As you recall from chapter 6, the place in which newly arrived souls awaken in Spirit is the transitional plane (also called the “earth plane”). For most souls, it is a short-term resting area and a place where the immediate afterlife scenarios such as the life review and being met by relatives and friends takes place. It also serves as the barrier between the Summerlands and the Winterlands in the planes of illusion and acts as a sort of membrane between the Heavens and the hells.
Spirits referred to as earthbound consist of the souls that for some reason remain more or less permanently on the transitional plane. They are composed of confused spirits who do not know they are dead, dark entities that have not yet crossed over into their proper place within the mainstream sequence of the spiritual world, and some who remain behind because they are afraid to cross over.
Most earthbounds are simply the souls of ignorant people whose ignorance keeps them bound to the transitional plane. They may not have been bad people, but they do not know that they have died and are simply bewildered by their condition. Some just have guilty consciences. Some are low level petty criminals or persons who have wasted their lives in narcissistic pursuits. The term “ignorant” does not imply stupidity. Even intelligent people who have little spiritual awareness and little regard for their fellow man might find themselves earthbound after their deaths. A few have led violent lives and have not crossed over due to fear that they will be judged and sent to Hell.
Many of these entities will eventually find their way into a more permanent and comfortable home someplace within the planes of illusion, but not all of them, at least not immediately. Some remain on the transitional plane where they wander aimlessly. Most of these spirits want very badly to resume their old lives. Some don’t know that they have any alternative but to keep doing whatever they were in the habit of doing before they died.
Since most don’t realize that they are dead and since the transitional plane is intimately intertwined with the material world, they gravitate to the places they were familiar with while they were alive. Because their existence is now ruled by spiritual laws, all they have to do is think of where they would like to go, and they are instantly transported there. However, once they arrive at their familiar earthly place, they discover that they cannot communicate with anyone or interact with the environment. They are spirits now, and they don’t really belong there. Thus, they take up residence as ghosts.
Most earthbounds remain incapable of affecting the earthly environment in any way unless they can find a reasonably constant supply of earthly energy or a susceptible living person to “lend” them the energy to manifest. (The term manifest means to become visible or act within the material world.) In most cases, the easiest way to gain the energy to affect the environment or to communicate is to steal it from the aura of a living person.
The living persons these earthbound spirits are most likely to affect directly are those people who are psychic but don’t know it. If that psychic has either a fragile personality structure or outright mental illness, then it is even easier for the earthbound spirit to affect him or her. The most vulnerable classification of living spiritual victims are those who are psychically sensitive and mentally ill.
Mentally ill people generally have weak auric defenses and tend to emit stray psychic energy through their auras into the spiritual atmosphere. This energy not only attracts the spirit, but if the personality structure of the agent is weak, the spirit may be able to attach itself to his or her aura.
Spirits can have serious effects on an infected mentally ill person. You will learn in chapter 11 that a few modern psychiatrists and psychotherapists actually treat patients using a phenomenological approach which, for all practical purposes, acknowledges the possible involvement of discarnate spirits in mental disorders. The practitioners themselves remain neutral about the actual evidence of spirits or past lives, but their work often relies on a tacit understanding of a paranormal reality underlying their patients’ mental illnesses.
One of the best pieces of evidential literature that allows the reader to get a good feel for the rather banal nature of these low level earthbound spirits was written in 1924 by a psychiatrist named Carl A. Wickland. Thirty Years among the Dead is a 350 page account of the successful psychiatric treatment of serious mental illness using psychiatric and spiritual methods instead of the pharmacological methods used today.
This book is available for free on the internet, but because the language is a bit arcane and the book was written a hundred years ago for an audience with entirely different political and social values than today’s readers, I have written an annotated and illustrated volume which explains the mindset of the audience it was written for. It is easier to read and contains photographs and edits which make it more interesting than the original. It is inexpensive and available from Amazon in Kindle format:
Note: The Wickland material was written in the early twentieth century. The overall overall mentality of that age was VERY different from our own. It was common during this period to blame a criminal’s behavior on his mother because it was believed that bad people were “brought up wrong”, and this belief is reflected in a number of the the dialogues. It also reflects the overall attitude toward women in those days! Also, the invading spirits often have sudden, almost unbelievable “conversions”. These instances may impress the reader as “hokey” and “too good to be true” but they happen because during psychic sessions, the spirits are receiving a rapid-fire onslaught of silent images and emotions from Dr. Wickland’s invisible spirit helpers. Bear in mind that Dr. Wickland is dealing with ignorant earthbound spirits with mentalities that were formed well over a century ago in a much simpler and less informed age.
Patients admitted to Dr. Wickland’s clinic spent several weeks receiving what in the early 20th century would have been standard psychiatric treatment for various mental disorders, especially disorders that caused bizarre, disordered thinking and hallucinations. However, the standard psychiatric treatment was supplemented by something altogether different. The Wicklands dealt directly with the ignorant, earthbound spirits who were infecting their psychiatric patients and causing their mental illnesses.
During the early twentieth century when the book was written, huge numbers of people were preoccupied with the afterlife (see chapter 24 on the Fox sisters and the birth of Spiritualism) and many were dabbling in amateur séances, automatic writing and “spirit board” sessions. As was briefly mentioned in previous chapters, this sort of pastime can lead people into contact with ignorant and evil minded spirits and some of them can become “infected”, or possessed by these spirits (this is covered in more detail in chapter 13).
These spiritual infections manifest as mental illness with the patients exhibiting episodes of bizarre behavior and often resulting in commitment to mental asylums. This is why Dr Wickland had such a large number of psychiatric patients and probably the reason his treatments were so successful.
“The serious problem of alienation and mental derangement attending ignorant psychic experiments was first brought to my attention by the cases of several persons whose seemingly harmless experiences with automatic writing and the Ouija Board resulted in such wild insanity that commitment to asylums was necessitated.
The first of these cases was that of Mrs. Bl., whose attempts at automatic writing led to mental derangement and altered personality. Normally she was amiable, pious, quiet and refined but became boisterous and noisy, romped about and danced, used vile language, and, claiming she was an actress, insisted upon dressing for the stage, saying that she had to be at the theatre at a certain time or lose her position. Finally she became so irresponsible that she was placed in an asylum.
Another case was Mrs. Bn., who, through the practice of automatic writing, changed from an artist and a lady of refinement to an altogether different and violent personality. Screaming at the top of her voice she continually rubbed her temples and exclaimed, “God save me! God save me!” Rushing into the street she knelt in the mud, praying, and refused food, declaring that if she should eat before six o’clock P.M. she would go to Hell.”
Wickland, Carl A.; Thirty Years Among the Dead: Republished: The supernatural is only the natural not yet understood (p. 11). Secret Master eBooks. Kindle Edition.
The best material involves his dialogues with the ignorant spirits that cause this behavior and which fill most of the book.
In addition to the standard psychiatric treatments of the day, Dr. Wickland treated his patients with mild electrical shocks using a Wimhurst machine. Although Wimhurst machines can produce powerful electrical shocks, apparently the one used by the Wicklands was “detuned” so that its shocks were of relatively low current. The Wickland machine contained a large pair of counter revolving disks that generated static electricity and produced an effect similar to a modern TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) used today by many chiropractors and even sold commercially for home use.