02:50

Mark and Amos,
Mark - Thanks for the link (again). You seem to have a great collection. I used to teach IT to students. One student arrived who had schizophrenia (hearing voices). I was sitting with him one on one explaining what he needed to do for a unit of study.
At the same time I was looking for spirits. He said that what I was saying was interesting but he was being hammered by one of his voices. I politely asked the spirit to be quiet and he said “My voice said for me to listen to you and that they will be quiet.” The student said what did I do? I said Nothing but tell your friend that I appreciate his patience.

This was a strange event but I mentioned it before that in the psychic waters schizophrenics drown while psychics swim.

I did wonder why the spirit did not try to switch over to me but all I can say is that some get psychic protection shields while others don’t.

Amos - from what I have read was that there is a light visible on the other side of available mediums (like lights on a Christmas tree). Carl would not be visible so no danger of him picking up a possession.

In Michael’s excellent article “With a patient referred to as “Mrs. R.,” a spirit named Ralph Stevenson took over Mrs. Wickland’s body and began speaking to Dr. Wickland.  Stevenson said he was “straggling along” when he saw a “light,” so he came in. However, he couldn’t figure out who he was or where he was.” These spirits walk in to the light.

The next stage is the medium being ready as a medium. The presence of a light does not mean that they are an active medium. Mediums usually can raise shields if they have a too pushy spirit. It happened to me once but these shields came up fast.

Bruce Williams, Tue 29 Aug, 03:42

I told this story at this blog many years ago, but will repeat.  When I was about 12 years old and my brother about 7, my father brought home a small box with hand grips and a plug, which he had purchased second-hand at a Salvation Army store. I think he said that many people had them at one time, when he was growing up in Brooklyn, NY.  He said that self-induced shocks were “good for the nerves.” He would hold on to the grips for 15-20 seconds of longer while being electrically shocked, his massive muscles twitching as he gritted his teeth.  I tried it and yelled “stop” after two seconds.  The same with my brother.

My father was a very impatient and somewhat high-strung guy, but he started becoming more mellow about that time, although I don’t recall the exact time frame, nor do I recall how often he shocked himself. The possibility that he was driving off earthbound spirits who attached themselves to his aura never occurred to me, or to him, but I now see that as a possibility, even if a somewhat remote one.  I’m at 22.7% on that one.

Michael Tymn, Mon 28 Aug, 23:17

This puts me in mind of an article I read about an African shaman (who was also a doctor) who visited a mental institute for the first time and was shocked by Western cultures attitude to mental illness. In his culture mental illness was considered a spiritual awakening and signalled the birth of a seer. The article is here if anyone’s interested.

Mark Harrison, Mon 28 Aug, 22:09

Wickland’s Thirty Years Among the Dead is an interesting read. But Jerry Marzinsky’s An Amazing Journey into the Psychotic Mind is far more persuasive. He’s convinced me that dark spirits, most of them former humans, are indeed the mischief makers for many of us. Marzinsky is a licensed psychotherapist working among a prison population. He has had success freeing some from their tormentors. How he goes about it was, for me, the best part of the book. Don’t be deceived, he says: those voices that schizophrenics hear in their heads aren’t self-generated. They come from outside.

Stafford Betty, Mon 28 Aug, 20:40

I think there are at least one or two good cases of spirit possession, and I am defining ‘possession’ in the very strict sense of actually inhabiting another person’s body, displacing that person and using the body for their own purposes.  The one evidential case that stands out is
“The Watseka Wonder’.  Actually I don’t know how one obtains evidence in these possession cases but in “The Watseka Wonder” case there is pretty good anecdotal evidence that Lurancy Vennum’s spirit was displaced for several months by another spirit called Mary Roff. There is much information about this case on the internet.

I think perhaps some of the so-called “Multiple Personality cases (now called “Dissociative Identity Disorder”) might actually be examples of possession and I would refer you to the case of Sally Beauchamp as studied by Dr. Morton Prince.  After several years, Dr. Prince was able to combine all of the multiple personalities of ‘Sally” except one.  Maybe that one remaining personality that Dr. Prince could not remove was really a case of possession.  I think that “Dissociative Identity Disorder as defined by psychiatry today may be refusing to acknowledge the possibility that some multiples may really be cases of possession.

I am beginning to understand that there may in fact be many spirit entities around all of us all of the time but few of them actually attempt to possess a physical form, at least that is what is reported. If one looks at the Matt Fraser readings on YouTube and readings of other good mediums, one might get the understanding that the spirit entities that are around us are usually people that were close to us in life and may have some unfinished business or message to convey but they do not possess us. Spirits apparently with nothing to say, do not hang around waiting to possess us or talk to us. They just go on to whatever, or prepare to be reborn in another lifetime.

I do think that on occasion and when appropriate spirit entities can influence us to go in a certain direction either for our benefit or to save us from some disaster.  These spirits are not ‘evil’ spirits; they just recognize that a little shove from them, inclining us in the right direction might save us from a lot of grief or provide a benefit. But, of course, we have to listen to what they are trying to say to us.  There are many cases of people who believe that this has happened to them.  But, regardless of spirit influence each person has free will to choose their own path in life, for good or ill but I also think that one should be aware that spirit possession may be a possibility and every morning utter a short prayer to eject any lingering spirits from one’s life.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 28 Aug, 19:48

Two questions:
Did Carl Wickland have a way to prevent the entities from “jumping” into his body because apparently they didn’t do that?

And it seems that it would have been easy to check out whether or not Frank and Elizabeth Noble had ever lived in El Paso, Texas.  I wonder if Carl Wickland ever tried to research entities who gave their full name and location where they had lived and in Mrs. Noble’s case, their age? - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 28 Aug, 13:40

It is amazing all the nonsense people actually believe in with zero evidence to back it up. People claim all sorts of crazy things that cannot be tested/verified,

Mike, Mon 28 Aug, 11:44

I am not sure that Carl has thought his technique through. “Wickland’s patients was to administer an electrical charge to the patient and drive the obsessing spirits from the patient to Mrs. Wickland.”
Imagine a trance medium around an electric chair!
Only starting with a logical extension.

Our Spiritualist Church (as does many) had various trance mediums. It was always a worry if there was a devout Christian in the pews who would jump up and shout He is possessed by the devil! Always there would be a few friends with the visitor who then jumped up shouting Praise the load begone demon.
To block this we would welcome any visitors at the door to check them out (usually not grieving or has a reason to visit). If worried no trance demonstration.

I know we used rescue circles to alert spirits to the fact that they were dead but not my area of interest.
I wonder if my wife would go along with this trance technique, but I feel it would be no chance for a trance.

Bruce Williams, Mon 28 Aug, 10:42

Add your comment



Your comment

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Please note that all comments are read and approved before they appear on the website

translate this page
The Only Planet of Choice: Visitations – Many people use the word ‘Alien’ to describe a visitor from outer space. Extra terrestrial is another word, which is rather more user friendly. For the sake of the question and answer format, the word used by the questioner has been left, though even Tom questions our use of‘Alien’. Should we wish to foster openess between all beings of the Universe perhaps we should also look at our vocabulary? In a discussion between Andrew and Tom many years earlier, Andrew had asked Tom about UFOs and whether they were created manifestations. Tom had replied: “Many of the flying things that you call UFOs come from our place, but they come from other places also, and they do come in physical form. But many of them are not physical. They are like your movie screen”. Read here
© White Crow Books | About us | Contact us | Privacy policy | Author submissions | Trade orders